VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Civil Unit (West County Office)*
800 South Victoria Avenue
Hall of Justice, Room 101
Ventura, CA 93009
* Mail ALL correspondence to this office
Hours of Operation
Office: 8 AM – 4 PM
Phone: 8 AM – 12 PM
and 2 PM – 4 PM
(805) 654-2391 / fax (805) 645-1342
Civil Unit (East County Office)
3855-F Alamo Street
Simi Valley, CA 93063
Office / Phone: 8 AM – 11:30 AM
and 12:30 PM – 4 PM
(805) 582-8015 / fax (805) 582-8028
It is the goal of the Civil Unit to serve all received process in a reasonable and timely manner while maintaining an impartial stance between all parties involved or having an interest in a case.
The Sheriff provides a cost effective, credible service and successfully serves most defendants. However, the case is civil in nature and the Sheriff cannot utilize criminal investigative tactics such as stakeouts or computer inquiries (DMV, arrest records, etc.) to serve process, therefore we cannot guarantee service.
EXECUTION OF ORDERS ISSUED BY THE COURT
The Civil Unit of the Sheriff’s Office receives, serves, and executes all civil processes and orders that are accepted for service in the manner prescribed by law. The law requires that any civil process brought to the Sheriff for service must be valid on its face, issued by a competent authority, and accompanied by adequate legal instructions.
SERVICE AND ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL PROCESSES
We serve civil and criminal arrest warrants. The instructions must state the process to be served, the person or entity to be served, the location for service, and be signed by the attorney of the party or by the party if he has no attorney.
The majority of procedures and laws governing the service and execution of civil processes are covered in the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) . Instruction forms for specific types of levies and service requests can be downloaded from the links below or the FORMS section. Also, there are generally time restrictions regarding the service and enforcement of various types of civil processes that must be adhered to. The fees for service of civil processes are set in accordance with the California Government Code, 26720 et. seq.
OUT OF STATE REQUESTS
All non-enforcement civil process delivered to Ventura County from outside of the State of California will be served if the appropriate fees are filed with the process. We do not accept out-of-state Fee Waivers. You must submit written instructions specifying exactly who to serve and at what physical street address. The Sheriff Department will not conduct investigations to locate persons for service of civil process. We cannot take the information off of court documents nor can we attempt service at post office boxes. If your state requires that the Proof of Service be notarized, you need to state so in your instructions and include a payment of $10.00 per service, per person for notary.
Time sensitive processes and orders must be given to the Civil Unit AT LEAST 10 days prior to the last day of service.
The majority of procedures and laws governing the service and execution of civil processes are covered in the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) . Instruction forms for specific types of levies and service requests can be downloaded from the FORMS section. Also, there are generally time restrictions regarding the service and enforcement of various types of civil processes that must be adhered to. The fees for service of civil processes are set in accordance with the California Government Code, 26720 et. seq.
SELF HELP LINKS
Listed below are common civil processes, orders, levies, and services performed by the Ventura County Sheriff's Civil Division.
Collecting a money judgment can be difficult. You must give the Sheriff specific instructions regarding the type of levy you want. You must know where the defendant works, banks, operates a business, or possibly the make and year of their vehicle. Sheriff's Office employees are forbidden by law to give legal advice, and the following are only general guidelines provided to assist you.
ORDER FOR APPEARANCE
If you are unaware of the defendant's assets or the location of their assets, you may return to the court that issued the judgment and request an ORDER OF APPEARANCE OF JUDGMENT DEBTOR. This order, after being served upon the defendant, requires the defendant to appear in court to answer questions about their assets. If they do not appear, the court will issue a warrant for their arrest. Your instructions for service must contain the defendant's address.
EARNINGS WITHHOLDING ORDER (EWO)
An EARNINGS WITHHOLDING ORDER requires an employer to send to the Sheriff a percentage of the defendant's salary, as specified by law. The monies collected by the defendant's employer are sent to the Sheriff's Office and disbursed as collected, after taking out a $12.00 disbursement fee for handling the monies. This fee amount is then added back into the amount to be collected. Interest will also be added into the amount to be collected. The employer has 15 days to send in an "employer's return." A copy of this will be mailed to the plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney. An EARNINGS WITHHOLDING ORDER remains in effect until the judgment is satisfied in full.
A defendant's bank account may be garnished. The name and address of the bank are required in your instructions to the Sheriff. Most banks will not withhold funds unless the name on the account is exactly the same as it appears on the Writ of Execution. Though not required, the account number may assist the bank in locating the defendant's account.
A vehicle belonging to the defendant and in their possession may be levied upon and sold at public auction. Your instructions to the Sheriff must contain the make, year, license number and location of the vehicle. If the defendant has but one vehicle, he is entitled to an automatic $2,900.00 exemption. This means that the bidding starts at the $2,900.00 exemption, plus monies owed to the lien holder and all costs incurred. If the minimum bid is not received, the vehicle must be returned to the defendant.
