Civil Unit
920 Mellus St.
Martinez, CA  94553
Civil: (925) 313-4200


BANK LEVY
The Sheriff will only serve a bank levy if you have a court ordered fee waiver or if you are an in-custody inmate and able to pay the Sheriff's fee.  All other bank levies must be served by a Registered Process Server. You must submit written, signed instructions to the process server to deliver to the Sheriff with your writ. The Sheriff charges $35.00 for each bank to be served. If noted on your Notice of Levy http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/fillable/ej150.pdf the bank will also levy on any safe deposit box in the name of the debtor/defendant.

The bank is required to respond to the Sheriff with a completed Memorandum of Garnishee http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/documents/at167.pdf within 15 days after the levy is served. If the bank fails to respond, it is up to you to make inquires to the bank on why they did not respond to the levy. The bank's Memorandum of Garnishee should state how much money, if any, is in the account and whether or not a safe deposit box was located. Once the Sheriff received the Memorandum of Garnishee from the bank, it will be mailed to you. If the bank determines that a safe deposit box is also under the levy, the Sheriff will send you a letter required by California Code of Civil Procedures § 700.150. Additional fees will be required to seize the contents of the safe deposit box.

BANKRUPTCY
To check on the status of a bankruptcy filing in the Northern District of California (Oakland), call the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Voice Case Information System at 1-888-457-0604. 

CLAIM AND DELIVERY
The following documents are required on a pre-judgment Writ of Possession - Claim and Delivery: the original writ and two copies, two copies of the Order for Writ of Possession, one copy of the undertaking or bond (if required by the Order for Writ of Possession), and signed instructions that describe the property to be levied upon and list the location of the property. The fee for a Claim and Delivery on an automobile is $1,000.00. For other personal property, please email cococivil@so.cccounty.us and describe the property to be levied on.

CLAIM OF EXEMPTION

If your wages are garnished, you may file a Claim of Exemption (Wage Garnishment). Your claim of exemption may be filed with the Sheriff at any time during the wage garnishment period. Submit one original signed claim form and two copies, and one original signed financial statement and two copies.  

For all other enforcement of judgment actions, i.e., bank levy, automobile levy, property seizure; use the Claim of Exemption (Enforcement of Judgment) form. http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/fillable/ej160.pdf Your claim of exemption must be filed with the Sheriff within 15 days of the date the levy was mailed to you. If the levy was personally served on you, you have ten days from the date of service to file a claim of exemption with the Sheriff. Submit one original signed claim form and two copies, with or without the financial form and copies.

A claim of exemption for a levy under a writ of attachment must be filed with the court pursuant to CCP § 482.100(c).

EARNINGS WITHHOLDING ORDER
The Sheriff does not serve earnings withholding orders (wage garnishments) unless the judgment creditor is incarcerated, has a court ordered fee waiver, or the garnishment is for a federal or U.S. Postal Service employee. You must contact a Registered Process Server to serve your garnishment.
 
Application for Earnings Withholding Order: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/fillable/98251.pdf

EVICTION

**Effective December 1, 2014**
All Instructions MUST be completed on the Office of the Sheriff, Contra Costa County - Civil Unit form located below:

Click here for "Eviction" form


To complete an eviction we require the original writ, Sheriff's fee, and a signed Contra Costa County Sheriff letter of instruction for eviction located above. All cancellations must be done in writing by the plaintiff and can be submitted via fax 925-313-4220 or email to cococivil@so.cccounty.us. Cancellation requests will not be taken over the phone. Please also see (What to expect on the day of eviction).

KEEPER LEVY

Click here for "Keeper Levy" form

A civil keeper is a contract employee of the Sheriff's Office who remains in a business to ensure that business assets are not removed. Keepers also collect cash proceeds from the sale of business assets.

  • The fee for the Sheriff to place a keeper in a business for 8 hours or less is $280.00

  • The fee for the Sheriff to place a keeper for 48 hours is $2,500.00 (usually associated with seize and sell actions)

If the Sheriff is unable to place the keeper because the address or business does not exist, the business is owned by someone other than the judgment debtor, or the business is located in a private place, the Sheriff will charge a $70 fee. Occasionally, the judgment debtor may refuse to cooperate with the levy and may close the business for the day.

