US Laws Prohibiting Interference with Service of Process

These laws were reviewed and updated in August, 2016, and are posted for general reference only. We are not regularly monitoring legislation or appellate cases that might change and/or modify the text or affected of these laws, so verify original current sources before relying on what is posted here. If you find inaccuracies, or laws in other states, please notify us so that we can post them. Laws posted in red are not yet in effected as of today.


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE

Title 22 Criminal Offenses. Sec. 22-722. Prohibited Acts; Penalty

(a.) A person commits the offense of obstruction of justice if that person:

. . .

(2.) Knowingly uses intimidating or physical force, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or by threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede a witness or officer in any official proceeding, with intent to:

. . .

(c.) Evade a legal process that summons the person to appear as a witness or to produce a document in an official proceeding.

 History

(Dec. 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-164, § 502, 29 DCR 3976; May 7, 1993, D.C. Law 9-268, § 2(c), 39 DCR 5702; May 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-256, § 3, 42 DCR 20; June 8, 2001, D.C. Law 13-302, § 5, 47 DCR 7249; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 214(m), 56 DCR 7413; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 205(bb), 60 DCR 2064.)
Prior Codifications
1981 Ed., § 22-722.

2000 FLORIDA STATUTES

Title XLVI – Crimes

Chapter 843 – Obstructing Justice

843.01 Resisting officer with violence to his or her person.—Whoever knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; parole and probation supervisor; county probation officer; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

History.—s. 1, ch. 3276, 1881; RS 2580; GS 3500; RGS 5385; CGL 7524; s. 1, ch. 28118, 1953; s. 1, ch. 61-66; s. 1, ch. 63-234; s. 1, ch. 63-433; ss. 1, chs. 65-198, 65-226; s. 3, ch. 67-2207; ss. 20, 25, 33, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1034, ch. 71-136; s. 32, ch. 73-334; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 78-116; s. 20, ch. 79-3; s. 26, ch. 79-8; s. 1, ch. 79-149; s. 5, ch. 85-87; s. 40, ch. 88-122; s. 1, ch. 88-373; s. 50, ch. 88-381; s. 43, ch. 89-526.

843.02 Resisting officer without violence to his or her person.—Whoever shall resist, obstruct, or oppose any officer as defined in s. 943.10(1), (2), (3), (6), (7), (8), or (9); member of the Parole Commission or any administrative aide or supervisor employed by the commission; county probation officer; parole and probation supervisor; personnel or representative of the Department of Law Enforcement; or other person legally authorized to execute process in the execution of legal process or in the lawful execution of any legal duty, without offering or doing violence to the person of the officer, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

History.—s. 2, ch. 3276, 1881; RS 2581; GS 3501; RGS 5386; CGL 7525; s. 1, ch. 63-433; s. 1, ch. 65-226; s. 3, ch. 67-2207; ss. 20, 33, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1035, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 78-116; s. 21, ch. 79-3; s. 27, ch. 79-8; s. 6, ch. 85-87; s. 41, ch. 88-122; s. 2, ch. 88-373; s. 51, ch. 88-381; s. 43, ch. 89-526; s. 209, ch. 91-224

FL Stat. 48.031

48.031 Service of process generally; service of witness subpoenas.

(1)(a) 
(b) An employer, when contacted by an individual authorized to serve process, shall allow the authorized individual to serve an employee in a private area designated by the employer. An employer who fails to comply with this paragraph commits a noncriminal violation, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

 


ILLINOIS COMPILED STATUTES

Criminal Offenses, Criminal Code of 1961

(720 ILCS 5/31-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 31-3)

Sec. 31-3. Obstructing service of process.

Whoever knowingly resists or obstructs the authorized service or execution of any civil or criminal process or order of any court commits a Class B misdemeanor.

