Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 09:46 PM
Posted by Administrator
For years, this is what I would tell criminal defendants who were out on bond and charged with un-horrible crimes. "Are you sure I am not going to jail, today?" I would be asked. "Yes, I am sure", I would say. "But are you really sure?", This is what I would say: "The only way you are going to jail today is if you make a run for the guy in the robe, dodge the bailiff, jump the bench and choke out the judge."

Some of my clients did bad enough stuff that eventually they landed up in jail. But, since nobody attacked the Judge, nobody went on a day I promised they would not go.

A teaser on Bing, today, was more or less this: "People in jail for owing $250." And, though I have written about the subject of debtor's prison before, I thought I would take another shot.

Here is how to go to jail for owing money:
1) Live in Saudi Arabia, Quatar, the UAE, Dubai and who-knows-where-else and owe money and you may go to jail.
2) Live here in Florida (and, I am betting, the rest of the U.S.) and follow these easy steps:

a) Wait to get sued.
b) Do nothing.
c) Wait until a judgment is entered against you.
d) Wait for a Subpoena for deposition or a court order directing you to answer questions under oath about your assets.
e) Ignore the subpoena...don't answer the questions.
f) Wait for a notice to go to court to explain to the judge why you ignore subpoenas and court orders.
g) Don't go to court.
h) Wait for the court to issue an Order directing you to show cause why you should not be held in contempt for not appearing for deposition or obeying the court Order.
i) Ignore the Order To Show Cause.

If you follow the steps outlined above, eventually, the Court will find you in Contempt and will issue a Writ of Bodily attachment and the Sheriff will one day haul you off to jail. You may sit in jail until your deposition gets taken or you answer those questions about your assets. Or, you can post a bond in an amount equal to the amount of the judgment against you and they'll let you go.

It is not easy to go to jail for owing money here in Florida but, if you try hard enough, you can do it.

If you change your mind about trying to go to jail, think about filing bankruptcy. Assuming you can file, the state court judge and the lawyer who got the judgment won't be able to touch you.
Just for fun......wait until you know there is a Writ of Bodily Attachment and a Deputy is looking for you....then, go see a lawyer. Life is more fun if you get your adrenaline pumping.

Editor's Note: Bob Smith is a retired South Florida lawyer who writes from the blog from his cabin in Northern Wyoming just a few miles from the border. Bob says "Who knew they had summer even in Canada."

Editor's Second Note: Child Support and Alimony being in the nature of mandatory court orders are different. You don't have to try quite so hard to get into jail.
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