Overdue debts will not send you to jail.
Please repeat: overdue debts will not get you jailed.
Yet it is disturbing how many people fear that not paying their debts is criminal and result in incarceration.
Relax: America abolished debtors’ prisons some 250 years ago.
If you don’t pay
There are still legal consequences if you don’t pay your debts, but the consequences aren’t criminal.
Your creditors can sue you and get a judgment against you. To get a judgment, they have to file suit against you, in the right court, and serve you with notice of the suit.
That’s what due process
is all about.
What to do if you’re sued
If you appear in the action, by filing a written answer,
a trial on the suit is required, if the parties don’t settle.
A creditor with a judgment can then enlist the power of the state to help them collect the judgment.
Depending on state law, a judgment creditor may be able to get a lien
on your real estate, levy on your non exempt assets or, in some states, to garnish your wages.
When you can be arrested
Other consequences of unpaid bills