RESTITUTION

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This information is intended for informational purposes only.  You may wish to seek the advice of an attorney. When a defendant is no longer on probation, or when the defendant is a minor or has been paroled from prison, the government no longer has the jurisdiction to collect restitution on your behalf.

It is possible that the full recovery of your loss cannot be gained through the collection efforts of the Criminal Court. 

 If a defendant was ordered to pay restitution to you, that order is fully enforceable as if it were a civil judgment.  (Penal Code § 1214)  As a victim, you have access to all resources available under the law

Criminal Restitution is a permanent order that does not expire and cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. (Penal Code § 1214(d)).

The Defendant can be ordered to reimburse you for expenses incurred, but you must file a Memorandum of Cost After Judgment (Form MC-012) to recover these expenses.

The first step in collecting your restitution is to file an Order for Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Form CR-110) with the court.  A completed CR-110 can be obtained from the Restitution Unit by request.

A completed CR-110 must be filed at the courthouse from which the original restitution order was granted.  Take the CR-110, a written request from you for a certified copy to be mailed to you, and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Civil Window at the court.  There will be a processing fee due at that time.  The original is filed with the court and the copy will be mailed to you once it has been reviewed and signed by the judge.

Once you have filed the CR-110, the restitution order is referred to as a Judgment, you are considered a Plaintiff or Judgment Creditor, and the Defendant may also be referred to as the Judgment Debtor.

A victim may obtain the assistance of a judgment collection service or a collections attorney to pursue collections personally.

If you do not know if the judgment debtor is employed or owns any property, you can request him/her to answer specially prepared interrogatories (questions) regarding his/her financial situation using Form Interrogatories – Crime Victim Restitution Form CR-200).

The Form Interrogatories are served upon the judgment debtor through the mail. Proof of service (Form FL-3335) is required.  The debtor has 30 days to respond.  If no response is received, you may wish to seek legal assistance in asking the court to issue a “Compel To Answer.”

Once you have determined what the debtor’s assets are, you can proceed with collecting your judgment. The Small Claims Advisory Program is available to assist you in filling out the above forms.

Internet Search: The Internet offers an effective method for debtor discovery.  Many counties have links that allow for public records search online.  Online services are available, providing professional investigative services specializing in the discovery of assets and finding people throughout the United States.  (Internet search:  “Asset Discovery”)

Court Records: If the defendant was previously involved in a lawsuit, has gone through a divorce proceeding or was a party to a child support action, the court file could contain information about the defendant’s assets.  Court files are public record and you may request to review the file from the records division of the Civil or Family Court.

If the Offender Is a Juvenile:  The parent or guardian is presumed to be jointly and severally liable for the restitution owed.  (Welfare & Institutions Code § 730.7)  This liability is rebuttable and is subject to the limitations outlined in Civil Code §§ 1714.1 and 1714.3.

Take the certified copy of the CR-110 and a completed Document Cover Sheet (available at the Recorder’s Office and their website) along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office.  Contact the recorder’s office for current fees.  Once recorded, the CR-110 will be mailed to you.  You may also record the CR-110 with other counties in California; however their procedures and fees may vary.

A lien is a legal claim against the defendant’s property.  Recording the Order For Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Form # CR-110/JV-790) with the County Recorder’s Office constitutes an automatic lien against any current or future real property the defendant may own.  Obtaining a lien gives your judgment priority and allows you to get paid the amount of the restitution before the defendant can sell, refinance, or transfer real property.  The CR-110/JV-790 should be recorded in any county in which the defendant may own real property.

For liens against the defendant’s business assets, it may be possible to file a statewide lien on personal property.  To do so, contact the California Secretary of State for information on filing a judgment Lien (Form # JL-1) at (916) 653-3516.  The form is also available on the Secretary of State’s website (see: California Business Portal/Uniform Commercial Code section)

Wage Garnishment (earnings withholding order, form # 982.5(2))

A wage garnishment is a method to collect a portion of the defendant’s wages directly from his employer. A maximum of 25% of the defendant’s earnings above $700.00 per month may be attached. (see: Wage Garnishment Law, California Code of Civil Procedure § 706.010).  Forms and instructions are available at the California Judicial Council website

Paperwork you need

Certified copy of the Writ of Execution, an Application for Earnings Withholding Order Wage Garnishment (form 982.5(1)) and a check to cover the state-mandated service fee.

Writs of Execution (form # EJ-130)

A Writ of Execution allows the victim to attach the defendant’s income or personal assets.  To obtain a Writ of Execution you must do the following:

  • Obtain the Writ of Execution Form from the Court Records Division or from the Judicial Council website
  • Complete the form
  • Pay the fee and file the form with the Court Records Division of the Sentencing Court.

Once you have obtained the Writ of Execution, it must be delivered to the Levying Officer (County Sheriff or Marshal) with instructions identifying which property to levy. A fee is required.  A levy will allow you to obtain property or cash that belongs to the defendant to satisfy your restitution order.  The Writ of Execution will allow you to use the collection options listed below:

  • Levy on bank accounts and or safe deposit boxes
  • Levy against business receipts
  • Levy on real or personal property
  • Levy on Bank Accounts

Paperwork you need:  Certified copy of the Writ of Execution, a completed Civil Process Instruction Sheet and a check to cover the state-mandated service fee.

The Civil Process Instruction Sheet is a form specific to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Court Services and is available at any of their offices or online at the Sheriff’s Department website.

Take these papers to the closest Sheriff’s Court Services Office, or mail them to 157 W. Fifth Street, Third Floor, San Bernardino, CA  92415-0480.  The Writ of Execution along with your written instruction gives the Sheriff authority to seize property of the Judgment Debtor.

Once a judgment has been paid in full you MUST file a notarized Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment (Form EJ-100) with the court within 15 days.  If a lien was filed, a certified copy must also be filed with the County Recorder’s Office.

Garnishments: When a person’s salary is intercepted by a levying officer and is given to the judgment creditor to satisfy a judgment.

Judgment: A judgment, order or decree entered in court.

Judgment Creditor: The person in whose favor a judgment is ordered.

Levy: A process to obtain property or cash from the judgment debtor to satisfy a court judgment.

Levying Officer: The sheriff or marshal who is responsible for making levies under a Writ of Execution.

Lien: A claim on property for payment for a debt.

Money Judgment: Part of a judgment that required the payment of money.

Writ of Execution: A legal document issued by the court which permits a levy on the judgment debtor’s property.

Sister State Judgment: A legal document that allows a judgment issued in one state to be collected in another state.  Each state has its own requirements for such a conversion.

Auditor/Controller-Recorder 
222 West Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0018
(909) 387-8306

California Courts Self-Help Center

San Bernardino County Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service and Free Legal Aid Clinic
(909) 888-6791

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
Court Services Division
(909) 387-5700

San Bernardino County Law Library
(909) 885-3020

Small Claims Advisory Program
17780 Arrow Blvd.
2nd Floor
Fontana, CA 92335
(800) 634-9085

Superior Court of California, County of San Bernardino

To access all forms, visit the California Courts website.