PERSONAL PROPERTY LEVY

MOTOR VEHICLE LEVIES

The fee to levy on a motor vehicle is $1,500.00. Large trucks and other non-standard vehicles require a larger fee deposit. If the Department of Motor Vehicles lists a legal owner, you must pay off the legal owner prior to the Sheriff selling the motor vehicle. It the vehicle is the sole vehicle of the judgment debtor, the debtor is entitled to an automatic exemption of $2,725.00 pursuant to CCP § 704.010 if the vehicle is sold by the Sheriff. If there is a legal owner and an automatic exemption, the debtor's equity in the vehicle should exceed both amounts unless the judgment creditor is willing to purchase the vehicle for more than its value.

PERSONAL PROPERTY LEVY WHEN THE PROPERTY IS IN THE POSSESSION OF A THIRD PARTY
To levy on personal property in the possession of a third party (non-debtor), the Sheriff will serve the third party with the levy and makes a demand that the property be turned over to the Sheriff. The Sheriff may not seize personal property from anyone other than the judgment debtor. If the third party allows the Sheriff to take possession of the property, additional fees may be required for the Sheriff to take and store the property.

PERSONAL PROPERTY LEVY UNDER A WRIT OF POSSESSION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
The fee for the Sheriff to levy and seize personal property under a writ of possession is $100. You must meet the Sheriff at the property location and take immediate possession of the property once the Sheriff has seized it from the judgment debtor. A writ of possession and a writ of execution require different actions. Both writs are issued on the same form.

UNDER A WRIT OF POSSESSION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY

The fee for the Sheriff to levy and seize personal property under a writ of possession is $100. You must meet the Sheriff at the property location and take immediate possession of the property once the Sheriff has seized it from the judgment debtor. A writ of possession and a writ of execution require different actions. Both writs are issued on the same form.

PERSONAL PROPERTY LOCATED IN A PRIVATE PLACE
A court order directing the Sheriff to enter a private place is required for the Sheriff to seize personal property in a dwelling or secured business or yard.

OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY
To levy on inventory or equipment of a going business, please see KEEPER LEVY HELP. For all other personal property levy, email cococivil@so.cccounty.us.

PROCESS SERVER 

You may search for process servers throughout Contra Costa County by using  


REAL PROPERTY LEVY

Click here for "Real Property Levy" form

Levy requirements are covered in the Sheriff's instructions form shortcut above.

There are four basic types of real property levies:

  1. Levy under a writ of execution on real property that contains a dwelling (as defined by CCP § 704.710): This type of levy is governed by CCP § 704.720 through 704.850. The attorney for the judgment creditor or judgment creditor acting without an attorney must file an Application for Order for Sale of Dwelling with the Sheriff and the court within 25 days after the Sheriff mails out notice. Failure to file the application in the proper format and within the time allowed will result in the Sheriff releasing the real property levy. If the court determines that the real property contains a homestead, the minimum the Sheriff can sell the real property for is 90% of the fair market value. (CCP § 704.800). Due to code requirements, the Sheriff may not sell the real property until five months after the levy.
  2. Levy under writ of execution on real property that does not contain a dwelling (as defined by CCP § 704.710): This type of levy is governed by CCP § 700.015 and § 701.540. There is no requirement to obtain a court order to sell the property. Due to code requirements, the Sheriff may not sell the real property until five months after the levy.
  3. Levy under writ of sale on real property. This type of levy requires a certified copy of the judgment for sale (CCP § 716.010) to be delivered to the Sheriff along with the original writ. This type of levy is governed by the judgment order.
  4. Levy under writ of attachment on real property creates a three-year lien on the real property. This type of levy is governed by CCP § 488.315 and the property is not sold. If the writ is issued ex-parte, instructions must inform the Sheriff that the summons and complaint has been served or will be served by a process server, or the instructions must direct the Sheriff to serve the summons and complaint pursuant to CCP § 488.020(c).

Time line for Real Property Levy
Initially, the Sheriff, or Registered Process Server, records the levy, mails notice to debtor(s), serves the occupant of the real property or posts notice on real property, and mails a letter to attorney or creditor without attorney requesting additional information.

  1. The following three steps (a, b, c) apply only if the real property contains a dwelling:
    1. Within 25 days after the request letter is mailed by the Sheriff, the creditor must file a copy of the Application for Order for Sale of Dwelling with the court AND the Sheriff. The court date for the hearing on the application must not be more than 45 days after the application is filed. CCP § 704.750

    2. The creditor must arrange for the application for order for sale of dwelling to be served on the debtor and occupant no later than 30 days prior to the hearing. CCP § 704.770

    3. If the judgment debtor does not show up to the hearing on the application, a second chance notice must be served on the debtor. CCP § 704.790

  2. Lien Holders: The Sheriff requires a list of ALL lien holders that were of record the day the levy was recorded . The lien holder list may not be determined until 30 days after the date of levy (701.540(h). The Sheriff does not actually require the lien holder list until it is time to prepare a sale notice.

