civil UNIT fAQS

Tell me about the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Civil Unit.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, Court Services Division, was established in October of 1996. There are 2 Civil Unit Offices to serve you in the county. Each office is fully staffed to serve you four (4) days a week from 7:30 am to 5:00pm. We are a full service operation, from a complete business levy to the service of a small claims action and everything in between. Our staff looks forward to serving your needs.

Can I collect my judgment with all the fees associated with the judgment?

Yes, you can collect associated costs (court fees & sheriff fees). You cannot collect for time off from work to pursue the collection.

How long is my judgment good for?

Your Judgment is good for ten (10) years with an extension for ten (10) more years.

Is the Sheriff's Civil Unit the same as the Marshal's Office?

Yes, in California the Sheriff, Marshal & Constable can enforce all civil judgments issued by any court.

Does a Writ issued to enforce a judgment require that the county that is to do the enforcement be named?

Yes, the writ must be addressed to the county that is to enforcement the judgment.

Can I drop my civil papers off at any Sheriff's office for service?

Yes & No. Yes, you can drop your civil papers at any one of the 2 Civil Unit offices. No, you cannot leave civil papers at Patrol offices for service.

Who sets the fees for service cost?

The fees are set by the California State Assembly and subject to change every Jan. 1st.

When will my civil papers be served?

The Civil Bureau attempts to serve every civil paper received within 24 hours.

Can the Sheriff's Civil Unit guarantee the paper will be served?

No, we can not make a guarantee that every civil paper received will be served. There are reasons why we can't serve every paper. The person(s) may move, or there is not enough time for service or for a host of other reasons.

What are the working days and hours of the Civil Unit?

Each Civil Unit office is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30am to 4:30pm. Our deputies attempt service of process from 6:30am until 6:00pm on a random basis throughout the week.

How many attempts does the Civil Unit make, before they return my civil papers Not Found or No Service?

We make at least 3 attempts ( morning , afternoon and evening ) on different days.

After I have a judgment against someone, what are some of the different ways I can use to collect on it?

You can do a :

  1. Earnings Withholding Order - attach employee's payroll
  2. Bank Garnishment - attach funds held in a savings or checking account
  3. Vehicle Levy - attach a defendants vehicle and sell it at an auction

What is a Till Tap?

The Civil Unit goes into a business to recover your judgment by removing the funds from the business cash register.

What is a business levy?

In a business levy, the Civil Unit goes into a business to recover your judgment by taking over the business inventory and conducting an auction to recover the funds.

What is a three (3) day notice?

A three (3) day notice is used to remind your renters that they are past due on paying their monthly rent. The official name of the notice is 3 DAY NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT.

Can a three (3) day notice & thirty (30) day notice be served at the same time?

Yes. If you really want the rental property back, the 3 day notice will get your past due moneys and let the tenant know they have only 30 days of rental time left before they must move.

Notice regarding legal proceedings

Section 24004 of the Government Code prohibits the Sheriff or Marshal and there staff to practice law or assist in the preparation of legal document.


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