Can you be arrested in a civil action (garnishment) in Nevada?

The Law Office of Malik Ahmad had been asked this question many times if the defendants can be arrested in a civil action. The answer is yes, but only under the following conditions:

NRS 31.470 Arrest in civil cases. No person shall be arrested in a civil action except as prescribed by this chapter.

NRS 31.480 Cases in which defendant may be arrested. The defendant may be arrested, as hereinafter prescribed, in the following cases:

1. Recovery of Money: In an action for the recovery of money or damages on a cause of action arising upon contract, express or implied, when the defendant is about to depart from the State with intent to defraud the defendant’s creditors, or when the action is for libel or slander.

2. For Fine or Penalty: In an action for a fine or penalty, or for money or property embezzled, or fraudulently misapplied or converted to his or her own use by a public officer, or an officer of a corporation, or an attorney, factor, broker, agent or clerk in the course of his or her employment as such or by any other person in a fiduciary capacity, or for misconduct or neglect in office, or in professional employment, or for a willful violation of duty.

3. For Personal Property: In an action to recover the possession of personal property unjustly detained, when the property, or any part thereof, has been concealed, removed, or disposed of so that it cannot be found or taken by the sheriff.

4. Guilty of Fraud: When the defendant has been guilty of a fraud in contracting the debt or incurring the obligation for which the action is brought, or in concealing or disposing of the property, for the taking, detention or conversion of which the action is brought.

5. Conversion: When the defendant has removed or disposed of the defendant’s property, or is about to do so, with intent to defraud the defendant’s creditors.

Who would give order of arrest?

NRS 31.490 Order for arrest. An order for the arrest of the defendant shall be obtained from a judge of the court in which the action is brought.

NRS 31.500 Order for arrest made when plaintiff’s affidavit shows a sufficient cause; requisites and filing of affidavit. The order may be made whenever it shall appear to the judge, by the affidavit of the plaintiff or some other person, that a sufficient cause of action exists, and the case is one of those mentioned in NRS 31.480. The affidavit shall be either positive or upon information and belief; and when upon information and belief it shall state the facts upon which the information and belief are founded. If an order of arrest be made, the affidavit shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

NRS 31.510 Undertaking from plaintiff. Before making the order the judge shall require a written undertaking, payable in lawful money of the United States, on the part of the plaintiff, with sureties, to the effect that if the defendant recover judgment, the plaintiff will pay all costs and charges that may be awarded to the defendant, and all damages which the defendant may sustain by reason of the arrest, not exceeding the sum specified in the undertaking, which shall be at least $500. Each of the sureties shall annex to the undertaking an affidavit that the surety is a resident and householder or freeholder within the State, and worth double the sum specified in the undertaking over and above all the surety’s debts and liabilities, exclusive of property exempt from execution. The undertaking shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

NRS 31.520 Order and arrest; return of order. The order may be made to accompany the summons, or any time afterwards before judgment. It shall require the sheriff of the county where the defendant may be found forthwith to arrest the defendant and hold the defendant to bail in a specified sum, naming the money or currency in which it is payable, and to return the order at a time therein mentioned to the clerk of the court in which the action is pending.

NRS 31.530 Delivery of affidavit and order to sheriff and defendant. The order of arrest, with a copy of the affidavit upon which it is made, shall be delivered to the sheriff, who, upon arresting the defendant, shall deliver to the defendant the copy of the affidavit, and also, if desired, a copy of the order of arrest.

NRS 31.540 Arrest of defendant. The sheriff shall execute the order by arresting the defendant and keeping the defendant in custody until discharged by law.

NRS 31.550 Defendant to be discharged on bail or deposit. The defendant, at any time before execution, shall be discharged from the arrest either upon giving bail or upon depositing the amount mentioned in the order of arrest in the money or currency therein named, as provided in this chapter.

NRS 31.560 Defendant may give bail. The defendant may give bail by causing a written undertaking, payable in the money of the contract (if any be named), and in other cases as directed by the judge, to be executed by two or more sufficient sureties, stating their places of residence and occupations, to the effect that they are bound in the amount mentioned in the order of arrest; that the defendant shall at all times render himself or herself amenable to the process of the court during the pendency of the action, and to such as may be issued to enforce the judgment therein; or that they will pay to the plaintiff the amount of any judgment which may be recovered in the action.

