Can I get arrested and charged for not paying back a debt?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I get arrested and charged for not paying back a debt?

I took out a payday loan 7 years ago in the state of NJ and couldn’t pay it back. Now I got a message from a distant family member (who I haven’t had contact with in over 10 years) stating that someone called about a lawsuit. When I called that number back the lady told me I was being served a lawsuit for a judgment and than the case would be turned over to the DA for criminal charges. I thought there was no such thing as “debtors prison” and also can these people harrass my distant family and call and threaten me like?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no "debtor's prison" for simply not paying a debt, owing money, etc. However, under some circumstances, taking out a debt which you cannot or do not pay may be part of a crime, such as if you used false pretenses or information (someone else's identity; misrepresented your income or assets) to get the loan, or if you took out the loan without ever intending to repay it.

The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, or FDCPA, limits who, when, how, what, etc. that third-party debt collectors may call or say in trying to collect a debt. Third party debt collectors are ones who are not part of or employed by the person or business you owe money. You can find these limitations by doing an internet search for Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. However, the person or business to whom you owe money does not have many limits--other than don't do anything illegal, like threaten violence or commit fraud--on who they can call or what they can say.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption