CALL NOW!
FREE PHONE/VIRTUAL CONSULTATION

Is Debtor’s Prison Still a Threat in Modern Day America?

There was a time when falling behind on debts and not paying creditors could land a person in jail. Nowadays, debts can still be stressful, but nobody goes to jail because they fail to pay a credit card bill. Or do they…?

America has abolished debtors’ prison and creditors now have a limited number of tools they can use to collect a debt. Processes such as repossession, foreclosure, and lawsuits are an option, but for most, jail is not a concern over an unpaid debt. However, if a creditor takes legal action and a person fails to follow through on obligations related to appearing in court, it could result in jail time.

Many in the industry consider this an underhanded debt collection technique and far too aggressive, especially considering the overcrowding in prisons and the violent nature of many in prison, but it is something you need to consider if you are dealing with unpaid debts.

How Can a Debtor End Up in Jail?

Ending up in jail because of a debt is a process that will begin with a number of warnings you are headed for trouble. The first will be notice a creditor is seeking a judgment against you in court.

Unless you make payment arrangements or pay off a debt, you will need to attend the court proceeding. As uncomfortable and humiliating as it seems to attend court to be given a judgment, not doing so can get you in trouble. Missing subsequent court dates can also be troublesome and enable a creditor to seek sanctions against you. This can lead to you being held in contempt of court, which can result in a writ of bodily attachment – the action that will open the door for your imprisonment. If you are arrested, the court will likely set bail at the amount of the judgment against you (your debt).

Some consider writ of bodily attachment a form of blackmail against a debtor. Not only will you be responsible for the original debt, you will also be forced to pay attorneys’ fees, interest, late fees, and any other expenses associated with the debt. Suddenly, an unpaid credit card debt of a few thousand dollars tallies up to $40,000 or $50,000.

To learn more about a writ of bodily attachment visit the US Marshalls Service website.

What Can You Do to Avoid Going to Jail Over a Debt?

Obviously, the best option is to pay the debt. It will alleviate the problem, so if you are holding out hoping there is a better option, give in and pay the debt. Obviously, this is not an option for many debtors.

If paying in full is not an option, attempt to work out a payment plan. This might be tricky, but debt collectors are sometimes willing to accept installment payments because it saves them time and money, and ensures they are receiving something toward the debt.

If you are forced to go to court, make sure you pay close attention to all of the notifications you receive and that you attend every court date scheduled. As long as the court sees you are attempting good faith and making an effort to do all you can regarding the debt, your chances for being arrested are slim.

It is also a good idea to work with an attorney throughout the process. He or she will not only offer guidance regarding the debt and repayment, it also ensures a professional who understands the system and processes associated with a debt is overseeing your case. You might also find that filing for bankruptcy is a better option than toying with debt collectors, especially if your financial situation is dire.

Want to know more or do you have concerns about where an unpaid debt could lead? Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a free consultation.

Archive

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

What to Do If a Debt Remains on Your Credit Report after Bankruptcy: Why You Need to Be a Detective When It Comes to Credit Reporting Errors

Credit Reporting Errors If you’ve noticed something on your credit report that doesn’t belong there, you aren’t alone. Credit reporting...
Read More

What Happens to the Property I Lose in Bankruptcy? Some Bankruptcy Assets Might Be Protected in Your Favor

Bankruptcy Assets One of the biggest fears people have about filing for bankruptcy is losing their possessions. Many people avoid...
Read More

3 Bankruptcy Tips To Prevent Your Case From Going Off The Rails

Bankruptcy Tips Bankruptcy is one of the most powerful tools you have for improving your financial situation. Unfortunately, it sometimes...
Read More

Can I File for Bankruptcy from Home after a Creditor Files a Lawsuit against Me?

Bankruptcy from Home Have you been served with notice that a creditor is suing you for repayment of a debt?...
Read More

Can I File for Bankruptcy without My Spouse?

Bankruptcy without My Spouse Bankruptcy is an option for single people or married people to get their finances back on...
Read More

Am I Eligible for the Same Benefits If I File Bankruptcy from Home?

Bankruptcy at Home Filing for bankruptcy is one of the best ways to get relief from debt. Not only does...
Read More

Help! A Credit Card Company Won a Judgment against Me!

Judgment Creditor Having a credit card company file legal action against you is nerve-wracking. It only gets worse if they...
Read More

How We Can Help You Improve Your Credit Score after Bankruptcy

Improve My Credit Score A solid credit score is an important tool that helps you in many ways. Unfortunately, just...
Read More

3 Ways You Can File for Bankruptcy

Ways to File for Bankruptcy Filing for bankruptcy is one of the best ways for many people to get their...
Read More

5 Benefits of Filing for Bankruptcy from Home

Filing from Home Filing for bankruptcy from home is one of the best ways to get your financial life back...
Read More

Bankruptcy

For The Next 5 Days GET A FREE BOOK About Bankruptcy

Learn More

Infographics

We are A Debt Relief Agency.
We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code

Pay Online Bankruptcy Courses Newsletter Subscription

NACBA Logo comodo avvo1 avvo2 avvo3 LEA BBB Logo RG Seal

Call For A Free Initial Consultation

813.254.5696

Tampa Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405

Map And Directions

St. Petersburg Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: (727) 532-3939

Map And Directions

Pasco Office

23526 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33559
T: (813) 336-2320

Map And Directions