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Civil Process Division

Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office Civil Process Division

The Civil Process Division is responsible for the serving of court papers issued from all Virginia State courts and those processes issued from other states, being served in the County of Fauquier. Civil Process is tasked with executing warrants, evictions, repossessions, levies, sheriff sales, extraditions, and providing assistance to the Patrol Deputies when necessary. The Civil Process Division is charged with the delivery of processes in a timely efficient manner.

Contact Information

Mailing address:
Fauquier County Civil Process Division
78 West Lee Street, Suite 100
Warrenton, VA 20186

Phone: 540-422-8610
Fax: 540-422-8609
For Emergency - Dial 911

Betsy Irons
Captain Billy Hitt - 540-422-8724
Lt. Mike Miller - 540-422-8697
Location of Civil Process: Civil Process is located in the basement of the Sheriff’s Office Headquarters building at 78 West Lee St, Suite 100, Warrenton, VA 20186

Hours of Operation

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm

Status of Process

To check on status of process:
send e-mail to: Betsy Irons

When requesting status of service, please provide the following:
Plaintiff name, Defendant name, defendant address, date issued from the court and which court issued it.

Process Fees

Fees for Service of Process:
Fees for service are generally governed by 17.1-272 of the Virginia State code, which are:

A. The fees for process and service in the following instances shall be twelve dollars:
  1. For service on any person, firm or corporation, order, notice, summons or any other civil process, except as herein otherwise provided, and for serving on any person, firm, or corporation any process when the body is not taken and making a return thereof, except that no fees shall be charged for service pursuant to 9-6.14:13 of the Virginia State code. (Administrative agencies. Subpoenas, depositions and requests for admissions. The agency or its designated subordinates shall have power to, and on request for any party to a case shall, issue subpoenas requiring testimony or the production of books, papers, and physical or other evidence.)
  2. Summonsing a witness or garnishee on an attachment.
  3. Service on any person an attachment or other process under which the body is taken and making a return thereon.
  4. Service of any order of court not otherwise provided for, except that no fees shall be charged for protective orders issued pursuant to 16.1-226 of the Virginia State code.
  5. Service of a writ of possession.
  6. For levying an execution or distress warrant or an attachment.
  7. Making a return of a Writ of Fieri Facias when no levy was made or forthcoming bond taken.
  8. Levying upon current money, bank notes, goods or chattels of a judgment debtor pursuant to 8.01-478 of the Virginia State code.
B. The process and service fee for serving any papers returnable out of state, seventy-five dollars.
Pursuant to Va. Code §17.1-272 as amended...Sheriff and High Constable fees for processes returnable to states outside the Commonwealth of Virginia are to paid in advance

Our Federal Express/United Parcel address is:

Sheriff Fauquier County
Civil Process Division (Required for Fed Ex/UPS)
78 West Lee St., Suite 100
Warrenton, VA 20186
phone number: (540)347-6933

**Please note that the Virginia Code makes some distinction for the type process served, refer to Va. Code §17.1-272.
C. The fees shall be allowable for services provided by such officer in the circuit and district courts. (17.1-272 of the Virginia State code)

Out of State Services (those coming from another state which are being served in Fauquier County):
When mailing your papers for service, please include a cover letter indicating to where the affidavit of service should be returned. Please include a self addressed envelope(s) with postage. If you would like your affidavit of service completed, please indicate so. Otherwise, we will use our affidavit of service. If you have special instructions on service, or information detrimental to obtaining service, please spell that out in your letter. Of course, if you feel the individual may avoid service, a photograph is helpful but not mandatory. The fee for out of state services is $75.00 per person, per address.



('8.01-470 & 472) The Writ of Possession in Unlawful Detainer is a court order authorizing the Sheriff to physically remove a person and his belongings from the premises and to return possession to the landlord. Usually the court will not issue the Writ of Possession until the appeal period has lapsed. The appeal period is ten (10) days except where the landlord has asked for immediate possession at the hearing, the 10-day appeal period is waived. ('8.01-129) There are certain qualifications which must be met in order to obtain a wavier of the appeal period and it strongly suggested the tenant consult an attorney.

Do not confuse the waiver of the appeal period to mean waiver of the 72 Hour Notice which will be covered later.