Source: P.A. 77-2638

 


IOWA CODE

719.1 Interference with Official Acts.
A person who knowingly resists or obstructs anyone known by the person to be a peace officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, in the performance of any act which is within the scope of the lawful duty or authority of that officer, emergency medical care provider under chapter 147A, or fire fighter, whether paid or volunteer, or who knowingly resists or obstructs the service or execution by any authorized person of any civil or criminal process or order of any court, commits a simple misdemeanor.  In addition to any other penalties, the punishment imposed for a violation of this subsection shall include assessment of a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars.  However, if a person commits an interference with official acts, as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts bodily
injury other than serious injury, that person commits an aggravated misdemeanor.  If a person commits an interference with official acts, as defined in this subsection, and in so doing inflicts or attempts to inflict serious injury, or displays a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or is armed with a firearm, that person commits a class “D” felony.

A person under the custody, control, or supervision of the department of corrections who knowingly resists, obstructs, or interferes with a correctional officer, agent, employee, contractor, whether paid or volunteer, in the performance of the
person’s official duties, commits a serious misdemeanor.  If a person violates this subsection and in so doing commits an assault, as defined in section 708.1, the person commits an aggravated misdemeanor.  If a person violates this subsection and in so doing inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury other than serious injury to another, displays a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or is armed with a firearm, the person commits a class “D” felony.  If a person violates this subsection and uses or attempts to use a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 702.7, or inflicts serious injury to another, the person commits a class “C” felony.

The terms “resist” and “obstruct”, as used in this section, do not include verbal harassment unless the verb harassment is accompanied by a present ability and apparent intention to execute a verbal threat physically.

Section History: Early Form

[C51, § 2669; R60, § 4296; C73, § 3960; C97, § 4899; C24, 27, 31,
35, 39, § 13331; C46, 50, 54, 58, 62, 66, 71, 73, 75, 77, §
742.1; C79, 81, § 719.1]

Section History: Recent Form
84 Acts, ch 1246, § 4; 91 Acts, ch 219, §22; 95 Acts, ch 90, § 4;
96 Acts, ch 1034, § 63; 99 Acts, ch 153, §21

Referred to in § 29A.42

 


KANSAS STATUTES

Chapter 21 – Crimes and Punishments

21-5904(3). Obstructing legal process or official duty.

(3) knowingly obstructing, resisting or opposing any person authorized by law to serve process in the service or execution or in the attempt to serve or execute any writ, warrant, process or order of a court, or in the discharge of any official duty.

 


MICHIGAN PENAL CODE

750.479 Resisting or obstructing officer in discharge of duty

(1) A person shall not knowingly and willfully do any of the following:

(a) Assault, batter, wound, obstruct, or endanger a medical examiner, township treasurer, judge, magistrate, probation officer, parole officer, prosecutor, city attorney, court employee, court officer, or other officer or duly authorized person serving or attempting to serve or execute any process, rule, or order made or issued by lawful authority or otherwise acting in the performance of his or her duties.

(b) Assault, batter, wound, obstruct, or endanger an officer enforcing an ordinance, law, rule, order, or resolution of the common council of a city board of trustees, the common council or village council of an incorporated village, or a township board of a township.

(2) Except as provided in subsections (3), (4), and (5), a person who violates this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(3) A person who violates this section and by that violation causes a bodily injury requiring medical attention or medical care to an individual described in this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(4) A person who violates this section and by that violation causes serious impairment of a body function of an individual described in this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(5) A person who violates this section and by that violation causes the death of an individual described in this section is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $20,000.00, or both.

(6) This section does not prohibit an individual from being charged with, convicted of, or punished for any other violation of law that is committed by that individual while violating this section.

(7) The court may order a term of imprisonment for a violation of this section to be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed for a violation arising out of the same criminal transaction as the violation of this section.

(8) As used in this section:

(a) “Obstruct” includes the use or threatened use of physical interference or force or a knowing failure to comply with a lawful command.

