What Are the Primary Means of Enforcing Arizona Judgments?

What Are the Primary Means of Enforcing Arizona Judgments?

Monetary judgments are civil court decisions involving some sort of monetary award or penalty. Ideally, the losing party in a civil lawsuit would immediately pay what is owed and be done with it. But that is not how things usually work out. When debtors fail to voluntarily pay up, creditors are forced to take enforcement actions.

How creditors can go about enforcing their judgments depends on state law. Each of the states does things according to its own statutes. In Arizona, creditors do not have as many options as some other states. They are limited to two primary options: the Writ of Garnishment and the Writ of Execution. In cases involving motor vehicle accidents, there is a third option in the Motor Vehicle Division Lien.

The remainder of this post will look at all three options in more detail. As you read, bear in mind that Judgment Collectors is a collection agency that specializes in judgments. Helping clients collect unpaid judgments is all we do. We would be more than happy to take a look at any outstanding judgments you are currently struggling to collect.

1. Writ of Garnishment

In Arizona, the Writ of Garnishment is a legal order giving the judgment creditor the authority to seize a certain amount of the debtor’s income in cash assets. Writs of Garnishment can be applied to wages or bank accounts. However, creditors are limited in terms of the amount they can garnish.

A general rule for garnishing wages is taking 15%-25% of the debtor’s total earnings for a given pay period, at least according to Pima County, AZ. But the county also says that there is a hard limit on the amount a creditor can garnish from wages.

In terms of garnishing cash from a bank account, a financial institution can be served with a Writ of Garnishment just like an employer. Creditors cannot take the first $150 from a debtor’s bank account. Everything after that is up for grabs. Note that both financial institutions and employers can be called to court if they fail to comply with a Writ of Garnishment

2. Writ of Execution

A Writ of Execution goes above and beyond the Writ of Garnishment to go after nonexempt assets. Arizona statutes exempt certain types of assets including household goods and home equity. Any nonexempt assets are available to the creditor for seizure and sale.

After obtaining a Writ of Execution, a creditor can go to the local constable with a list of property to be seized. The constable executes the writ, seizes the property, sells it, and forwards the proceeds to the creditor.

As a side note, this is the very reason Judgment Collectors puts so much time and effort into searching for unreported property. Certain types of assets are valuable enough to cover significant judgment awards. Identifying property is a good way to motivate debtors to pay what they owe.

3. Motor Vehicle Division Lien

As previously stated, judgments rendered as a result of motor vehicle accidents are subject to the Motor Vehicle Division Lien. If such a judgment is not paid within 60 days, the creditor can file to have the debtor’s driver’s license suspended until the debt is paid in full. Creditors must provide proof of the judgment and non-satisfaction before license suspension occurs.

If all of this seems like too much for you to deal with, no worries. As Arizona judgment collection specialists, we might be able to step in and take the case for you. Contact us to learn more about turning your unpaid judgment over to our team.