  3. Sale Notice: The Sheriff cannot prepare a sale notice until 125 days after the notice of levy was mailed to the debtor. CCP § 701.545


    1. Postpone Sale: The Sheriff requires a signed stipulation between the judgment creditor and the judgment debtor to postpone the sale. The judgment debtor's signature must be notarized. The creditor may cancel the sale at any time.

    2. Sale: The judgment creditor may credit his or her judgment as a bid for the real property. (CCP 701.590)

For additional information regarding real property levies, please email cococivil@so.cccounty.us.

THIRD PARTY CLAIM
Click here for "Third Party Claim" form

There is no Judicial Council form for filing a third party claim. A third party claim may be filed on pleading paper or on plain white paper. There are two types of third party claims, a Claim of Ownership or Possession when you claim ownership of the property claimed, or a Claim of Security Interest or Lien when you have a security interest in the property claimed. You may not file a third party claim of security interest on a real property levy. The Third Party Claim must contain the requirements outlined in California Code of Civil Procedures § 720.130 and 720.230 http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

  • You must submit the original signed claim and two copies of the claim to the Sheriff.

The claim must include:

  • The title of the case, i.e., Jones vs. Smith
  • The court case number
  • The Sheriff's file number (not a requirement but it helps speed up processing your claim)
  • The name and address of the person making the claim (the address must be within California)

If the claim is for ownership, you must include:

  • The statement "This claim is for ownership of property pursuant to CCP § 720.110"
  • A description of the property claimed
  • A description of the interest claimed, including a statement of the facts upon which the claim is based
  • An estimate of the market value of the interest claimed
  • A copy of any writing upon which the claim is based shall be attached to the third-party claim.  At a hearing on the third-party claim, the court, in its discretion, may exclude from evidence any information not included in the original written claim.  CCP § 720.130

At a hearing on the third-party claim, the court in its discretion may exclude from evidence any writing a copy of which was not attached to the third-party claim.

If the claim is for a security interest or lien, you must include:

  • The statement "This claim is for a security interest or lien pursuant to CCP § 720.210"
  • A description of the personal property in which a security interest or lien is claimed
  • A detailed description of the security interest or lien claimed, including a statement of the facts upon which it is based
  • A statement of the total amount of sums due or to accrue under the security interest or lien and the applicable rate of interest on amounts due
  • A copy of the security agreement and any financing statement shall be attached to the third-party claim. In the case of a lien, a copy of any writing upon which the claim is based shall be attached to the third-party claim. At a hearing on the third-party claim, the court in its discretion may exclude from evidence any writing a copy of which was not attached to the third-party claim.  At a hearing on the thrid-party claim, the court, in its discretion, may exclude from evidence any information not included in the original written claim.  CCP § 720.230

The third party claim must be signed under penalty of perjury (CCP § 2015.5)

WRIT OF ATTACHMENT LEVY
Click here for "Instruction for Writ of Attachment" form.
Click here for "Instruction for Real Property Levy" form.

To levy under a writ of attachment, the Sheriff requires the original writ of attachment and 1 copy, 4 copies of the right to attach order, 1 copy of the undertaking or bond, and signed instructions telling the Sheriff the type of levy, who to serve and the address for service. To levy on equipment of a going business pursuant to CCP § 488.375, your must provide the Sheriff with a completed AT-1 form http://www.ss.ca.gov/business/ucc/ra_9_atl1_barcode.pdf. To levy on a vehicle, please complete the DMV Attachment lien form.  A claim of exemption for a levy under a writ of attachment must be filed with the court pursuant to CCP § 482.100(c).

WRIT OF EXECUTION LEVY

Your writ will be rejected by the Sheriff if the interest on line 19(a) exceeds 10%. To properly calculate interest on your writ, take line 15 and multiply it by 0.10 then divide by 365. Do not set your calculator to round numbers up. Your writ of execution is a two sided form. If you have only one side to your writ, it is invalid. To levy under a writ of execution, the Sheriff requires the original writ of execution, and signed instructions describing the property to be levied upon, the method of levy, and the name and address where the levy is to be served.