California Judgment Laws

August 9, 2023


This article highlights some judgment-related laws in California. The judgment-related laws in California are usually within the California Code of Civil Procedures, abbreviated as CCPs. Laws change over time, so please confirm any laws mentioned in this, or any of my articles. My articles are my opinions, and not legal advice. I am a judgment broker, and am not a lawyer. If you ever need any legal advice or a strategy to use, please contact a lawyer.

California CCP 685.020: The rate at which California judgments accrue interest:
A: Interest accrues at the rate of 10 percent per annum on the principal amount of a money judgment remaining unsatisfied.
B: The Legislature reserves the right to change the rate of interest at any time to a rate of less than 10 percent per annum, regardless of the date of entry of the judgment or the date any obligation upon which the judgment is based was incurred. A change in the rate of interest may be made applicable only to the interest that accrues after the operative date of the statute that changes the rate.

California CCP 699.020: At any time after delivery of a writ of execution to a levying officer and before its return, a person indebted to the judgment debtor may pay to the levying officer the amount of the debt or so much thereof as is necessary to satisfy the money judgment. The levying officer shall give a receipt for the amount paid and such receipt is a discharge for the amount paid.

California CCP 699.080: Search on the web for “CCP 699.080” to see the full text of this law, or any California laws mentioned in this article. After a judgment debtor’s assets are approved for levy by a Sheriff; a process server can serve a writ of execution to levy most kinds of property, including rare situations such as extracted mineral rights, and also typical assets such as real estate, personal property, bank accounts, etc.

This law also specifies waiting periods, how writs are handled, and how notices must be sent. Interestingly, in section 4-G, this law states “A registered process server may levy more than once under the same writ of execution, provided that the writ is still valid”. This seems to contradict most California levy situations in the real world, where one only gets “one bite of the apple”, for example, when a bank levy freezes the judgment debtor’s assets only once, at the moment of time when the levy is served on their bank.

California CCP 699.510: Search on the web for “CCP 699.510” to see the full text of this law. In summary, this law states that writs must be issued for the specific county where the judgment debtor’s assets are. In extremely rare situations, where writs from multiple creditors are requested from a court at the same time, for the same judgment debtor; writs for family court judgments are given a higher priority at the court clerk’s office. Writs last for six months, unless used to actively levy wages, in which case they usually last as long as either the judgment debtor’s job, or the judgment remains unsatisfied. Also specified, are details of writs of execution, affidavits of identity, and punishments for creditors that keep assets taken from the wrong person.

California CCP 699.520: Search on the web for “CCP 699.520” to see the full text of this law. In summary, this law details what information must be included on writs of execution.

California CCP 699.520: (a) Upon delivery of the writ of execution to the levying officer to whom the writ is directed, together with the written instructions of the judgment creditor, the levying officer shall execute the writ in the manner prescribed by law. (b) The levying officer may not levy upon any property under the writ after the expiration of 180 days from the date the writ was issued. (Federal judgment writs also last 180 days.)

California CCP 700.010: (a) At the time of levy pursuant to this article or promptly thereafter, the levying officer shall serve a copy of the following on the judgment debtor:
1. The writ of execution.
2. A notice of levy.
3. If the judgment debtor is a natural person, a copy of the form listing exemptions prepared by the Judicial Council pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 681.030 and the list of exemption amounts published pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 703.150.
4. Any affidavit of identity, as defined in Section 680.135, for names of the debtor listed on the writ of execution. Service under this section shall be made personally or by mail.

California CCP 700.160: Search on the web for “CCP 700.160” to see the full text of this law. This law specifies time limits for banks to pay the amount owed to the Sheriff, and covers situations where a bank account or safe-deposit box is levied in a name other then the judgment debtor, and how fictitious name statements are handled. Interestingly, this law only covers situations involving unexpired fictitious business name statements, and does not address or mention the very common reality of judgment debtors operating businesses with expired fictitious business names.

This ebook/book is highly recommended for California court evidence laws.

If you need to find a judgment collection attorney in California, contact a judgment broker, or visit the California Bar web site at: www.calbar.ca.gov.

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