Federal Crime of the Week – Assault on a Process Server

Nobody likes to get served with papers.  Having served my share of legal documents over the years, I can state that nobody has ever invited me in to eat or to watch the game with them after I properly identified them and put the papers in their hand.  It is one of those things in life that is just not pleasant. 

No matter how disagreeable it might be, if you:

  1. knowingly and willfully obstruct, resist, or oppose
  2. any officer of the United States, or other person duly authorized
  3.  in serving, or attempting to serve or execute, any legal or judicial writ or process of any court of the United States, or United States magistrate judge;

or you:

  1. assault, beat, or wound any officer or other person duly authorized, knowing him to be such officer, or other person so duly authorized,
  2. in serving or executing any such writ, rule, order, process, warrant, or other legal or judicial writ or process

You shall be fined or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.  18 U.S.C. § 1501.  This crime is a federal misdemeanor, and the good news is that a federal judge has the power to grant probation for most misdemeanors.  18 U.S.C. § 3401(d).  Notice that this is the federal crime of assaulting a process server.  Mississippi state court is going to treat you differently for the same conduct if the process server is serving state court documents.

Leave the process server alone.  They didn’t sue you; they are just doing their job.