Sheriff's Office: (605) 882-6280 | Detention Center: (605) 882-6284


Civil Process

General Information


All civil process fees are set periodically by State statute.  See SDCL 7-12-18 for complete details.

Mileage is set periodically by the State legislature.  As of 7/1/16, we charge 50 cents per mile.

Some common fees, as of 7/1/16:

General Paper Service:            $50.00 plus mileage

Subpoena Service:                   $20.00 plus mileage


General Paper Service and the Sheriff’s Office:   The Sheriff’s Office serves civil summons, complaints, and all other similar process upon individuals within his jurisdiction.  Paperwork for service is accepted by mail or hand-delivery.  Please include the most recent address and any other information known to you that might be helpful in locating the person to be served, such as when they are home, cell phone numbers, employer, the vehicle they drive and the like.  If possible, please try to have a middle name or date of birth as well, as there may be more than one person in our area with a similar name, especially if the defendant has a common name. Also include your name and address, so we can send you a return of service.

A deputy will attempt to personally serve the paperwork by delivering it to the person to be served or a member of his family, if appropriate.  A return will be signed by the deputy and sent to the plaintiff or his or her attorney, along with a bill for the service.

If the deputy finds the person to be served has moved from the last known address, the deputy will attempt to determine a forwarding address for the defendant.  If he is unable to locate the person to be served, he will return the paperwork with an affidavit of non-service.


Eviction Procedure and the Sheriff’s Office:  The landlord may follow a statutory procedure to evict a tenant pursuant to 21-16, et seq.

Notice to Quit:  The Sheriff’s Office will serve Notice to Quit served upon a tenant.  The Sheriff’s Office does not have a form to fill out.  It is recommended the landlord contact his or her attorney to have a proper Notice drafted that will satisfy statutory requirements.   The Sheriff will not determine the legality or correctness of the Notice.

Delivery to the Sheriff:  Once the Sheriff has received the Notice for service, it will be processed, and if possible, a deputy will attempt service the same day it is received.

Attempted Service:  The deputy will attempt to locate the tenant at the rental address.  If the tenant is found there, the deputy will serve the notice; if not, he will retain the notice for a minimum of six hours and then attempt service again.  Should the tenant be found on the second effort, the deputy serves the Notice.  If the tenant is not found, the deputy “posts” the Notice by affixing it in a conspicuous place on the property (normally the front door), and then also sends a copy by first class mail to the tenant at the place where the property is situated.  Either method is considered personal service of the notice.  See SDCL 21-16-2.

Counting the “three days:”   A frequent mistake made by landlords is computing when the three days provided for in the Notice actually begins.  It does not begin when you draft the Notice, nor does it begin the minute you deliver it to the Sheriff for service.  It does begin the next business day after service is accomplished by the deputy.  It does not run on any weekends, holidays, or any day the Codington County Clerk of Courts is closed for business.  For example, if the deputy serves it on a Friday, and any holiday occurs on the following Monday, the three days won’t start until the following Tuesday.

Suit for Eviction:  If the tenant does not move out at the expiration of the three days, the landlord must go to the next step of suing them for eviction, known as an action for “forcible entry and detainer.”  The Sheriff’s Office has no forms to fill out here, either.  At this point, retaining an attorney is prudent, if you have not already done so, as the summons and complaint documents to be drafted are beyond most lay people.  Once these documents are drafted, they are delivered to the Sheriff’s Office where they are  processed and assigned to a deputy for service.  These documents cannot be “posted,” so the deputy will have to track down the individual to personally serve them.

Hearing:  Once served, the tenant has a specified time to answer the complaint.  Soon thereafter, a hearing is held before a Judge.  Should the Judge order the tenant evicted by the Sheriff, an Order specifying such will be signed by the Judge.

Eviction:  Once the Sheriff has the Order of Eviction in his hand, the Sheriff will take appropriate steps to track down the tenant and cause him to remove himself according to the Order of the Court within a reasonable period of time.


Executions Procedure and the Sheriff’s Office

General:  You have the right to use the judicial process to attempt to collect money that is owed to you.  Generally, those steps are as follows:

Lawsuit:  To utilize the Small Claims Court, contact the Codington County Clerk of Courts for further information at (605) 882-5095.  Lawsuits above a certain dollar amount will have to go through Circuit Court.

Judgment:   A hearing is held before a Judge, who will consider the evidence presented by both parties and render an appropriate Judgment.  That Judgment will be docketed against the defendant’s name by the Clerk of Courts.

Execution:  To have the Sheriff attempt to collect the money ordered in the Judgment, the creditor or their attorney can have the Clerk of Courts issue an “Execution.”  This constitutes the Sheriff’s authority by law to attempt to collect from the debtor and to seize and sell property of the debtor in an attempt to satisfy the judgment.  The Clerk will charge a fee for issuing the Execution on behalf of creditor.  The Sheriff’s Office will determine if there is anything of the debtor’s that can be levied upon and sold.  Anything levied upon by the Sheriff must be advertised in the paper and sold by him at public auction to the highest bidder.  The creditor can bid at the auction if they so desire.  Statutory fees will be withheld and a check will be issued to the creditor or his attorney.    If there is a deficit, the creditor can attempt further executions in the future.  The creditor is responsible for the costs of the action if the property does not sell or does not sell for an amount sufficient to cover the expenses of the levy and sale.   If the Sheriff is unable to find anything of the debtor’s worthy of levy and sale, he will return the execution “unsatisfied” to the creditor, who must then pay to the Sheriff the statutory fees and costs.  Note the creditor may keep track of his expenses and report them to the Clerk of Courts to add to the docket total of the Judgment.  The creditor is responsible to file satisfactions or partial satisfactions of judgment with the Clerk of Courts when money is received by him.

Garnishment:  Another method of collecting money for the plaintiff is to attempt to garnish the wages of the debtor, if their employer is known.  Garnishment is covered under SDCL 21-18 et seq.  It is the policy of the Codington County Sheriff’s Office that any money of a debtor’s that is held in the hands of a third party must be garnished, so we will not levy it for you.  This would specifically include wages and bank accounts.  The Sheriff’s Office has no forms for you to fill out.  It is suggested you retain an attorney to draft the documents necessary for this effort.  The Sheriff’s participation here is limited to simply serving the paperwork on the debtor.


Protection Order actions are started at the Codington County Clerk of Courts Office.  The Sheriff or Deputy will serve the paperwork if the person can be located in Codington County.  There is no charge for this service.