CIVIL PROCESS INFORMATIONAL SHEET
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office accepts Circuit Court documents for civil process service in Howard County, MD, as well as documents from out of state Courts. The fee for all Maryland Court documents served is $40 per paper, and $60 for out of state documents served per paper. All District Court documents must be processed by the Civil Clerks in the original jurisdiction and will be sent to the Howard County Sheriff’s Office for service.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Office will only accept documents for service if the defendant is believed to reside or work in Howard County, MD. Documents for service outside of Howard County must be sent to the appropriate County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office will only accept civil process if the expiration date on the document is two (2) weeks away or more. Usually, the Court gives the Sheriff’s Office sixty (60) days to attempt service. If the Sheriff’s Office is unable to serve a document on a defendant, the Office will refund half of the service fee by mailing a check to the address provided by the customer requesting service. The Sheriff’s Office only accepts payment for service by personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. Cash, credit cards, and starter checks are not accepted. All forms of payment are to be payable to: Howard County Sheriff’s Office. If payment is made in person at the Sheriff’s Office, a receipt will be provided. Valid ID is required when dropping off documents for service and we ask for a phone number in case we have a question about the service.
Once the Sheriff’s Office accepts documents for service, it usually takes three (3) business days to assign them to a uniformed Deputy for service in Howard County. When the Deputy attempts service at a residence or employer, they make every reasonable effort to personally serve the defendant named on the document.
After the document is served, the assigned Deputy will complete a RETURN and that document will be mailed by the Sheriff’s Office to the appropriate Court named in the civil action. If, after numerous attempts for service, the documents cannot be served, the assigned Deputy will complete a NON-EST RETURN to the appropriate Court, and a refund check will be mailed to the requesting party for service. If the assigned Deputy believes the defendant is purposefully evading service of the document, the Deputy will complete an EVASION of SERVICE RETURN to the appropriate Court.
A customer may call the Howard County Sheriff’s Office to check on the status of their requested document service by calling: 410-313-4168 and speaking to the Clerk assigned to data entry of all papers. If a customer leaves a detailed message and return phone number, the Clerk will return all telephone inquiries in a timely manner. An additional phone number to call is the Duty Officer at: 410-313-4150.