Time Period for Executing Writ:
This Writ gives the Sheriff (30) thirty days in which to execute, however, our office expedites these processes since each day the tenant remains on the property the greater the loss by the landlord. Effective July 1, 2000, this code, '8.01-470, has been modified to read, A The execution of the writ of possession by the sheriff should occur within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date the writ is received by the sheriff, or as soon as practicable thereafter, but in no event later than thirty (30) days from the date the writ of possession was issued.@ While this change speeds up the eviction process, it allows for discretion as well. It is important to remember the date the Writ was issued should a postponement be requested after scheduling the eviction. This will be discussed in detail later. '8.01-470, 471 At the time the landlord requests issuance of the Writ of Possession, he may also request a Writ of Fieri Facias to cover any damages and costs. Our office does not usually recommend this procedure because the property levied upon will be placed to the curb during the eviction, thus resulting in possible loss of levied property.

72 Hour Notice: The 72-hour notice is not to be confused with the 10-day appeal period. Many landlords confuse the waiver of the 10-day appeal period to mean the 72 Hour Notice has also been waived, thereby, expecting the Sheriff to execute the Writ the moment he receives it. The codes relating to the10-day appeal period and the 72 Hour Notice are covered under two different code sections. Therefore, unless the judge, in writing, waives the 72 Hour Notice to the tenant, the Sheriff must follow the code. The moment the Sheriff receives the Writ from the court, the Writ is entered into the computer. The Sheriff has no control over how long it takes a Writ to come down from the court to his office. Processes are picked up from the Courts in the morning & afternoon, if the court issues a Writ after 2:00pm, the Sheriff will not get it until the following morning.
After entering the Writ of Possession into the computer, The member assigned will call the landlord to arrange the eviction date and time. Therefore, it is important the landlord write any and all phone numbers on the Writ so that the Sheriff can contact him for scheduling. If the landlord’s phone number is not written on the Writ, the Sheriff will contact the Court to request the number; if the number is not available the writ will be returned to the Court for insufficient information. Valuable time is lost and it is possible the Writ could expire before ever scheduling the eviction.
Once a time has been set, the Sheriff will prepare the 72 HOUR NOTICE TO VACATE which is issued by the Sheriff. The date and time of the eviction must be noted on the form. Pursuant to '8.01-470, the notice must be served according to the laws relating to service of process. This is especially important if the landlord is trying to evict a business where the owner has left property inside but is no longer operating the business. If this should occur, the landlord may want to consult an attorney because service at the business cannot be affected and would have to be directed to the owner’s home, and other remedies may be available to the landlord.

Postponement and Cancellation of Scheduled Eviction:
The Sheriff reserves the right to postpone a scheduled eviction due to inclement Weather or in the event of an emergency. Generally speaking, if it is raining, snowing, or dangerous winds, then the eviction will be postponed and rescheduled for another day. No additional fees will be required if the Sheriff postpones the eviction due to inclement weather or an emergency.

Duties of the Landlord:
Arrive on time. The deputy will wait about 15 minutes if the landlord is running late. However, after 15 minutes the deputy will leave the scene. Communication is the key here. Let the Sheriff know if there is an emergency situation. The deputy will try to work with the landlord but he will not wait any longer than 15 minutes if we have not heard from the landlord. If the landlord wants assistance by the Sheriff, the landlord or his agents must not enter the dwelling until the deputy has arrived. Entering before the deputy has arrived will result in the Sheriff canceling the Writ and no performance of the eviction. This is done to ensure both the landlord’s safety and the safety of the deputy, but moreover, to limit liability to the Sheriff and the landlord by false accusations made by disgruntled tenants. If the landlord starts moving property out before the Sheriff arrives, he cannot ensure the eviction has been done in a lawful manner and will back out, stating the landlord has taken action without the assistance of the Sheriff. Any knowledge the landlord has about the tenant is helpful to the deputy. It is important for the Sheriff to know if the tenant may have any weapons in the dwelling, or if the tenant has been arrested for assault, or believed to be dealing drugs. Incidental information, such as inoperative cars, pets, waterbeds, and juveniles left alone is important because they can prolong the eviction and may necessitate additional preparation by the landlord or sheriff (animal control). If the landlord knows the tenant has changed the locks, the landlord may want to have a locksmith available at the appointed time. The landlord must supply sufficient personnel (movers) to allow speedy removal of the property. The deputy, at his discretion, can cancel the eviction for lack of sufficient personnel. If the eviction is canceled for lack of sufficient personnel, the landlord will be required to pay additional fees for the service of the new writ. We usually recommend at least three to five people depending upon the amount of property inside. It is the landlord's responsibility to remove the property.