TILL TAP LEVY
If the defendant is a business and has a cash till on the premises, you may instruct the Sheriff to execute a "till tap" levy. Monies of the defendant may be removed from the till and paid to you. Instructions to the Sheriff' require the name and address of the defendant's business.
If the defendant is a business and takes in payment for services or merchandise, you may instruct the Sheriff to execute a Keeper Levy. With installation of Sheriff's keeper personnel at the business, business assets and monies received come under the control of the Sheriff. The name on the writ must be exactly the same as the name of the business and the defendant must own the business. The name and address of the business are necessary to complete the instructions.
WRIT OF POSSESSION / REAL PROPERTY “EVICTION WRIT”
A Writ of Possession of Real Property is commonly referred to as the "eviction writ." This writ enables the levying officer to satisfy the judgment by placing the judgment creditor in lawful and peaceful possession of specific land and appurtenant structures. A judgment for possession of real property may result from a tenant's non-payment of rent or a breach of the rental or lease contract. A writ of possession may issue at the conclusion of a civil action for unlawful detainer.
The eviction process must be carried out according to the unlawful detainer laws that govern it. The specific procedures to follow can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. The following eviction scenario is intended only to give an example of the complexities involved in an eviction proceeding and is not to be construed as legal advice.
When a tenant is behind in his/her rent, the landlord can cause to be served upon the tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or quit. Various types of such notices are available at stationary stores. The tenant must be served with a copy of the notice by either personally delivering the notice to the tenant, or posting in a conspicuous place on the property and thereafter mailing the notice to the tenant, postage prepaid, to the tenant's last known address. The lawful method of service of the notice is more particularly described in section 1162 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent or move within the prescribed time, an unlawful detainer action can be filed with the court. The person who served the notice must complete and sign a proof of service for each tenant served. The proof(s) of service must be filed with the court in order to commence a civil action for unlawful detainer. The landlord/plaintiff is required to pay a court filing fee. Many courts provide unlawful detainer packets containing the necessary forms and information for proceeding in the action. The summons and complaint (unlawful detainer) must be lawfully served on the tenant(s). A person over the age of 18 years (who is not a party to the action) may serve the summons on each named tenant(s)/defendant(s). After service has been effected, the original summons and proofs of service must be filed with the court.
After service of the summons and complaint has been effected, the tenant has 5 days to file a written answer to the court. If the tenant files his/her answer, the court clerk sets the day and time for a court hearing on the matter. If the tenant does not file his/her written response with the court within 5 days from service, the plaintiff may request a default judgment be entered. When a judgment is entered in favor of the landlord, whether entered after trial, stipulation or by a default, the landlord may request the court issue a writ of possession of real property. The writ may only be enforced by a levying officer (Sheriff or Marshal).
In Ventura County, the original and four photocopies of the writ may be delivered to the appropriate Sheriff's Civil office for enforcement. Our office must receive signed written instructions from the judgment creditor's attorney of record, or from the judgment creditor if he/she has no attorney. Use the "Evictions" form for this type of process. The appropriate fee for executing the writ must also be provided. Our personnel will serve the tenant(s) with a copy of the writ and a 5-day notice to vacate. You will be notified of the date and time the eviction is to take place. You, or your designated agent, must meet the Deputy at the location at the date and time of the scheduled lockout. You should arrive about 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Be prepared to wait up to one hour for the deputy to arrive. Difficulties that occur during previous evictions will occasionally create unforeseen delays to the deputy's arrival. Remain visible to the responding deputy... but do not approach the residence. When you see the Sheriff's car arrive, approach and identify yourself to the deputy. The landlord is required to provide access to the premises by either key or locksmith. After the landlord has been placed into possession of the premises, it is recommended the locks be changed to prevent re-entry by the former tenants.
The deputy will remove the occupants and provide the landlord with a signed restoration notice. This document serves as proof that possession has lawfully been restored to the landlord. Should the former tenant(s) return to the premises without your permission, you should contact your local police or sheriff patrol station to report a trespass is occurring. Be prepared to show the restoration document to the responding law enforcement officer.
If the occupants vacate the premises prior to the scheduled lockout, and you wish to cancel the formal lockout procedure, we will accept your cancellation via facsimile. Cancellations by telephone will require subsequent written/signed instructions to cancel. By doing so, additional time slots become available that will expedite pending enforcement tasks.
Writ of Sale
A Writ of Sale is issued for the purpose of selling specific real or personal property. It is most commonly used to enforce a judicial foreclosure of a mortgage, deed or lien. The property is sold in conformance with the judgment for sale of the property. A writ of sale delivered to the levying officer must be accompanied by a certified copy of the judgment for sale.
We understand that you are eager to remain abreast of the status of your case. Once you have left your case for processing however, please be patient. You will be informed when we have information for you. In the case of a bank or wage levy, you will receive a copy of the bank or employer's answer. In the case of a vehicle, till tap or keeper, you will be informed by phone.
