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Civil Process

The Civil Process Division is commanded by a Civil Process Captain, and is assisted by a Civil Process Lieutenant and Three Sergeants. These supervisors have 14 fulltime officers to fulfill the duties of the office. The Civil Process Division serves civil processes issued by the court system. Civil refers to such things as lawsuits, divorces, subpoenas for court, child support, judgments, Small Claims court, etc. Most often the court issues a paper, and civil process deputies serve the paper to the named person(s). The paper often tells the named person(s) a court date or an action that must be taken.

Civil Process and the Sheriff

Common Law

The role of the Sheriff has been largely determined by tradition and law into the present day responsibilities of the Sheriff. The Office of the Sheriff is one of the oldest offices in the history of the English-Speaking people. The Sheriff is the only constitutionally created law enforcement office. The State Constitution requires that one sheriff shall be elected in each county in the state.

The duties of the Sheriff as dictated by the NC General Statutes.

Many of the original duties have been carried into the present day through North Carolina General Statutes. Chapter 162 of the General Statutes outline the general duties of the Sheriff.

To receipt for process - The Sheriff is required by to give his receipt for all original and intermediate processes placed in his hands for execution. This receipt is admissible as evidence of the facts that are stated in the receipt in any lawsuit between the party and the officer signing the receipt. GS 162-13

Duty to execute process - All Sheriffs are required to execute and make due return of all writs and other processes legally issued and directed to him within his county or upon any river, bay or creek adjoining his county. This return is considered to be the sworn affidavit of the officer who executed the process. GS 162-14

Execute Summons, Order or Judgment - This statute outlines the responsibilities of the Sheriff when he may be required to serve or execute summons, orders of judgments, or other acts. He is bound to execute them in like manner as processes that are issued to him and is equally liable for neglect of duty. He is authorized to return process by mail and his liabilities are prescribed by law. GS 162-16

Duties of outgoing Sheriff for unexecuted process - The Sheriff has a duty to deliver all processes received by him while he is in office to the succeeding Sheriff with sufficient time allowed for the successor to execute process. GS 162-17

Payment of money collected on Execution - Whenever the Sheriff collects money on an execution, he has the responsibility to immediately pay the amount collected either to the plaintiff or into the office of the clerk of court from which it was issued. GS 162-18

These first statutes directing the Sheriff in his duties are dealing with process service, showing the seriousness of this duty.

Civil Process Fee Schedule

For your civil process queries, please contact our office Monday - Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (828) 250-4410.

The service fee for In-State process is $30.00 per person.

The service fee for Out of State process is $50.00 per person.

The service fee for Federal Court process is $50.00 per person.

(Procedure for obtaining service on Out of State process.)


  • Original Summons (including attachments as necessary)
  • Original Return of Service Form
  • One copy for each person being served
  • Letter of instructions or special needs as desired
  • Self Addressed Stamped Envelope for return to the originating Clerk of Superior Court.


Cash, Certified Check or Money Order

Payable to:

Buncombe County Sheriff's Office


Buncombe County Sheriff's Office
60 Court Plaza, 4th Floor
Asheville, North Carolina 28801
Attn: Civil Process Division

Notes: Persons must reside within Buncombe County Physical address required; no post office box.

If you need further information or assistance, you may call us at (828) 250-4410.

Types of Processes

There are five main types of processes that are issued from the Courts of North Carolina.

Summonses are writs directed to the Sheriff that require him to notify a person named that an action or suit has been brought against him in the court which issued the writ. The summons also gives the person(s) other information such as when he's required to appear in court, when he has to answer the claims of the other party and what type of action or suit is being sought after.

Pleadings are documents that are filed with the court to explain or present the claims and defenses the parties to a lawsuit have against each other.

Orders are directions of the court or judge that are made in writing and are not included in a judgment. They are the rules of law and authority on particular modes of procedure or issues presented to the court.

Judgments are legal decisions, orders or decrees of actions given by a judge. The official decision of a court giving the rights and claims of the parties that the court will enforce. They are the final determination of the claims of the parties in a civil action.

Reports are written accounts or summaries of actions taken by the court officers in complying with the orders or judgments of the courts. Reports are used to keep the courts informed of the status of particular cases, processes, and other court actions.

Each of these process fall into two categories, either Prejudgment or Post judgment Remedies. Prejudgment Remedies are remedies that may be applied for and granted to a requesting party before the courts reach a final decision in a case.

Prejudgment Remedies would be:

  • Claim and Delivery
  • Attachment
  • Garnishment
  • Temporary Restraining Orders or Injunctions
  • Civil Orders for Arrest

Post Judgment Remedies are remedies that are available to the parties after the court has reached a final decision.

Some types of Post Judgment Remedies would be:

  • Execution
  • Writs for Possession of Real or Personal Property
  • Executions for Delivery of Specific Property
  • Body Executions "Bench Warrants"
  • Permanent Restraining Orders or Injunctions

Auction Sales

Important Information:

All sales are made subject to all liens and encumbrances which become effective prior to the judgment or execution lien under which the sale is being held.

A purchaser can acquire only the interest the judgment debtor possessed in the property when the lien became effective.

The purchaser then becomes responsible to pay the prior liens if he wishes to retain possession and ownership of the property.

The rule of "caveat emptor", or let the buyer beware, applies to ALL purchases of property at execution sales.

All property is sold as is with NO warranty.

Any real property sold under execution remains subject to all liens which became effective prior to the lien of the judgment pursuant to which the sale is held, in the same manner and to the same extent as if no such sale had been held.

The Sheriff encourages all prospective bidders to research real property at the Register of Deeds Office. (Visit Register of Deeds)

A 10% (ten percent) cash deposit is due at the time of sale, for ALL real property sales.

Real property sales are subject to a ten (10) day upset bid waiting period.

Every sale shall be made for cash.

From North Carolina General Statutes:
1-339.68(b), 1-339.47

All sales are subject to cancellation.

Upcoming Sales:

All sales are subject to cancellation.