Choose your preferred language.

top of page

Motor Vehicle Levy

A change in law went into effect on January 21, 2011 (see CPLR 5205).  The Sheriff must now conduct his levies and sales on motor vehicles to conform to this new law.  The new law gives a debtor a $5500.00 exemption above liens and encumbrances on his/her owned vehicle. 


The Sheriff will have to collect the debtor’s exemption, the lien amount on the vehicle (if there is one) and the expenses paid to levy the vehicle at the time of the Sheriff’s sale.  If at the time of sale the bidding does not bring $5500.00 plus the lien amount, the sale is stopped and the vehicle will be returned to the debtor.

The plaintiff can bid on the vehicle.  The first $5500.00 plus the lien amount must be paid in cash.  Any bids you make above this amount can be a credit bid which will reduce the amount of the judgment.

Sheriff’s poundage will be paid in advance.  Poundage is 5% of the vehicle value, or the execution amount (whichever is less).* This cost may or may not be reimbursed (or adjusted) from the proceeds of the sale.

CAUTION: The Sheriff’s seizure and sale of a vehicle may not result in the satisfaction of your judgment.  You may also lose the additional levy expenses.  The sale may be delayed or stopped by a bankruptcy filing or other legal proceeding.  The sale value of the vehicle is affected by mechanical damage, high mileage, age, and the condition of the vehicle inside and out. In order for the Sheriff to levy a debtor’s vehicle for the satisfaction of a money judgment you will have to provide the following information and documentation:

  1. Go to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and fill out an MV15 form (download form here.)  You will receive an MV904N from DMV which will show title to the vehicle (who owns it) and if there is a lien on the vehicle.

  2. If there is a lienholder listed, we require proof from the lienholder of the balance due on the lien.  You will have to contact the lienholder or hire an attorney who can obtain this information.

  3. Proof of the value of the vehicle.  The proof is an appraisal from a licensed car dealer or an official book value.

  4. Forward a certified check or money order, payable to the Sheriff of Suffolk County, in the amount of $1000.00 in advance for expenses related to seizure, towing and storage.   We may require additional expenses depending on the size of the vehicle, special towing, or special storage requirements.  If the vehicle is not located or seized the advanced expense money will be refunded. *Sheriff’s poundage to be paid per above.


For directions to the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office Civil Enforcement Bureau, click here. 

bottom of page