THE ABOVE IS ONLY A GUIDE, AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. FURTHER, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE OR WARRANTY AS TO THE CURRENCY OF THE INFORMATION PRESENTED
CIVIL UNIT FEE SCHEDULE - COST OF SERVICES
Note: All downloadable forms have been converted to the ".pdf" file format. To view and print this file format you must have the client software product "Adobe Acrobat Reader". This software is FREE and can be downloaded from Adobe's Website.
Provides a form allowing you to instruct the
Sheriff's Civil Unit as to the service of small claims,
summons & complaint, notices, civil bench warrants, and other types of legal actions.
Provides a form allowing you to instruct the
Sheriff's Civil Unit regarding the service of an eviction notice.
Provides a form allowing you to instruct the Sheriff's Civil Unit regarding a levy on a bank account or funds in possession of a third party.
Provides a form allowing you to instruct the Sheriff's
Civil Unit regarding service on a defendant's business
by using "till tap" process, a "keeper installation," or
a "levy and sell."
Personal property and vehicle(s) of the judgment debtor may be levied upon under a writ of attachment, writ of possessions (claim and deliver), writ of execution, or a writ of possession of personal property. The judgment creditor's instructions must specifically describe the property/vehicle(s), and the location where the property/vehicle(s) will be found, in such detail that no other property/vehicle(s) could reasonably be mistaken for the property/vehicle(s) to be levied upon.
The judgment debtor's interest in real property (real estate) may be levied upon and sold under a writ of execution to satisfy a money judgment. The judgment creditor must supply an adequate description of the property (both a legal description and common street address, if any); whether the debtor has a leasehold interest, and whether the property contains a dwelling or is vacant land. The instructions must also include the names and addresses of all other persons having an interest in the property as indicated by records of the county assessor.
Effective January 1, 2014, Code of Civil Procedure Section 687.010 changed relating to writs issued electronically by the court. This change affects the requirements on the instructions given to the Levying Officer when accompanied by a writ that was issued electronically.
The Civil Unit will accept the following writs issued electronically by a California Superior Court:
- Writ of Execution (Money Judgment)
- Writ of Possession of Real Property (Eviction)
- Writ of Possession of Personal Property
- Writ of Sale
The Civil Unit has created the Electronic / Traditional Writ Declaration form that can be used as an attachment to any levy instructions when accompanied by an electronically-issued writ. If you choose not to utilize the form, your instructions must meet the requirements set forth in CCP 687.010(e).
In addition, the Electronic / Traditional Writ Declaration form may also be used for all additional service requests when the original writ—regardless of the manner of its issuance— is already on file with the Civil Division.
Tell me about the Ventura County Sheriff's Civil Unit.
The Ventura County Sheriff's Office, Court Services Division, has two Civil Unit Offices to serve you. 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.
Our West County Office is in Room 101 of the Hall of Justice at the Government Center. The office is open Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 4 PM, and can be reached by phone, 8 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 4 PM, at (805) 654-2391. ALL CORRESPONDENCE SHOULD BE MAILED TO THIS OFFICE.
Our East County office is located in the Simi Valley Courts building. The office is open Monday and Tuesday, 8 AM – 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM – 4 PM, and, during those hours, can be reached by phone at (805) 582-8015. The office is closed Wednesday - Friday.
**Notice regarding legal proceedings**
Section 24004 of the Government Code prohibits the Sheriff or Marshal and their staff to practice law or assist in the preparation of legal document.
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, if renewed.
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 two 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.
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.
How many attempts does the Civil Unit make, before they return my civil papers Not Found or No Service?
Generally, 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 the following:
Earnings Withholding Order - attach employee's payroll
Bank Garnishment - attach funds held in a savings or checking account
Vehicle Levy - attach a defendant's 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 restraining order?
It is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or harassment.
What are the different types of restraining orders?
There are four different types of restraining orders available to the public.
- Family restraining orders cover persons seeking TRO’s against family members or those involved in marriage, dating or shared parentage relationships. For more information, click here.
- Civil restraining orders deal with civil matters, neighbor disputes, and general harassment issues. For more information, click here.
- Elder abuse/Dependant adult restraining orders are for those who are either over 65, or classified as a dependant adult. As a result of their age or status, they are being physically, financially or emotionally abused. For more information, click here.
- Workplace violence restraining orders cover harassment and violence at the workplace. For more information, click here.
How much does a restraining order cost?
Typically, court filing fees for restraining orders are $355.00. However, in instances where violence or stalking has occurred, the fees are waived. Also, if you cannot afford to pay the fees, they can be waived.
The fee for the Sheriff’s Civil Unit to serve your order is $40.00. Again, these fees are waived if violence, stalking or an inability to pay exists.
Where can I get the forms?
You can get the forms at three different locations throughout Ventura County:
Ventura Superior Court
800 S Victoria Ave
Simi Valley Courthouse
3855-F Alamo St
Juvenile Justice Courthouse
4353 Vineyard Ave
Oxnard (El Rio)