CanI go to jail for a debt?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2010

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CanI go to jail for a debt?

I bought a car in 2002 that was repossessed. They said I owe $10,000 with interet. They also said that I can go to jail. Is that true?

Asked on September 14, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not true. People do not go to jail for debt or owing money. Debtor's prison went out about the time Dickens. If you had committed fraud that would be a crime. So, for example, if you tricked people into lending money with no intention to repay that would be different. In fact, neither a debt collector or creditor may threaten you with imprisonment or even the possibility of criminal charges. If they do you could actually sue them. Addtionally, they can not harass or otherwise intimidate, etc. It's the law - the "Fair Debt Collections Practices Act" (FDCPA).

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 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.

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