How we Help our Clients Satisfy Their Judgments with Vehicle Levies
One way a judgment may be satisfied is through a vehicle levy. The judgment creditor obtains a Writ of execution and then asks the sheriff to seize, store and sell the vehicle. The first $3,050 of sale proceeds are exempt and may be returned to the judgment debtor. Any lien holders get paid next out of sale proceeds. Only after these two, do sale proceeds go toward satisfaction of the judgment.
The judgment creditor may use his/her judgment to “credit bid” on the vehicle at the sheriff’s auction. If the judgment debtor objects to the vehicle levy, they may file a Claim of Exemption (COE) and come to Court to explain why the vehicle should not be used to satisfy the judgment.
I have heard stories of judgment creditors arriving at the sheriff’s auction to discover they are the sole bidder, and buying the vehicle for just one dollar (there was no COE or car loan). They are then free to turn around and sell the car for market price and the judgment is only reduced by the $1. Vehicle levies are not cheap however, as the judgment creditors must front the costs for the sheriff that range from $1,500 in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties to $1,800 in Orange County.