If you lose a debt collection lawsuit in California, the debt collector typically has several options available to settle the debt you owe. For example, a debt collector may be able to garnish your wages and other assets to satisfy the debt. However, there are limits to what a debt collector may do to collect on debt following a successful debt collection lawsuit. In this article, we examine whether a debt collector can take your car.
If you let the debt collector have a judgment, the debt collector, also known as a judgment creditor, can take funds from your bank account in what is called a bank levy. A bank levy places a freeze on your bank account and allows the debt collector to draw from it to settle the judgment against you. You can file a claim of exemption to fight this, but you won’t have access to the money in your bank account while you pursue your claim of exemption.
The debt collector with a judgment against you may ask a county sheriff to take a part of your paycheck. This is called wage garnishment. When a court permits a debt collector to garnish your wages, 75% of your income (after tax) is protected, leaving the other 25% open to garnishment. You can file a claim of exemption to fight this, but your checks may continue to be garnished while you pursue your claim of exemption.
Seizure of Personal Property
Although the most common forms of judgment collection are wage garnishment and bank levy (as discussed above), a debt collector can also ask a county sheriff to take personal possessions, such as a car, motorcycle, boat, or expensive jewelry. The property will be sold and the funds from the sale used to pay down the balance on the judgment. Although this is worrisome to contemplate, whether a debt collector takes your vehicle depends on several factors. An important factor affecting whether a debt collector takes your vehicle is its resale value. There are costs involved in making and selling the vehicle, leaving less for the debt collector to keep. If your car isn’t worth much money, it may not be worth the debt collector’s time to pursue it. However, if your car is valuable and in good shape, and if you have more than one car, there is a very real possibility that a judgment creditor will take it and sell it. Therefore, if you are at risk of losing your vehicle due to a debt collection lawsuit in California, you should contact a California debt collection lawsuit attorney as soon as possible. You can file a claim of exemption to fight this, but you might not have access to the car or other property while you pursue your claim of exemption.
Debtor Examination (Examination Under Oath)
Before trying to take your personal property the debt collector may ask the court to order you to answer questions in person, at the courthouse, about your finances and the things you own (assets). If you are served with a formal notice of an examination under oath, it means the debt collector is thinking of increasing its efforts to collect. Contact a California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney.
Contact a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney
If you’re facing a debt collection lawsuit in California, you need an experienced California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney in your corner. At the Fullman Firm, our debt collection lawsuit defense lawyers have years of experience fighting for the rights of consumers. When you come to us for assistance with your debt collection case, we will use our considerable knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process while working towards a successful outcome. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.