The wise landlord should come prepared with tools (hammer, screwdrivers, etc.) and boxes or bags in which to place loose items. Dangerous household hazardous materials or chemicals will not be placed to the curb and it will be the duty of the landlord to properly dispose of those materials at a designated landfill. Other objects which could be considered dangerous to the public will be confiscated by the deputy and brought into the office after inventory of the items, i.e.,guns, knives, prescription medication and paraphernalia, and urns. While the Virginia code does not require the landlord to change the locks after completion of the eviction, the landlord may want to consider doing so.

Trailer Evictions:
Special considerations are made for trailer evictions.
Trailer Owner is Landlord but not Lot Owner: Where the landlord requesting the eviction is the landlord but not the lot owner, the tenant will be treated as though they were renting an apartment, thus, all personal property inside the trailer will be moved to the nearest public way.
Landlord Evicting is Lot Owner but not Trailer Owner: This is usually a case of delinquent lot rent. In this instance, the Lot Owner/Landlord has the option of either having the trailer removed from the lot and placed in a storage area, or evicting while allowing the trailer to be considered stored on the lot. In both cases, contents of the trailer are not removed. The utilities are disconnected and the trailer is secured so that no one can enter. The disadvantages to moving the trailer to a storage area are that permits to move are required and the expense of moving the trailer. The disadvantage of allowing the trailer to remain on the lot is the same as those where landlords do not change locks. The tenant will sometimes move back in.

On the day of the scheduled eviction, all property will either be placed to the nearest public way or placed in a designated storage area which can be the dwelling unit. Should the tenant leave any pets, they may be recovered through the County’s Animal Shelter by phone at 788-9000. However, Animal Control will not take any fish or exotic animals. Any dangerous properties, i.e., guns, knives, prescription medications seized may be recovered from the Sheriff’s Office within 24 hours of the execution of the writ. Identification will be required before release and only the tenant listed on the Writ can pick up the property. If the tenant cannot be present when the eviction takes place, the tenant may want to have someone whom they trust there to protect their property. The Sheriff can only ensure the safety of the tenant’s property while he is there. Once the Sheriff leaves, he is no longer responsible. In the event there are children home at the time of the eviction without an adult, the Department of Social Services will be called if arrangements cannot be made by the tenant for shelter of the children. For tenants who are in need of emergency services, such as shelter or financial assistance, they may call the Adult Protective Services division of the Department of Social Services at 347-2316.

Sheriff Sales

Information on Sheriff Sales
Advertising: Advertising of sheriff sales are posted in the local newspapers

Who may Bid: Anyone may bid at sheriff's sales, except employees and relatives of employees of any constitutional officer in the State of Virginia.

Bidding procedures: The terms of sale vary from sale to sale. Therefore, it is important the bidder listens carefully when the terms of sale are announced. The following are consistent terms:
  • Everything is sold as is; No warranties apply.
  • Everything is sold subject to any liens.
  • Everything is sold to the highest bidder for cash.
  • The property must be removed immediately at the conclusion of the sale.
Therefore, if moving arrangements need to be made, the bidder should give this some thought before bidding.

Any person who bids on property but fails to pay at the conclusion of the sale is liable for any difference if the property resells for a lower amount at another auction.

All bids must be reasonable and the deputy reserves the right to refuse a bid which is considered unreasonable.

Note: There are many reasons a sale could be canceled. Therefore, bidders should call our office at (540)347-3300 the morning of any scheduled sale to inquire if it has been canceled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Civil Process FAQ

Why wasn't I called and notified when service was made?
With the volume of papers served by the Sheriff, it would be impossible for us to notify all parties after service has been made. However, the plaintiff may attach a self-addressed, stamped postcard if he wishes to be notified after service.

I had papers issued out of Fauquier County General District Court and want to know if they've been served yet?
An inquiry indicates the Sheriff has not received any process for the individual in question. Territorial jurisdiction is very important here. The process will be served by the Sheriff where the person resides, regardless of which court issued the process.

