If you don't appear in court can you be arrested? 10 Answers as of April 16, 2013

I am in debt with a credit card and they have filed a lawsuit. I got a letter from a lawyer who is trying to advertise themselves. In that letter they say that if i don't show up at the court I could go to jail.

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The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
No, you will not go to jail for a civil suit. You will get a default judgment against you for the debt.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/16/2013
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
Turn that lawyer into the State Bar You cannot be arrest for not answering the complaint, but you can be arrested if the court orders you to show for a debtor's examination. Beware of anyone, including lawyers, who send you this type of advertising.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 4/16/2013
Law Office of Alexis Plunkett
Law Office of Alexis Plunkett | Alexis Plunkett
If you do not show up for court in a criminal matter, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and yes, you will likely be arrested. If you do not show up for court in a civil matter, such as the debt case you mentioned, it is more likely that a default judgment will be entered against you. At that point, the plaintiff can attempt to garnish your income and take other steps to satisfy the judgment. You will not go to jail if you do not appear, but regardless it is a bad idea.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/16/2013
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
I would suggest that you confirm with the court that there is a case and thus a court date. If you have a court date I would find out its purpose. In some states a warrant for arrest can issue for a missed court date. I would suggest you investigate the laws of your state and/or consult with a debt defense attorney.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 4/16/2013
Law Offices Of Raymond H. Aver, APC | Raymond H. Aver
If you fail to appear for a hearing, the court may enter a judgment against you, but will not issue a bench warrant for your arrest. In the event a judgment is entered against you and the judgment creditor notices you for a judgment/debtor examination, and you fail to appear, a bench warrant will likely be issued for your arrest for your failure to appear for the judgment/debtor examination.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/16/2013
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq.
    Stacy Joel Safion, Esq. | Stacy Joel Safion
    That is a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. It is also unethical for an attorney to say that.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC | Daniel A. Edelman
    Not immediately. If a judgment is entered against you, you can be required to appear in court to answer questions about your income and assets. If you fail to comply with a court order requiring your appearance for that purpose (usually there is an order for appearance and an order to show cause in Illinois), the court may find you in civil contempt and order your arrest.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    If this is a civil case, if you do not answer you will be defaulted and a judgment will be entered against you. If it is a criminal case and you do not show a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    SmithMarco, P.C.
    SmithMarco, P.C. | Larry P. Smith
    Yes and No. Tricky issue that many people get confused with. To be clear, you cannot go to jail for owing a debt. Plain and simple. However, what can happen is that a judgment can be entered against you, then you are served a citation to discover assets, which basically is a form that orders you to come to court and state under oath what assets you have. If you fail to appear for that, the court can enter another order compelling your personal attendance in court. If you again fail to show up, then a body attachment can be issued (a bench warrant). You can be brought in for failure to obey a court order to appear in court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 4/16/2013
    Harris, Yug & Ohlinger
    Harris, Yug & Ohlinger | Roberta Ohlinger-Johnson
    If you've been served with an Order to Show Cause, then yes a warrant could issue if you no-show.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 4/16/2013
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