Can you go to Jail for Credit Card Debt?

In the United States, you generally cannot go to jail directly for failing to pay credit card debt or other types of personal debt.  Debtor’s prisons were abolished in the U.S. in the 1830s. Thus, simply owing money, no matter the amount, is not a criminal offense. 
 
So, can you actually go to jail for not paying your credit card debt? The short answer is no, not directly. In the United States, there are no debtor’s prisons. However, if you ignore legal proceedings or fail to comply with court orders, you might find yourself in a legal bind that could, in rare cases, lead to jail time.
 
  1. Contempt of Court: If you’re sued for the debt and you disobey a court order related to the debt, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest for contempt of court. This is not for the debt itself, but for disregarding the court’s authority.  This is a pretty rare situation but it’s possible.
  2. Fraudulent Activity: If the debt was incurred through fraudulent activities, such as using someone else’s identity to obtain credit or knowingly writing bad checks, those actions can lead to criminal charges and, potentially, jail time.
 
It’s important for individuals facing significant credit card debt a debt lawsuit or a debt judgment to seek legal advice or legal representation.  At Weston Legal we only charge flat fees to defend credit card lawsuits and judgments and we have helped tens of thousand of clients handle their debt lawsuits and judgments.

If you’d like to explore your options or you’ve been notified that you are being sued for debt and you aren’t sure what to do, contact 1.800.220.4318.

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