Why does the deputy keep coming back to my house when I have repeatedly told him the person he was looking for doesn't live here?
There are a couple of reasons. If the person to be served is a relative, we would have to go back to confirm the relative still doesn't live there. In this day and age, many children move back in with their parents or siblings, so we cannot assume the relative no longer lives there. While a deputy is assigned a specific area (zone) of the County to serve, he or she may not necessarily work exclusively in that zone. Deputies often cross zones to provide timely, efficient service. Therefore, you may have told another deputy that the person he is seeking doesn't live there but the current deputy would have no knowledge of the conversation. We very much appreciate it when the resident/occupant calls to provide us with this information.

I heard there was a Warrant out for my arrest. Can you tell me if this is true?
If it is a Warrant for Arrest in a criminal matter, the Patrol Division would handle that service. The sheriff will not provide this information over the phone. If you believe there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest, it is better to go to the nearest police station or Sheriff's Office to inquire.

I received a 72 Hour Notice to Vacate but I filed a Motion to Rehear, so how do I make sure the Sheriff will not come out on the date of the scheduled eviction to put my property out?
A motion to rehear does not stop the eviction process. There are a couple of remedies available to tenants. Therefore, the tenant should seek the advice of an attorney.

I have received my judgment in court for the money owed me, why haven't I received my money?
Obtaining judgment and enforcing judgments are two different actions. While the plaintiff may have won his case in court, it is up to the plaintiff to pursue collection remedies. The method of collection will vary according to each case and the assets and information available. One method of collecting your money is through the Writ of Fieri Facias process. We refer to this as the levy process. The Writ of FiFa authorizes the Sheriff to levy (inventory) property owned by the judgment debtor which is later sold at public auction to recover the debt. This is a time consuming and sometimes costly process. If you know where the debtor works or where his bank account is located, you may ask the clerk of the court where you obtained judgment to issue a Garnishment Summons. This requires the third party debtor (employer or lending institution) to pay the money owed to the court who will later disburse to the plaintiff.

I need to have a divorce process served in another state but it is issued out of a Virginia court. How do I go about this?
Every Sheriff should have a directory of all Sheriff's in the United States. You could contact your local sheriff either by phone or by E-mail and request the address for that jurisdiction. Or via the Internet, contact the National Sheriffs' Association at or write to 1450 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314-3490 703/836/7827. For locating Virginia Sheriff's, you can contact the Virginia Sheriff's Association at http://www.virginiasheriffs.orgor by writing to 701 East Franklin Street, Suite 706, Richmond, Virginia 23219 Phone(804) 225-7152 Fax(804) 225-7162

My child support payments are taken out of my pay check but the deputy came by with Department of Child Support Enforcement papers. I am not behind on my child support payments, why is DCSE serving me with papers?
From time to time DCSE updates their files. They use the Sheriff's services for notification because it is free. If you have questions about your payments, or notice a discrepancy in the amount of payments, you should contact your local DSCE office for correction.

A card was left on my door for my relative who doesn't live here. What's this all about?
As much as we would like to tell you, we are prohibited from discussing the process with anyone other than for the person to whom it is issued. Think of it this way, would you like the Sheriff discussing a process for you with a neighbor or separated spouse? What you can do is either provide us with a phone number and address so that we can contact them, or have the relative call us.

A deputy left a card on my door telling me he had to serve me a show cause to explain why I didn't appear in court. My attorney told me I didn't have to go to court because I filed bankruptcy. I thought when I filed bankruptcy I wouldn't have to deal with these collection matters anymore. Why do I have to go to court now?
Filing of bankruptcy protects the debtor from any creditor process, i.e., collection of debts. However, the court would not have any knowledge that a debtor filed bankruptcy. This is why it is important to appear or notify the court that bankruptcy has been filed. Once a show cause has been issued for failure to appear, the process now becomes a criminal matter (contempt of court) and the deputy must serve the process, unless the court recalls the order. If the debtor fails to appear on the show cause, a capias for the defendant's arrest will be issued. This could be avoided by taking care of the problem in the beginning.

Why can't I come down to your office to pick up papers for my husband?
The laws relating to service of process are specific. If the person to be served is a party to the suit, they must be served in person at a business. Additionally, it may be a process which requires personal service, regardless of where it is served, and service at our office may be more convenient to the individual being served.

