Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Credit Card Debt? | Summary and Q&A

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January 31, 2017
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Consumer Warrior
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Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying My Credit Card Debt?

TL;DR

Debtors cannot go to jail for unpaid debts, except in rare cases such as contempt of court or evasion of taxes.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Can I go to jail for not paying credit card debts?

No, debtors cannot be jailed for unpaid credit card debts, as debtors prisons were abolished in the US in 1833.

Q: Can debt collectors legally threaten to have me arrested if I don't pay?

No, it is illegal for debt collectors to threaten arrest or jail time as a means of collecting debts. Such actions violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Q: When can I face legal trouble for not paying my debts?

If a credit card company sues you and obtains a judgment, you may be required to attend a judgment debtors exam to disclose your assets. Failure to comply with a court order can result in a civil arrest warrant.

Q: Are there any other circumstances where I could go to jail for debts?

In rare cases, deliberately evading taxes or not paying them can be considered a crime and may lead to jail time.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Many people worry about going to jail for not paying their debts, but debtors prisons were outlawed in the United States a long time ago.

  • Debt collectors often falsely threaten jail time to pressure people into paying their debts.

  • In the US, debtors typically only face legal consequences if they ignore court orders or deliberately evade taxes.

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