Debt collectors will use many tactics to try to get debtors to pay them. Some of them are legal; many are not. In some places creditors will ask courts to imprison debtors who don’t pay their debts in a timely fashion. Here’s how they do it:
- A debt collection company buys a defaulted loan from a bank.
- The debt collector then sues the debtor demanding payment.
- In many cases, the debtor either ignores or never receives the summons.
- At the hearing, the debt collector then demands the court issue a warrant for the debtor’s arrest.
- The authorities arrest the debtor and place him or her in jail.
- Any bail payments the debtor makes are handed over to the debt collector.
In March 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the previous year, state courts in 13 counties issued 5,000 arrest warrants over missed debts, though many were not executed. One Indiana man was arrested in front of his four children over a $4,022.88 debt.
People living in Nevada who have large, unpaid debts should not be concerned about being arrested and spending jail for missed payments. Nevada’s constitution explicitly prohibits courts from imprisoning people for not paying bills.
“Sec: 14. Exemption of property from execution; imprisonment for debt. The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale for payment of any debts or liabilities hereafter contracted; And there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in cases of fraud, libel, or slander, and no person shall be imprisioned [imprisoned] for a Militia fine in time of Peace.”
Thus, if a debt collector claims that you will be arrested for not paying a bill, which also violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you should also know that carrying it out will be a violation of your constitutional rights.
More likely, though, the debt collector will sue you and try to obtain a default judgment against you. The best way to prevent this is by hiring an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer. You can fight the debt collector in court or consider filing bankruptcy. Regardless of how you address the issue, rest assured you will not go to jail for not paying a debt.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-880-5554.