Bank levies (Code of Civil Procedure 700.140)) are part of the first barrage of any judgment enforcement. The Creditor issues a writ of execution (Form EJ-130, which must be submitted with Form MC-012) then instructs the sheriff, or process server, to levy debtors bank accounts. The bank then sends the money to the Sheriff, who then sends the money to the Creditor.

This is simple in theory, but fraught with technicalities and pitfalls, that an experienced collection law firm who knows Los Angeles County judgment enforcement court procedures will know how to navigate. Doing bank levies right is very important, because creditors only have one shot at doing bank levies. If a levy does not work, debtor gets tipped off of creditors enforcement efforts, and all the bank account money mysteriously vanishes.

The following is a short list of important considerations:

  • Knowing where accounts are and when they have money is essential to doing levies effectively. As an experienced collection law firm, we work with many information sources to know exactly where Debtor assets are;
  • Many Debtors put accounts in the name of their spouse, thinking the judgment cannot reach these. However, Code of Civil Procedure 695.020, allows a Creditor to levy on a spouses community property accounts, as if they were the debtors own accounts a few simple steps can turn your average levy into a “Two for the price of one”*! (Spousal Declaration, Code of Civil Procedure 700.160) This technique alone has collected judgments that could not otherwise have been done. A judgment enforcement law firm knows how to do this;
  • When enforcing a judgment, the creditor should serve all institutions at the same time/same day-all in one fell swoopso the debtor cannot move assets.  The usual sheriff’s levy cannot get this done- which is why the Evanns Collection Law Firm employs a crack team of in house process servers who do these all the time, and coordinate all levies exactly at the times and places that are most optimal- even if the services are in different counties — to maximize returns;
  • Recent law changes have given debtors many defenses to levies,  and created major pitfalls for Creditors. All the debtor has to do is take literally 2 minutes to fill out a one page bogus exemption form (EJ-130)or in some cases, the bank can even do it for them- and your levy comes to a grinding halt.

At that point—You have a very limited time to file opposition papers with the Court, and schedule a hearing in front of a judge to oppose.  Otherwise, the debtor gets all the levied money back and the creditor gets nothing. Your levy could hit for $1million, and a 1-page form (not a joke/not an exaggeration- it is a 1 pager) could reverse the whole thing if not handled correctly. More on exemptions and third party claims here.

The upshot: Levies are simple in concept, but get complex very fast,  when slippery debtors and their lawyers get involved, and big money is at stake. Los Angeles Collection Lawyers since 2011, The Evanns Collection Law Firm has been enforcing judgments for years and knows the ins and outs of the levy process. Phone calls are always free and no obligation. Call now at 213-292-6888.

*: Additional defenses and legal issues come into play when levying on debtor spouse money. Consult a collection lawyer or family law lawyer before trying this.