I have court tomorrow for a a VERY old (6+) years default judgement (credit card debt) against me where I think I was not properly served. I was arrested and put in jail for this warrant last week and now I am unsure if I need to hire an attorney or not - even though it is probably too late! What can I expect to happen?
State/Country relating to question: Colorado
Just doing some research, the original debt for this is so old it isn't even on my credit report anymore (almost 10 years). I'm wondering if the debt it/was time barred. I am also looking into how I was served and it turns out I just found out they served an ex-girlfriend while I was not home... very shady!
Hello and thank you for your question here today.
I am sorry to hear about you being arrested for this debt.
That is a very rare thing to have happen.
There has to be a reason why you were arrested and it was not just for owing the debt. What most likely happened was the creditor sent you post judgment discovery that you did not answer. They then filed a motion to compel in which the court ordered you to respond to the discovery. When you still didn't respond the judge issued a warrant for contempt of court for not answer the post judgment discovery.
Being "time barred" typically refers to how long the creditor has to sue you for the debt. In your case they already sued you and obtained a judgment against you. Therefore there is no time requirement anymore.
I see that you are typing, so I will wait until you are done to finish my response.
Thank you! I did get the official "interrogatory" questions but failed to answer them in time. However, I was never properly (?) served the actual summons for the court date (it was handed to an ex-girlfriend from which she didn't give it to me until years later), and yes, there was a default judgement against me. Keep in mind this was around 5+ years ago. I'm not necessarily trying to get out of anything - the debt is valid, or at least I can agree it was when it was originally around $1,500-$2,000 - Now it is probably over 5k if I'm guessing correctly. What are the chances of me being able to "talk it down" and make low payment arrangement? I am unemployed, going to school ful time and being supported by my fiance - and I have about maybe $300 in my bank account.
I've heard that I should ask for all of the "original" contracts to show the validity, and an itemized list of charges, etc...
It is very likely that you can get them to agree to settle the debt for way less than the amount of the judgment. The only thing the judge is going to do is make you answer the interrogatories.
From which, I assume I should "deny" since the amount is WAY too high? But then won't the cycle just start all over?
As far as challenging the service you can do that, but realistically it will cost you more in legal fees to challenge it then it would to just settle the debt.
They already sued you and got a judgment against you so you can no longer "deny" the debt.
The judgment is a court order saying YOU OWE IT.
your best bet is to try to settle it, or if you have a lot of other debt you could file bankruptcy.
But the questions are basically "do you owe X amount" or "do you not owe X amount" - it seems like they are just trying to get me to admit to the full amount...
The interrogatories are asking about your assets, where you work etc.
Ah, I see. I guess I just don;t see the point of them having me answer the questions again then :/
You may be looking at interrogatories they sent you BEFORE they had a judgment. There are most likely POST judgment interrogatories asking about your assets.
I thought the questions were basically just a trick to get me to admit to owing the full amount.
No, you already owe it and it doesn't matter if you agree to it or not!
Yes, ok. That cleared up a lot. Thank you! But for the fact that I wasn't actually personally served, can they do that here in Colorado? Do I have anything on that? It's the whole reason why I didn't take care of this sooner and why I had a warrant out for my arrest (from which I got nothing official from the county, ever).
Depending on how much the judgment has ballooned up to be, it might make sense to at least consult with an attorney in your area just to see if they can see anyway out of this mess.
Yes you can make an issue of that, but you would really need an attorney to do that.
you can find an attorney by going to www.NACA.net
Hmm, ok. Might be too late for that tho, court is tomorrow! I can try to represent myself though right? As long as I don't say anything stupid lol
I can;t really afford an attorney, just advice ;)
Yes you can represent yourself and you can still bring up the service issue later on in a separate motion.
Ah, so it most likely will be pushed back to another date if I do that? I will still be free to travel if that happens right? (going to Cali for the 4th of July)
The hearing tomorrow should only be about your failure to respond to the discovery.
You should be free to travel.
Just respond to the discovery. You have nothing to hide, you have no assets, no job.
And from that, I can have wishful thinking that the judge will substantially lower the amount and set me up with some sort of payment plan?
No, that is not up to the judge. You will have to work that out with the other attorney.
The judges only job is to determine if you owe the money or not, which they already did. Now the judges job is to find out why you didn't answer the discovery
Yikes, an attorney representing the collection agency? I hear they are ruthless and that I shouldn't sign anything they present me. Talking them down will be another whole can of worms.
I guess at that point I can just claim ignorance/immaturity than, I'm not sure...
yes you can claim ignorance but you will have to answer the discovery. Just relax about it, answer the questions as there really is not much they can do to under the circumstances that you are in being unemployed.
Also, if you file bankruptcy, all of this stops immediately upon filing of the bankruptcy.
Can I even be sure that someone will even be there representing the collection agency? It obviously wasn;t a dated court date, and it's a surprise to me and them that I got picked up on a warrant for this almost 6 years later.
Yes, I realize bankrupcy is an option - but for 5-6k it seems like I should hold off
Who knows. I have had many many cases where the plaintiff did not show up for court.
I agree if that is all you have 5-6k I wouldn't file bankruptcy either.
And in that case, would I be in the clear or would it be pushed back again to a diff date?
If they didn't show that is...
depends on the judge
Wow, thanks for all of the help. I'm trying to think if I have anymore questions lol
If you have any more questions you can always come back to this chat later on and ask follow up questions.
So go in tomorrow, maybe say something about not being personally served the judgement, spending 2 days in jail, etc... Answer the questions truthfully, and then I will have another court date probably or will the rest be settled out of court?
Yes to the first part. There probably won't be another court date. But you should try to settle the judgment just so that there are not any more issues down the road.
Yes, being arrested for a 6 year old civil case is not fun.
So if I think of anything else I can come back to this window later? Is that included in the $38?
I'm obviously on a budget lol
It should be.
Ok. Thank you! should I rate you now?
Yes please! Thank you and I am glad that I was able to help ease your mind!
It says it will "close the chat" when I go to rate you :/
I just changed the format of this chat and the rating system so I am not 100% sure what happens next. I know that you can come back and ask follow up questions.
I believe the "chat" feature ends, but it then goes into a Q&A format where you can still ask follow up questions.
Ok, no problem. Thanks again.
I have won over 1500 Debt Lawsuits, saving my clients over $12,000,000.
Good luck tomorrow! Let me know how it goes.HCLegal
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