Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 8. Process
12/8/2022

§ 8.01-293. Authorization to serve process, capias or show cause order; execute writ of possession or eviction and levy upon property.

A. The following persons are authorized to serve process:

1. The sheriff within such territorial bounds as described in § 8.01-295;

2. Any person 18 years of age or older and who is not a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter in controversy. For purposes of this subdivision, an investigator employed by the Indigent Defense Commission shall not be considered to be a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter in controversy while engaged in the performance of his official duties when serving witness subpoenas. For purposes of this subdivision, an investigator employed by an attorney for the Commonwealth shall not be considered to be a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter in controversy while engaged in the performance of his official duties, provided that the sheriff in the jurisdiction where process is to be served has agreed that such investigator may serve process. If a sheriff has agreed that such investigator may serve process, then an investigator employed by an attorney for the Commonwealth may serve process. However, in any case in which custody or visitation of a minor child or children is at issue and a summons is issued for the attendance and testimony of a teacher or other school personnel who is not a party to the proceeding, if such summons is served on school property, it shall be served only by a sheriff or his deputy; or

3. A private process server. For purposes of this section, "private process server" means any person 18 years of age or older and who is not a party or otherwise interested in the subject matter in controversy, and who charges a fee for service of process.

Whenever in this Code the term "officer" or "sheriff" is used to refer to persons authorized to make, return, or do any other act relating to service of process, such term shall be deemed to refer to any person authorized by this section to serve process.

B. Notwithstanding any other provision of law (i) only a sheriff or high constable may execute an order or writ of possession for personal, real, or mixed property, including a writ of eviction arising out of an action in unlawful entry and detainer or ejectment; (ii) any sheriff, high constable, or law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101 may serve any capias or show cause order; and (iii) only a sheriff, the high constable for the City of Norfolk or Virginia Beach, or a treasurer may levy upon property.

Code 1950, §§ 8-52, 8-54; 1954, c. 543; 1960, c. 16; 1968, c. 484; 1977, c. 617; 1981, c. 110; 1986, c. 275; 1996, cc. 501, 608; 1997, c. 820; 2002, c. 342; 2004, cc. 210, 588; 2011, c. 766; 2018, c. 238; 2019, cc. 180, 700; 2022, cc. 248, 684.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.