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If a Creditor Sues You For a Debt, Show Up or Risk an Arrest Warrant and Jail

It’s getting more attention these days, the concept that debtors prison is resurfacing. And while that’s not exactly true, you can’t be thrown into prison for debt.

But there is more coverage about debtors that are being arrested and taken to jail. Mostly just for processing but some are sitting behind bars as they wait to be bailed out.

The issue actually isn’t that a debt is owed, but that the debtor failing to show up for court when required after a judgment has been awarded to the creditor.

In the past if a debtor did not show up they just simply lost the case. Well today, some creditors are leveraging the power of the court to scare people into paying by issuing arrest warrants for those missed court appearances.

Today, National Public Radio ran a story about this disturbing trend of threatening people with arrest warrants.

You can listen to the NPR story below.


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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

6 Comments

  • The problem occurs after a judgment has been entered. Warrants are not issued because a money judgment has been entered or because no one showed up to defend it. Warrants are issued for failing to comply with court orders (usually post judgment orders) such as the judge ordering a judgment debtor to show up in court to answer questions about where assets are located. Problems occur when consumers are told they can ignore lawsuits (which they can without going to jail) and they think this extends to judgments (which in many instances they can’t or shouldn’t ignore). Service, or notice to the consumer, is a problem, but most judges I know are very careful about making sure a judgment debtor has been properly served (with the post judgment order) before issuing arrest warrants.

    Question for Angelo & Sean: what post judgment legal services are included in the Veritas Legal Plan?

    • @cb4beb16fc9f829dbf012703b74cbad6:disqus The plan covers the defense of creditor lawsuits.  The only post judgment legal services that the Veritas plan covers would be in the event a member was never served a summons and received a default judgment.

  • Lawsuits is the most effective method of collecting debt.  Most consumers panic and do nothing which leads to a default judgment or they are forced to accept an 80-90% of balance settlement.  I hate to throw in a shameless plug but for a few dollars a month consumers can have full legal representation with the Veritas Legal Plan and be covered for lawsuits on every account. The Legal Plan provides full legal representation while allowing the consumer to accumulate as much as possible in hopes of settling the lawsuit.

    • Plug away- It is a cost effective way to protect against lawsuits and available to clients of debt settlement companies, where lawsuits are inherent. 

    • Plug away- It is a cost effective way to protect against lawsuits and available to clients of debt settlement companies, where lawsuits are inherent. 

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