(b) “Serious impairment of a body function” means that term as defined in section 58c of the Michigan vehicle code, 1949 PA 300, MCL 257.58c.
History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;– CL 1948, 750.479 ;– Am. 2002, Act 270, Eff. July 15, 2002
Former Law: See section 23 of Ch. 156 of R.S. 1846, being CL 1857, § 5842; CL 1871, § 7675; How., § 9257; CL 1897, § 11327; CL 1915, § 14994; CL 1929, § 16585; Act 202 of 1863; and Act 24 of 1869.

 


MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972

Sec. 97-9-75. Resisting service of process

Any person who knowingly and willfully opposes or resists any officer or other authorized person in serving or attempting to serve or execute any legal writ or process, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

 


MISSOURI REVISED STATUTES

CHAPTER 575 OFFENSES AGAINST THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

Until December 31, 2016–Interference with legal process.

575.160.

1. A person commits the crime of interference with legal process if, knowing any person is authorized by law to serve process, for the purpose of preventing such person from effecting the service of any process, he interferes with or obstructs such person.
2. “Process” includes any writ, summons, subpoena, warrant other than an arrest warrant, or other process or order of a court.
3. Interference with legal process is a class B misdemeanor.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60)

Effective 1-01-79

*This section was amended by S.B. 491, 2014, effective 1-01-17. Due to the delayed effective date, both versions of this section are printed here.

Beginning January 1, 2017–Interference with legal process–penalty.

575.160.
1. A person commits the offense of interference with legal process if, knowing another person is authorized by law to serve process, he or she interferes with or obstructs such person for the purpose of preventing such person from effecting the service of any process.

2. “Process” includes any writ, summons, subpoena, warrant other than an arrest warrant, or other process or order of a court.
3. The offense of interference with legal process is a class B misdemeanor.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

Until December 31, 2016–Refusing to make an employee available for service of process.

575.170.
1. Any employer, or any agent who is in charge of a business establishment, commits the crime of refusing to make an employee available for service of process if he knowingly refuses to assist any officer authorized by law to serve process who calls at such business establishment during the working hours of an employee for the purpose of serving process on such employee, by failing or refusing to make such employee available for service of process.
2. Refusing to make an employee available for service of process is a class C misdemeanor.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60)

Effective 1-01-79

*This section was amended by S.B. 491, 2014, effective 1-01-17. Due to the delayed effective date, both versions of this section are printed here.

Beginning January 1, 2017–Refusing to make an employee available for service of process–penalty.

575.170.
1. An employer, or agent who is in charge of a business establishment, commits the offense of refusing to make an employee available for service of process if he or she knowingly refuses to assist any officer authorized by law to serve process who calls at such business establishment during the working hours of an employee for the purpose of serving process on such employee, by failing or refusing to make such mployee available for service of process.
2. The offense of refusing to make an employee available for service of process is a class C misdemeanor.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

 


MONTANA CODE ANNOTATED

25-3-105. Person serving process — penalty for obstruction — exception.
(1) A process server registered under Title 37, chapter 60, a licensed attorney, or a sheriff, constable, coroner, elisor, or other government employee who is acting in the course of the person’s employment while serving process is a public servant for the purpose of determining the offense of obstructing a public servant as provided in 45-7-302.

(2) A person who obstructs a person serving process is guilty of obstruction of a public servant and is punishable as provided in 45-7-302.

(3) An unregistered person who serves 10 or fewer services of process in a calendar year, as provided in 25-1-1101(1), is not acting as a public servant.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 69, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 405, L. 2007.

 


NEW MEXICO STATUTES ANNOTATED

Chapter 30 -Criminal Offenses

30-22-1. Resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

Resisting, evading or obstructing an officer consists of:

  1. Knowingly obstructing, resisting or opposing any officer of this state or any other duly authorized person serving or attempting to serve or execute any process or any rule or order of any of the courts of this state or any other judicial writ or process.

