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What Happens After a Default Judgment in California?

When a debtor in California fails to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, he or she faces the prospect of a default judgment. Essentially, a default judgment means that the debtor loses the case, and he or she must pay the debt owed to the debt collector. This applies even if the debtor doesn’t actually owe the debt. In other words, when a person receives notice of a debt collection lawsuit and fails to properly respond the court, they lose the chance to fight the debt. In this article, we discuss what happens after a default judgement in California.  

Ways to Collect Following a Default Judgment 

Following a default judgment in California, a debt collector has several options available to collect the outstanding debt, including levying a bank account, garnishing wages, performing a till tap levy, and carrying out a keeper levy.

Bank Account Levy

A common way to collect a debt following a default judgment is to levy a bank account. Levying a bank account involves removing funds directly from a debtor’s bank account. 

Garnish Wages

Another option available following a default judgment is to garnish a debtor’s wages. In California, up to 25 percent of a debtor’s wages may be garnished if certain conditions are met. Specifically, garnishment may be an option if:

  • The debtor isn’t self-employed
  • The debtor isn’t subject to other garnishments
  • Payments are collected sequentially
  • The debtor isn’t an active member of the military or a federal employee 
  • The debtor’s pay is above the poverty line 

Till Tap Levy

A till tap is a method by which a levying officer visits a business and gathers all checks and cash from the register. 

Keeper Levy

Finally, following a default judgment, the court may issue a keeper levy, which sends a law enforcement officer to a business for several hours to collect all checks and cash paid to the business. 

The Bottom Line

Each of the above methods results in a debt collector obtaining funds from the debtor in a debt collection case. However, each of these outcomes may be avoided by responding to a debt collection lawsuit promptly after its receipt. By failing to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, it is practically guaranteed that the court will issue a default judgment in the debt collector’s favor. 

Contact a Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney 

If you have been sued by a debt collector in California, you must act fast. At the Fullman Firm, our California debt collection lawsuit defense attorneys are here to provide you with an aggressive defense against your debt collection lawsuit. When you come to us for help with your debt collection lawsuit, we will guide you through the legal process and do everything possible to obtain a successful result on your behalf. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.