Receiving calls from debt collectors can be scary. Owing money to people and having them constantly call and hound you can cause stress and difficulty in your day-to-day life. Collector’s tactics of intimidation and fear would make anyone worried about the consequences of having overdue debts. A collections lawsuit is a serious matter, one that should be resolved. Although there are many things to be concerned about with debt collection, there is one thing you need not worry about, criminal prosecution.
The Protections of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Collection agencies may use a variety of tactics to get you to pay your debts. However, a collections lawsuit is a civil matter. In fact in it is illegal for a debt collector to threaten you with prosecution of a crime. If a collections agency threatens you with prosecution they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA.
The FDCPA prevents collectors from committing many times of abuses and deception: they cannot contact third parties about your debts save for your attorney, a reporting agency, or the original creditor; a collector must identify themselves as such; they cannot harass you, threaten to use violence against you, or as previously stated threaten you with criminal prosecution. However, there are circumstances in which you can go to jail that are tangentially related to owing a debt, but not due to owing the debt itself.
When You Can Go To Jail
If you violate a court order a court may order you to serve jail time. You should always follow the court’s order. Similarly if a court orders you to appear in for a debtor evaluation, for a hearing, etc. you have to appear and follow the directive of the court. You may also go to jail if you refuse to pay taxes, which are different than a debt.
A debt collection lawsuit can be a scary thing. It is important to know your rights and your obligations during this time. Having an attorney that is familiar with the ins and outs of debt lawsuits will make this difficult time more manageable. Keogh Law can help you with your debt collection lawsuit.