If I pay the debt before the court date, do I have to still go to court?
If the process indicates the debtor does not have to appear in court, the debtor may elect to pay the debt and forego going to court. However, the debtor takes a risk in doing so. If for some reason the payment gets lost and debtor fails to appear in court, judgment will be obtained by default. It is more difficult to reverse a judgment than it is to simply appear in court to ensure the debtor's rights are protected. For this reason, all deputies will encourage a person to appear in court when requested to do so.

I paid my late rent but the landlord had a deputy post a notice to vacate on my door. Can the landlord still evict me?
There are several remedies available to both the tenant and the landlord. Therefore, it is suggested each party seeks the advice of an attorney. From the Sheriff's perspective, however, once the Writ has been placed in his hand, it is considered a valid writ and the eviction can take place, even if the rent has been paid. Of course, those remedies mentioned could stop an eviction from proceeding.

I am a landlord who has a delinquent tenant. I went to court and obtained my judgment to have the tenant evicted. However, today the tenant told me he filed bankruptcy. I want them out! Why won't you go out and evict them like I asked?
Filing of bankruptcy stops all civil actions against the tenant. This includes the eviction process because the debtor's estate, personal or real, is protected by the bankruptcy court. In order for the landlord to go forward with the eviction, he must obtain from the bankruptcy court, an order granting relief from stay. Without this, the Sheriff will not evict.

I've heard that sale of automobiles that are confiscated by the police are going to auction. Who do I contact for information about those sales?
Vehicles and property used in the commission of a crime can be confiscated by the Commonwealth and sold. While the Sheriff stores the confiscated vehicles, the sale of those vehicles are handled by the Commonwealth's Attorney who can be reached at (540)347-8684.

I found this paper on the door and this person doesn't live here. What do I do with the paper?
It is important to understand that the Sheriff is not the only person who serves processes. Private process servers are also permitted to serve process. However, if you should find a process on your door for someone who doesn't live there, regardless of who may have served it, call our office at (540)347-6933 and we will send a deputy to pick it up. When calling us we will need some information, such as who you are, the address where the process was left, if you are related to the person to be served, if there is any forwarding address or phone number, and how long ago the person moved away.

I moved out of my boyfriend's apartment and left some of my things there. He won't let me in to get them. I need a law enforcement officer to go with me to get my things because I am afraid he will get angry. How can I arrange this?
Unfortunately, the Sheriff does not assist in recovery of specific personal property unless he has a court order in hand. If the boyfriend will not return the property, the owner of the property may have to go to the court to obtain an order called a Writ of Possession in Detinue to have the Sheriff assist in recovery of the withheld property. This takes time, but if the owner believes the property will be sold or removed from the Commonwealth, the owner can go to the magistrate to request a Detinue Seizure Order. This process is more expensive and the party should seek the advice of an attorney to determine if this is the best route for recovery of the property.

I have been given custody of my daughter but my husband refuses to return her to me. I need a deputy to go with me to help me get my daughter back.
Unless there is a specifically worded order in the Sheriff's hands directing him to take custody of a child, he will not. Any custody order obtained in another state other than Virginia is not recognized here and must be filed with a Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to ensure the foreign order complies with Virginia law.

My neighbor was evicted yesterday and there is a mess in the yard. Who do I contact to get the mess cleaned up?
Any property which is placed to the curb during the eviction process is the property of the tenant. It is considered theft to take that property once placed to the curb. If the property has been there for more than 24 hours, the neighbor should contact VDOT(State Highway Dept) . This is usually the responsibility of the landlord. If, however, the property is placed to an area where it is considered private property, such as, condos or apartments, a person may contact that association or rental office to request clean up.

A deputy posted a notice on my door saying he was going to break and enter to recover furniture that my son owns. I have repeatedly told the furniture company that my son doesn't live with me any longer and took all his furniture with him. How do I stop them from coming into my house?
Once the Writ has been issued, the Sheriff has the authority to use force to execute the order. It is not necessary that you be there, simply have someone available to let the Sheriff and the furniture company in to confirm what you have told him. This should stop repeated contact from the furniture company.


Circuit Court
General District Court
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court

Date Last Modified: 02/28/2013


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