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Can they arrest you for a debt you knew nothing about

California |

got a call from someone claiming to be from the court and stated that they were going to come arrest me for a debt i don not regognize.

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Attorney answers 3


Courts do not arrest people for debt. This sounds like a collection agency tactic. The only time the courts will order you arrested in a civil proceeding is if you fail to appear in court as ordered by the court.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


Find out the courthouse and the case number, because you can usually look up that information on the court's web site and see if it is legitimate. If there is a judgment in that case and you are the defendant, you may be able to set aside the judgment and if it is not your debt, recover your damages and attorney's fees, if this is identity theft or mistaken identity.

However, if you were required to appear in court to be examined on any judgment or matter, until the court orders the judgment vacated or set aside, you still need to appear in court, so that the sheriff does not need to bring you to court by force.

Most courts do not call any party, so I am suspicious of this call. If you cannot find this case in the court's web site or you call the court's correct phone number and find that the call was from a bogus debt collector, this company has violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Please contact me directly through my Avvo profile, if that is what happened. I can also assist you if this is a default judgment against you.


There are no debtors prisons in the United States. Whoever called you obviously wasn't from the Court, because courts don't say these things. However, as my colleagues pointed out, you may have a case against you, its best to investigate and determine the facts.

Good luck to you.

Disclaimer: attorney's response is not intended as legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Inquirer should seek the advice of a duly licensed attorney within that jurisdiction.