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A writ of attachment is a court order to "attach" or seize an asset. It is issued by a court to a law enforcement officer or sheriff. The writ of attachment is issued in order to satisfy a judgment issued by the court. A prejudgment writ of attachment may be used to freeze assets of a defendant while a legal action is pending. Common grounds for obtaining a prejudgment writ of attachment are that a defendant has committed fraud or that a defendant is prepared to hide assets from a court.
One species of this writ is called a "writ of body attachment". This writ may be available to a court wishing to bring into its presence a person who has been held in contempt of court. In this situation, the writ is also sometimes called a "writ of bodily attachment", an "order of commitment for civil contempt", or a "warrant for civil arrest".