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Awareness

Northeast Florida's Defense Attorney - The Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A.It is nothing new for bill collectors to threaten those in debt, and there are numerous instances where third party collection agencies will threaten people with jail time if they do not pay consumer debts. This causes confusion amongst citizens that fall behind on their payments, worrying that they could go to prison for being unable to pay. However, know that, if you owe money on a debt and cannot afford to pay it, it is typically a civil matter – therefore, no jail time is involved. Instead, the creditor would have to sue you in court and receive a judgment to collect.

Debtor’s Prisons: Do They Exist?

Debtor’s prisons were used years ago as a way for lenders to imprison poor people who could not repay their debt obligations. These were used in the United States until the mid-1800s, when they were finally banned. States started to eliminate debtor’s prisons, and most have followed suit across the board, though there are some states that do have jail time for certain debts.

Essentially, you cannot go to jail for failure to pay civil debts – such as credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, or even hospital bills. These are the types of debts for which most people will encounter harsh third party debt collectors and threats.

You can, however, go to jail for not paying two specific types of debts: child support and taxes. There are also state owed debts that can result in jail time if you do not pay them. Some states and local courts in Florida will use fees, fines, and other costs as part of their criminal justice system. If you fail to pay these fees as part of a condition of your probation or parole, you can go to jail.

Three Instances That Could Result in Jail Time

There are three instances that could result in jail time for unpaid debts in Florida:

  1. Willfully Violating a Court Order – If you are ordered by the courts to pay for a debt, typically child support, and you are found in contempt for nonpayment, you could go to jail.
  2. You Refuse to Pay Income Taxes – Being behind on your tax payments do not automatically constitute jail time, but if you outright refuse to pay your tax debts and you are then prosecuted and convicted, you could go to jail.
  3. You Do Not Appear During a Debtor’s Examinations – These are not used in the state of Florida, but other states do use them as a way to assess a debtor’s ability to pay their obligations.

When You Are Being Threatened with Jail Time, Speak with an Attorney

It can be hard to tell if a creditor has legitimate threats or not. If you are being threatened with jail time for nonpayment of certain debts, contact an attorney to explore your options. Also, if you have been arrested for a crime, contact The Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. today. Schedule your consultation at 904-356-8618, or fill out an online contact form with your questions.

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Debts?

It is nothing new for bill collectors to threaten those in debt, and there are numerous instances where third party collection agencies will threaten people with jail time if they do not pay consumer debts. This causes confusion amongst citizens that fall behind on their payments, worrying that they could go to prison for being unable to pay. However, know that, if you owe money on a debt and cannot Read More

Understanding Theft Crimes and Consequences in Florida

Theft crimes in Florida carry serious consequences – even if you are a first time offender. If convicted, you will have a criminal record that could impact every aspect of your life; including social, professional and financial. This is why it is critical that you hire a criminal defense attorney if you are being accused of any type of theft crime – including misdemeanor offenses. The Types and Consequences of Read More

Why Was My Bail Denied?

For some individuals, it can be a shock to find that their bail is denied and they are ordered to remain in custody until their trial. Because criminal trials can take months or years to complete in the state of Florida, a person can be locked behind bars for an extended period of time – and when they are innocent, that reality becomes even worse. Understanding Bond Hearings in the Read More

Do I Need an Attorney for My Misdemeanor Charge?

Some individuals feel that a misdemeanor is nothing to worry about. They know the penalties are not as harsh and they assume the chances of going to jail are small, especially if they are a first-time offender. Misdemeanors, however, are still crimes – and some carry harsh penalties that individuals may not realize. Also, there are situations that can turn a simple misdemeanor into a felony charge – which is Read More

Am I Required to Disclose a Criminal Record on a Housing Application?

Life after a criminal conviction is not easy. Your criminal record makes it more difficult to gain employment, get into school, and may even make finding adequate housing difficult – even though housing is one of the most basic necessities for survival. Because of this risk, you may be tempted to hide the fact that you are a convicted criminal when filling out a housing application. Disclosing Your Criminal History Read More

What You Should Never Say to a Police Officer

Police officers are naturally intimidating to some; therefore, it is not uncommon to see individuals say something inappropriate or admit to something due to that intimidation. Whether you are being questioned by the police or you have been arrested under suspicion of a crime, there are certain things that you should never say to a police officer. These statements not only give officers probable cause for arrest, but could lead Read More

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Each May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and countless private safety organizations and motorcycle clubs observe Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While riders here in Florida get to use their bikes year-round, May is when other parts of the country start to thaw and riders start to get back out on the roads. The Importance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a great opportunity for Read More

Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Each year since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has used this month as a time to raise awareness about the risks and treatment options available for alcoholism and excessive use of alcohol. At The Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A., we are proud to help promote this extremely important cause. This Year’s Theme NCADD picks one particular area of Read More