Writ of Bodily Attachment Law and Legal Definition

A writ of bodily attachment is an order by the court commanding a sheriff or other official to physically bring before the court a person who is guilty of contempt of court. Rules vary by local law and court rules.

The following is an example of a court rule governing writs of bodily attachment:

(c) Hearing. In any civil contempt hearing, after the court makes an express finding that the alleged contemnor had notice of the motion and hearing:

(1) the court shall determine whether the movant has established that a prior order directing payment of support was entered and that the alleged contemnor has failed to pay all or part of the support set forth in the prior order; and

(2) if the court finds the movant has established all of the requirements in subdivision 12.615(c)(1) of this rule, the court shall,

(A) if the alleged contemnor is present, determine whether the alleged contemnor had the present ability to pay support and willfully failed to pay such support, the court is to determine whether the failure to pay such support is willful;

(B) if the alleged contemnor fails to appear, set a reasonable purge amount based on the individual circumstances of the parties. The court may issue a writ of bodily attachment and direct that, upon execution of the writ of bodily attachment, the alleged contemnor be brought before the court within 48 hours for a hearing on whether the alleged contemnor has the present ability to pay support and, if so, whether the failure to pay such support is willful.