Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The Sheriff’s Civil Bureau is not permitted to give legal advice.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Civil Bureau is to serve all process in a reasonable and timely manner while maintaining an impartial position between all parties involved.

Question - Where do I send documents to be served?
Answer - Sheriff Civil Bureau, 670 W. 22nd Street, Merced CA 95340
Question - How do I submit my service request to be processed by the Merced County Sheriff’s Civil Office?
Answer - We accept walk-in and/or via mail. Always ensure our office will have sufficient time to serve your papers some paperwork must be served certain days prior to the court date.
Question - What are your hours of operation?
Answer - 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday (12:00 to 1:00 PM closed for lunch) The office is also closed for holidays.
Question - What if the best time to serve is before 8 AM or after 5 PM?
Answer - You may hire a private process server (located under Process Serving in the Yellow Pages) or have any adult over the age of 18-years of age not associated with your action to serve the paperwork.
Question - What do I need to enclose?
Answer - The documents you wish to have served along with a Letter of Instructions (CCP 262) directed to the Sheriff’s Office along with All fees are per service. Two defendants equal two services, even if they are at the same address. Payment and /or court issued fee waiver if granted.
Question - What are your fees?
Answer - Most fees are listed on our Merced County Sheriff Civil Website. Please select to see Sheriff’s Civil Process Fees: Sheriff Civil Fees
Question - Who do I make the check payable to?
Answer - Merced County Sheriff's Office
Question - How do I pay for my Services?
Answer - Forms of Payment Accepted:
               • Money Orders
               • Business Checks
               • Exact Cash
               • Certified Funds
               • Credit/Debit Card - $1.50 fee upon using debit (In Person Only)
               • Approved Court Order on Fee Waiver
Question - What happens after you serve my paperwork?
Answer - We will mail your Proof of Service directly to you at the address you provide on your letter of instructions. Also, the issuing Court will receive one as well on all legal documents.
Question - What happens if you cannot serve my paperwork?
Answer - When the Sheriff’s Office is not able to serve your paperwork due to reasons beyond our control, we will return in the mail your original paperwork with your proof of service to the address on the Letter of Instructions, proof of service will still go out to the issuing Court.
Question - When will my wages be garnished?
Answer - Garnishments will typically start the first paycheck after valid service of  the Earnings Withholding Order has taken place. 
   * The Civil Bureau collects $12.00 from every garnishment processed so please take that into consideration when figuring out total funds credited toward monies owed. 
   Please keep in mind there may be additional daily interest that accrues depending on your case.
Question - How do I sue someone in small claims court?
Answer - Contact the Merced Superior Small Claims Court at (209) 725-4111. You may also contact the Small Claims Advisor (209) 725-4188
Question - Where do I find legal advice?
Answer - While our office is not able to provide you legal advice, we may, however, direct you to resources. If you do not have an attorney or other qualified individual assisting you with the completion of your documents, you may contact the Self-Help office, who may be able to assist you. Please select to see Merced Superior Court Self-Help Info: Merced County Superior Court
Question - How do I get a restraining order?
Answer - To obtain any kind of restraining order you should contact the California Superior Courts. The Sheriff’s Office does not issue restraining orders. 
   * If you are wanting to file a Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining
Order, you would go to Merced Superior Court (2260 N Street, Merced, Ca on the 2nd Floor)
   * If you are wanting to file a Temporary Civil Harassment Restraining Order you would go to: Merced Superior Court Civil Division (627 W. 21st, Merced Ca,)
Question - Are you able to serve someone incarcerated?
Answer - As long as the inmate is detained within Merced County, we are able to serve. Generally, services are executed every Tuesdays and Thursday, per the availability of the facility.
Question - What is a levy?
Answer - A levy is a process of seizing or collecting property under a writ of execution. The Sheriff (levying officer) will seize/collect the property at the request of the plaintiff/creditor to satisfy a money judgment.
Question - My writ was returned for correction. Why do I have to have the court  clerk correct and initial it if the court issued it that way? 
Answer - The Sheriff is required to enforce the writ; however, it is the Sheriff’s responsibility to ensure the writ meets all requirements. (Refer to CCP 699.520 and 712.010 for the requirements). Per California Rules of Court (CRC) 2.116, “All additions, corrections, deletions and interlineations must be initialed by the issuing clerk.”
Question - Can the Sheriff’s office look up Defendant’s information for me?
Answer - The case is Civil in nature, and the Sheriff’s office cannot utilize criminal investigative tactics such as stakeouts or computer inquiries (DMV, arrest records, etc.) to serve process, therefore we cannot guarantee service.