Creditors will say a lot of things to try to recover outstanding debt, including threats of arrest. But, can a creditor have you arrested?
In this video, attorney Elizabeth German discusses if you can go to jail for unpaid bills.
Creditors Threatening You?
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One of the most common fears I run across with people who have accrued debt is that a creditor has told them if they don’t pay their bill, they’re going to send the sheriff out to arrest them.
Can a Creditor You Arrested?
In most cases, you cannot be jailed for not paying your debt. There are certain exceptions, such as child support or other types of criminal restitution fines. But, by and large, a normal, everyday credit card bill, medical bill or unsecured debt will not result in them being able to send you to jail.
Take Charge of the Creditors
They’re using this as a scare tactic, and actually, if they’re telling you that information, that is fraudulent and they should not be doing that.
But they hope that by scaring people into thinking they’re going to jail, they’re able to get you to be on a payment plan immediately so that you don’t have that risk.
In reality, the exception, besides the child support, for being put in jail for non-payment of the debt actually arises from failure to comply with a court order.
What to Do If a Creditor Sues You
If you get sued and someone gets a judgment, they’re gonna send out documents called interrogatories, with a date by which you have to provide certain financial information to them.
If you fail to answer these interrogatories, then the court can issue a warrant for your arrest under a bench warrant. At that point, if you get pulled over or something else happens, you can be thrown in jail.
Even if there’s a bench warrant that is issued, you’re not gonna actively be sought after, it’s not as if the sheriff on those bench warrants is gonna come after you at your place of work or home.
Typically, we see this be a problem when you run into some other issue and they pull your profile and see that there’s a warrant out due to the non-answering of those interrogatories.
If you do get sued by a creditor, it’s important that you call in and get the appropriate help. We can talk to you about handling these types of debts through bankruptcy or other debt resolution options before you even have to worry about that. If you do get a court order, do not refuse to answer that information. Call an attorney and get specific legal advice on how to handle that.