NRS 31.570 Bail may surrender defendant. At any time before judgment, or within 10 days thereafter, the bail may surrender the defendant in their exoneration; or the defendant may surrender to the sheriff of the county where the defendant was arrested.

NRS 31.580 Arrest, delivery and surrender of defendant by bail; exoneration of bail. For the purpose of surrendering the defendant, the bail at any time or place before they are finally charged may themselves arrest the defendant; or by a written authority, endorsed on a certified copy of the undertaking, may empower the sheriff to do so. Upon the arrest of the defendant by the sheriff, or upon delivery of the defendant to the sheriff by the bail, or upon the defendant’s own surrender, the bail shall be exonerated; provided, such arrest, delivery or surrender shall take place before the expiration of 10 days after judgment; but if such arrest, delivery or surrender be not made within 10 days after judgment, the bail shall be finally charged on their undertaking, and be bound to pay the amount of the judgment within 10 days thereafter.

NRS 31.590 Action against bail. If the bail neglect or refuse to pay the judgment within 10 days after they are finally charged, an action may be commenced against bail for the amount of the original judgment.

NRS 31.600 Bail exonerated by death, imprisonment or discharge of defendant. The bail shall also be exonerated by the death of the defendant, or by the defendant’s imprisonment in a state prison, or by the defendant’s legal discharge from the obligation to render himself or herself amenable to the process.

NRS 31.610 Return of order; plaintiff may except to bail. Within the time limited for that purpose, the sheriff shall file the order of arrest in the office of the clerk of the court in which the action is pending, with the sheriff’s return endorsed thereon, together with a copy of the undertaking of the bail. The sheriff shall retain the original undertaking in the sheriff’s possession until filed, as herein provided. The plaintiff, within 10 days thereafter, may serve upon the sheriff a notice that the plaintiff does not accept the bail, or the plaintiff shall be deemed to have accepted them, and the sheriff shall be exonerated from liability. If no notice be served within 10 days, the original undertaking shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

[1911 CPA § 159; RL § 5101; NCL § 8657]

NRS 31.620 Notice of justification of bail. Within 5 days after the receipt of notice, the sheriff or defendant may give to the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s attorney notice of the justification of the same, or other bail (specifying the places of residence and occupations of the latter), before the judge of the court, or clerk, at a specified time and place; the time to be not less than 5 nor more than 10 days thereafter, except by consent of parties. In case other bail be given, there shall be a new undertaking.

NRS 31.630 Qualifications of bail. The qualifications of bail shall be as follows:

1. Each of them shall be a resident and householder, or freeholder, within the county.

2. Each shall be worth the amount specified in the order of arrest, or the amount to which the order is reduced, as provided in this chapter, over and above all debts and liabilities of the bail, exclusive of property exempt from execution; but the judge, or clerk, on justification, may allow more than two sureties to justify severally in amounts less than that expressed in the order, if the whole justification be equivalent to that of two sufficient bail.

NRS 31.640 Examination of bail. For the purpose of justification, each of the bail shall attend before the judge, or clerk, at the time and place mentioned in the notice, and may be examined on oath, on the part of the plaintiff, touching the bail’s sufficiency, in such manner as the judge, or clerk, in the exercise of discretion may think proper. The examination shall be reduced to writing, and subscribed by the bail, if required by the plaintiff.

NRS 31.650 Allowance of bail exonerates sheriff. If the judge, or clerk, find the bail sufficient, the judge or clerk shall annex the examination to the undertaking, endorse the judge’s or clerk’s allowance thereon, and cause them to be filed, and the sheriff shall thereupon be exonerated from liability.

NRS 31.660 Deposit by defendant in lieu of bail. The defendant may, at the time of the defendant’s arrest, instead of giving bail, deposit with the sheriff the amount mentioned in the order. In case the amount of the bail be reduced, as provided in this chapter, the defendant may deposit such amount instead of giving bail. In either case the sheriff shall give the defendant a certificate of the deposit made, and the defendant shall be discharged from custody.


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