Writs of Execution are orders issued by the District Court directing the Sheriff to satisfy a judgment. It must be directed to the Sheriff of the county in which the assets to satisfy the judgment are located and they must be for personal or real property. See Minnesota Statutes Chapter 550 for details.
A Writ of Execution is valid for 180 days after it is issued. The judgment on which it is based is usually good for 10 years and can be renewed by additional court action.
It is the responsibility of the judgment creditor to locate assets belonging to the judgment debtor which can be levied upon (seized) to satisfy the judgment. The most common procedures are wage levies and financial institution levies.
To conduct a wage levy
The creditor must provide an original plus a copy of the Writ of Execution directed to the Sheriff where the debtor works. The judgment creditor or the creditor's attorney must endorse this Writ.
Cost: $80 deposit plus a check for $15 made payable to the debtor's employer. This check will be given to the employer when the wage levy is served.
In computing the amount to be collected, the Sheriff's Office will include the amount of the judgment, additional costs, $15 employer's fee, and the deposit. If the judgment is only partially satisfied, the Sheriff's commission on the amount collected and the service fees will be deducted from the amount collected.
If for some reason no money is collected, the Sheriff's service fees will be deducted from the deposit.
The creditor is also required to send an exemption notice (see forms) to the debtor at least 10 days prior to commencing the levy. The creditor will be asked to indicate the date notice was given to the debtor on the levy service sheet.
Wage levies are conducted for a 70-day period, after which the employer will send a check to the Sheriff's Office. If the check is insufficient to satisfy the judgment, the Sheriff's Office will inform you by mail of the amount collected.
If you request a second levy, all money collected after that will be processed and a check issued to the creditor. If it is not enough to satisfy the judgment, the creditor must obtain a new Writ of Execution and request the Sheriff to start the levy again.
To conduct a financial institution levy
Cost: $80 deposit plus a $15 check made payable to the financial institution.
The name on the account must be the same as the name of the judgment debtor on the Writ of Execution or the financial institution will not honor it. It is possible to levy on a joint account.
Other types of levies
It's possible to levy on other items, including vehicles, boats, snowmobiles and recreational vehicles. Deposit amounts required to cover seizure and storage costs vary depending upon the action requested by the judgment creditor, so please contact our office for a deposit amount prior to planning this type of levy.
It's recommended you read Minnesota State Statutes Chapter 550 for more information, particularly exemptions to levy. Sheriff's Office staff can discuss a particular situation with you, but you are advised to consult an attorney if you have legal questions.
Non-homestead real property may also be levied upon and sold. This is a complex procedure and should be discussed with an attorney.
A judgment rendered by a state court outside Minnesota or a federal court is considered a foreign judgment.
The Dakota County Sheriff's Office is unable to act on a foreign judgment. A certified copy of the foreign judgment must be filed with the Office of the Court Administrator so that it may have the same effect as a judgment issued by the Dakota County District Court. See Minnesota Statutes 548.26, 548.27 and 548.28.