I have a question about serving warrants.

This is a discussion on I have a question about serving warrants. within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Two days ago someone told me about they're son-in-law who was taken in on a warrant for an unpaid bill. My question is can you ...

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Thread: I have a question about serving warrants.

  1. #1
    Member Array Bryan's Avatar
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    I have a question about serving warrants.

    Two days ago someone told me about they're son-in-law who was taken in on a warrant for an unpaid bill. My question is can you be arrested and detained for a civil offense? and can they deny you bail? If they try to hold you in contempt of court did they have to serve you first with an appointed deputy?

    This person is a good guy who has served 2 tours in Iraq (just returned) and would have paid the bill if he knew about it(his ex-wife screwed him on this). Don't worry he has a military lawyer all over this, but what could the rest of us do. Are there debtors prisons now? IS it legal for a judge to issue this type warrant and an LEO to serve it? this is not the first time I've heard this happen.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Knuckledrager's Avatar
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    The short answer is: Depends. What state? Was the unpaid bill unpaid as the result of a returned check? Was the unpaid bill a fine to a district court or similar?

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    Member Array Bryan's Avatar
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    Hmm.. Electric bill debt in Indiana.
    -Diplomacy: The art of saying nice dogie until you can find a rock.
    -The truth is a three edged sword.
    -Your brain is your primary weapon everything else is just a tool.
    -When the only tool you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    Hmm.. Electric bill debt in Indiana.
    Ahhh...WHAT?
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    I seem to remember hearing something somehwere about if you had a bounced check for more than X amount that it became X crime and depending on how high or how low the amount was, it could be a simple misdemeanor or even a felony. Something to do with passing bad checks... Can't remember what state it was either. But it might give you something to search on.
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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Sounds ridiculous to me. Whoever is owed the money should be able to just call up his CO and garnish his wages.

    Austin

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    Member Array citizen510's Avatar
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    http://co4.shelbycountytn.gov/court_.../HOT_CHECK.HTM

    It takes time to get a bad check "illegalized" in Memphis/Shelby County, TN but the DA and the Court have a decent track record since the program started. If it is a bad check from someone that has been through the process before, they could earn a pretty set of shiny bracelets and a free ride to the Iron Bar Hotel.
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    Ex Member Array TC_FLA's Avatar
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    No debtors prisons. However, if it was a check that bounced then it is "Thieft by Deception" and you can have a warrent on you for that, or a parking ticket, but not an electric bill or gas bill. Only thing they can do is get a judgment against you and have it on your credit report. I have a lot of rental property down here and am always taking people to court for non payment and get judgments against them. But sometimes I receive a few bad checks and then I can get a warrant for their arrest till they pay up.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array LenS's Avatar
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    I'm a Constable in MA. I don't know every state's laws, but most are probably similar.

    - You default on paying a bill, company files in Small Claims Court, gets a judgment against you. If you fail to pay the judgment or show up in court, a Capias (arrest warrant) can be issued by the judge.

    - It is basically a "contempt of court" warrant, as you ignored the judge's order to pay.

    - They are served by Constables or Deputy Sheriffs all the time and the arrests are valid. Yes, you can be thrown in jail until you pay up . . . all of that is at the discretion of the judge once you are hauled in.
    Unscrupulous collection agencies buy these bad debts for pennies on the dollar, purposely serve the legal notices at prior addresses, then arrest when the person defaults. Add tons of fees to their claim and your recourse is nil/minimal.

    There is the "Sailors and Soldiers Act" that protects active duty service personnel from attachments and warrants. So if he was "served" when he was on active duty, he can have the judge toss it. He'll still owe what he owes, but should get a chance to pay up and clear his good name.

    Good luck.

    P.S. For some of the above reasons (and others), I refuse to serve arrest warrants on Small Claims Court cases. I do make arrests for probate matters (deadbeat dads), however.
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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    Hmm interesting question that is basically unanswerable without the actual charge . Reading the thread ( and between the lines ) the party arrested likely failed to comply with a valid court order and thusly was held in contempt , with a warrant issued to bring said party before the court to explain just why said order was not complied with . Now this may or may not be some form of judicial abuse ( assuming i am right ) but is within the preview of many courts unless and until challenged to a higher court.
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    VIP Member Array rodc13's Avatar
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    As TC Fla said, we have no debtors prisons in the U.S. (Hooray, us!)

    If it's a question of fraud, or "theft by check", then that's another matter altogether. Held without bail? Unlikely, unless there's just something else going on, such as a large number of bad checks/fraudulent purchases whereby the individual has graduated into the felony realm and deemed a flight risk.

    Time to lawyer up.
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    Repeat what redneck said.
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  14. #13
    Member Array Bryan's Avatar
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    So severing a summons dose not require you to be there (just an old address). I though it had to be given "in person". So serving on a know old address by "disreputable collection agencies" is not an abuse of power?? Must be fun to sit in jail the first thing you hear about it. Looks like the collection agencies need some regulation. Once again the answer is "nobodies" fault.

    I'm still trying to get the details from the actual individual but they seem to be embarrassed. Maybe there was something else at work here, but the info I got here is disturbing none the less.
    -Diplomacy: The art of saying nice dogie until you can find a rock.
    -The truth is a three edged sword.
    -Your brain is your primary weapon everything else is just a tool.
    -When the only tool you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    Sounds ridiculous to me. Whoever is owed the money should be able to just call up his CO and garnish his wages.

    Austin
    The military is not a debt collection agency. I've told that to dozens of creditors over the years, calling because a young troop bounced a check or failed to repay a loan.

    The military will only garnish wages on a court order.

    They may get after the troop for UCMJ violations resulting from the debt (Article 134 - (Debt, dishonorably failing to pay) or Article 134—(Check, worthless, making and uttering—by dishonorably failing to maintain funds)... but the creditor is on his own.


    I know of no state where indebtedness is a crime. Bouncing a check or failing to make a court ordered payment, perhaps... but merely failing to pay a debt? Unlikely. There is no debtor's prison in the US.

    If he's in contempt of court, then there probably is no bail. If he issued a fraudulent check then I would expect there to be bail unless they;'re worried he's about to deploy or something.

    I doubt you're getting the right/ whole story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan View Post
    this is not the first time I've heard this happen.
    Heard what happen? We, and you, don't KNOW what happened.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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