In New Jersey, you can not be arrested for not paying a debt. There is no debtor’s prison in New Jersey or anywhere in the United States where you end up if you do not pay a bill. Collection is a civil, not criminal, matter, and people who end up in debt do not end up behind bars. As a debt relief lawyer, I can explain the exceptions and what rights you have against a creditor.

Sometimes You CAN Be Arrested

There are two exceptions to being arrested for an unpaid debt:

  • Paying by check. The first exception is when you pay for something by check, that check bounces, and you do not make good on it within 10 days of a demand to do so by the creditor. Even then, the tendering of the check in payment must be simultaneous with the purchase of the goods or services. It does not apply if it happens when the check fails to clear in payment of a pre-existing debt, like a credit card balance.
  • Failing to respond to a subpoena. The second is where you fail to respond to a New Jersey Information Subpoena. You may be sent a court document demanding that you reveal your assets, like bank accounts and jobs. If you do not respond, you are in contempt of court and can be arrested for that. Even then, upon arrest, the judge will just insist that you fill out the form and only throw you in jail if it is necessary to force you to do so.

Debt Collectors May Lie About Being Arrested

The sad thing is that debt collectors use the threat of being arrested if a debt is not paid all the time to scare people into paying. If a debt collector says this to you, they are lying. This is not only because of what I have just said, but also because collection agencies can’t send information subpoenas. They are only sent by law firms that have obtained a judgment against you by bringing a lawsuit.

The key is to know your rights and stand up to the debt collector bullies. They lie, and when they do, they can be sued for violating your rights. It is called the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and it is a powerful shield. Don’t let them push you around.

How a Lawyer Can Help with Debt

Don't live in fear of arrest or anything else that you think could happen if you don't pay a debt. If you are being pursued for a debt in excess of $10,000, want to negotiate an affordable repayment plan, and are ready to take action, I may be able to help. Just click this link to schedule a call with me to discuss your case.

I have represented creditors for many years and am familiar with the collection industry and how it ticks. I know the lies from the truth and will fight off the debt collector bullies! Put my experience to work for you!

Want more information on how to fight back with your creditors? Then download my free book, The Biggest Secrets Your Creditors Don't Want You to Know. Become empowered and protect your rights! Are you a visual learner rather than a reader? Do you enjoy watching YouTube to learn new things? Then check out my 3-part video series on how creditors use lawsuits in New Jersey to collect debts. Just click here for more information on how to get the links.

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.