 


NEW YORK  STATUTES ANNOTATED (eff. 11/1/16)

Penal Law 120.05 (14)

With intent to prevent or obstruct a process server, as defined in section eighty-nine-t of the general business law, from performing a lawful duty pursuant to article three of the civil practice law and rules, or intentionally, as retaliation against such a process server for the performance of the process server’s duties pursuant to such article, including by means of releasing or failing to control an animal evincing the actor’s intent that the animal prevent or obstruct the lawful duty of the process server or as retaliation against the process server, he or she causes physical injury to such process server.

 


 RHODE ISLAND

15-5-16.2.2  Service of court papers at work. – No employer in this state is permitted to refuse or obstruct the service of family court process relating to child or spousal support upon an employee at the place of employment and the service shall not be grounds for dismissal of the employee. The employer may designate an area where the service may be effected.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1984, ch. 406, § 1; P.L. 1985, ch. 407, § 1.)

 


SOUTH CAROLINA

SECTION 16-9-320. Opposing or resisting law enforcement officer serving process; assaulting officer engaged in serving process.

(A) It is unlawful for a person knowingly and willfully to oppose or resist a law enforcement officer in serving, executing, or attempting to serve or execute a legal writ or process or to resist an arrest being made by one whom the person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer, whether under process or not. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(B) It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willfully assault, beat, or wound a law enforcement officer engaged in serving, executing, or attempting to serve or execute a legal writ or process or to assault, beat, or wound an officer when the person is resisting an arrest being made by one whom the person knows or reasonably should know is a law enforcement officer, whether under process or not. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

HISTORY: 1980 Act No. 511, Section 3; 1990 Act No. 598, Section 2; 1993 Act No. 184,Section 24.

 


SOUTH DAKOTA CODIFIED LAWS

Title 22 – Crimes

Chapter 11 – Obstruction of the Administration of Govt.

Sec. 22-11-1. Resisting execution of service of process.

Any person who resists the execution or service of any legal process is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

 


TENNESSEE CODE ANNOTATED

39-16-602 Resisting stop, frisk, half, arrest or search-prevention or obstruction of service of legal writ or process.

(c) It is an offense for a person to intentionally prevent or obstruct an officer of the state or any other person known to be a civil process server in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal writ, or process.

(d) A violation of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

 


TEXAS PENAL CODE

Chapter 38. Obstructing Governmental Operation

Sec. 38.16. Preventing Execution of Civil Process

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly by words or physical action prevents the execution of any process in a civil cause.

(b) It is an exception to the application of this section that the actor evaded service of process by avoiding detection.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 318, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

 


UTAH CODE ANNOTATED 2016

76-8-301.  Interference with public servant.

(1)          An individual is guilty of interference with a public servant if the individual:

(a)          uses force, violence, intimidation, or engages in any other unlawful act with a purpose to interfere with a public servant performing or purporting to perform an official function;
(b)          knowingly or intentionally interferes with the lawful service of process by a public servant; or
(c)           on property that is owned, operated, or controlled by the state or a political subdivision of the state, willfully denies to a public servant lawful:

(i)            freedom of movement;
(ii)           use of the property or facilities; or
(iii)          ingress to or egress from the facilities.

(2)          Interference with a public servant:

(a)          under Subsection (1)(a) or (b) is a class B misdemeanor; and
(b)          under Subsection (1)(c) is a class C misdemeanor.
(3)          For purposes of this section, “public servant” does not include jurors.

Amended by Chapter 245, 2016 General Session

 


CODE OF VIRGINIA

Title 8.01.

CIVIL REMEDIES AND PROCEDURES
18.2-409. Resisting or obstructing execution of legal process.
Every person acting jointly or in combination with any other person to resist or obstruct the execution of any legal process shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Code 1950, § 18.1-254.6; 1968, c. 460; 1975, cc. 14, 15.

 


FEDERAL LAW

Title 18 U.S.C. § 1501

Assault on Process Server
Whoever knowingly and willingly obstructs, resists or opposes any officer of the United States, or other person duly authorized, in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal or judicial writ or process of any court of the United States…shall, except as otherwise provided by law, be fined not more than $300 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.