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Is a Sheriff deputy allowed to use a ruse to get the debtor to bring her car on her own ?

Sacramento, CA |

If a judgment debtor had reported somebody to the sheriff's criminal division. Is a deputy from the civil division, who has been asked by a judgment creditor to levy on the debtor's car, allowed to use a ruse, such as calling her and asking her to come sign some paperwork related to "pressing charges" on that guy she reported? And, when she shows up, confiscate her keys and car ?

If so, can a judgment credit instruct the deputy to use that ruse and, if the ruse doesn't work, don't try to go to her house and risk incurring expenses without finding the car ?

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Attorney answers 3


The facts of your posting are very specific. However, in a very different context and a jurisdiction far away, sheriffs deputies in one of my jurisdictions call people who have outstanding bench warrants and pose as people selling electronic and computer equipment at bargain basement prices and it works every time, even though the local newpapers have put the results on the front pages.

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.


Do not drive or operate heavy machinery when you are under the influence. Your dream is absolutely wacko. The Sheriff will not use a ruse. It is illegal to use the threat (true or false) of criminal prosecution in order to collect a civil judgment.

You cannot order her to turn over the keys. You will need to pay your locksmith to do that. Also, since there is an exemption applicable to the car, you will probably need to post $2,750 to pay her before the Sheriff will start any vehicle levy.

You cannot instruct the Sheriff to use any ruse of any kind.


I think the sherriff could use a pretext, I don't think the creditor can ask for that. Seems unlikely the civil division would know about your criminal complaint.

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