Unfortunately(?) no. This sort of debt is not a criminal offense unless the police and/or prosecutor can show that you somehow defrauded the business into giving you a loan or that you never intended to pay the loan back when the loan was given. That said, please do not make any statements to the police if you are contacted about the matter and immediately get in touch with a criminal defense attorney.
Even if there is a crime here, jail time would not satisfy the debt. In cases of theft, jail time is sometimes imposed, sometimes not, upon conviction. However, restitution is ALWAYS ordered in a theft conviction, and cannot be bargained away by the court or the DA.
Long story short: Jail time cannot excuse the debt.
In terms of how to deal with the debt, that's not my area of expertise. These loans typically have a very high interest rate, and I'm sure there are non-payment penalties as well. You may have options available to set up a realistic payment plan with some or all of the loan companies. You may be in a situation where bankruptcy is a viable option. You might want to consult with a non-profit credit/debt consultant or an appropriate attorney to discuss your options.
Any statements I make in these forums (fora?) should not be taken as direct legal advice, merely informed guidance. This is true due to the anonymous nature of this venue, and the incomplete information which is invariably provided by the questions. It is imperative that you consult directly with an attorney regarding your specific situation before acting on or relying on anything represented here. Period.
No, jail time is not an available option. If there is a lawsuit to collect, you can either settle it or just let a default judgment be entered. The judgment will remain valid for 10 years, and is renewable for another 10 years, but there isn't anything specific you need to do if there is a judgment against you (although you might be bothered with a wage garnishment, bank levy, or judgment debtor examination). Your other option is to file for bankruptcy to discharge all of your debts.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
No you cannot serve jail time. It is not a criminal offense.
You can get identifying information about the debt collector, and then send them a certified letter telling them not to call you. Then, they can send you one more letter, telling you that they will not contact you again. They can also sue you, in a civil lawsuit. If they persist in trying to contact you, you have a right to sue them, collect up to $1,000 in statutory damages per violation, plus compensatory damages for your mental anguish, plus attorney's fees.