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Civil Process

·         Definition of Civil Process: All the rules of conduct established and enforced by the authority, legislation, or custom of a given community, state, or other group. (Webster's Dictionary)

·         "The Sheriff and his deputies have the authority to arrest for any violation of the law and are the only law enforcement officers, in a given county, with authority to serve Civil Process."  

The Eviction Procedures for Tenants and Landlords (CLICK HERE) 

Mobile Home Eviction Procedure (CLICK HERE)

Writ Of Possession when real Property is sold (CLICK HERE)


Schedule of Service Fees

  1. As of September 1, 2004, all North Carolina issued Civil Papers cost $30.00, per defendant.

  2. As of September 1, 2006, all out-of-state issued Civil Papers cost $100.00, per defendant.

  3. You must send your affidavit of service (if available), as the "return of service", for Deputy's use.  Also, for out-of-state papers,  include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for our office to send the "return" to you, directly. (In-state returns are sent via our dependable and efficient statewide courier service).

  4. Civil Papers to be served on indigent defendants require a copy of the court document, indicating the subject's indigence, attached when we receive the paper.

  5. Copies of any return of service for civil process may be obtained from the Clerk of the Court's Office, located in the Orange County Courthouse.

  6. Please make all checks, for service of Civil Papers, payable to:

            The Sheriff of Orange County

1.      The Civil Process Unit provides timely service of all civil documents well within time limits set by the court. Under North Carolina Law, the Sheriff’s Office is the only agency with jurisdiction to serve civil papers within the county. Examples include:

o         Divorce proceedings from one spouse to another

o        Civil summons issued on persons who are being sued by another party

o        Summary ejectments or writs of possession issued when rental property leases are broken or when persons don’t pay rent

o        Claim and delivery for property or judgment executions, or perhaps the confiscation and sale of property to fulfill civil judgments when one party defaults on an agreement or contract.

2.      There are three full-time members of the Sheriff's Civil Process Unit: 

o        Sgt. J. Roberts - in charge of Civil Process.

o         Cpl. J Clayton -  Serves evictions and tax warrants, and other civil duties. Assist with patrol as needed.

o        Cpl. H Durham - Juvenile Summons, Show Cause, Orders Subpoenas, and other Civil Process. Before his transfer to Civil,  these papers were served by the Patrol Division. Assigning Corporal Durham to the Civil Process Unit and allowing him to manage these papers on a regular basis, provides the Patrol Division with more time to respond to emergency calls, patrol neighborhoods and serve criminal process they are issued.


3.      This Sheriff’s Office implemented a mail notification procedure in 1983 for Civil Process. We notify Citizens, by mail, that we have a Civil Process, for them, to be served. Citizens are asked to come to the Sheriff’s Office, within 7 days of the date on the notification letter. If the person has not come in for service by the 7th day, that person's Civil Process is assigned to the appropriate Civil Deputy to serve, at either the person's home or work.

o        We have found that Citizens are extremely pleased to come by and pickup "Process" rather than have a brown, marked Sheriff’s unit drive up to their home or place of employment. 

o        This procedure allows citizens to have privacy with regard to their personal business. 

o        Over 40 percent of all Civil Process, received by the Sheriff, is served here, in his office. 

o        This procedure saves tax-dollars and allows for our Deputies to find further ways to serve the County and its Citizens.

o        We do not send mail notification of any Civil Process, which must be served within a certain time limit, set by statue.

·         Sgt. J. Roberts supervises the Civil Unit's activities and:

o        serves money judgments

o        serves writs of execution

o        serves tax warrants

o        serves other Civil Process. 

o        Corporal J. Clayton and Corporal H. Durham handle:

§         evictions

§         foreclosures

§         tax warrants 

§         other civil documents.

·         The Civil Division works very closely with the Patrol Division, Investigation and Narcotics Unit. It is not unusual for them to:

o         conduct license checking stations

o        assist on drug raids

o        provide crime scene security

o        handle funeral escorts

o        answer calls for service when patrol units are tied up with other calls or traffic situations.

·         The Civil unit works very closely with all financial institutions and law offices throughout North Carolina with regards to service of civil documents.  With an emphasis on precise tracking and proper service of all papers received and with an understanding of economic fluctuations, consider the following Civil Department data:

o        the Civil Unit serves well over 7,500 papers per year.

o        2010, the Civil Division served 8,962 papers and collected $87,150.00

o        2011, the Civil Division served 8,531 papers and collected $147,582.00

o    2012, the Civil Division served 8,487 papers and collected $174,448.00


If you have any further questions, please call (919) 644-3050.