Warrant In Debt – What You Need To Know
Posted by Robert Weed / in warrant in debt / 282 comments
Warrant In Debt
A warrant in debt is what they call it in Virginia when a creditor is suing you in General District Court. Warrant makes it sound a little worse than it is, but it is bad enough. It is not a criminal law problem—you can’t go to jail; but they are trying to make you pay.
A creditor wants to make you pay—and if nothing else works, they want to make you pay with a garnishment. (A garnishment is a court order to your bank or your payroll office to send part of your money to the court instead.)
In order to get a garnishment, a creditor first has to take you to court and win. Taking you to court starts with sending you court papers. Those papers are the “warrant in debt.”
(They have to sue you in Virginia if you live in Virginia. Or where you first signed for the debt. That’s in the FDCPA, a Federal law. You should keep that in mind when you get threat letters from lawyers. A lawyer in Atlanta GA probably doesn’t come to Virginia to take people to court. A lawyer in Rockville MD probably does. A lawyer in Richmond VA does almost for sure.)
The way you get a warrant in debt is for the sheriff to come around and tape it to your door. Some creditors will also mail you a copy. The warrant in debt will have a return date which is your first court date. You can find that return date in the upper right hand corner. (Where it says Hearing Date and Time.)
YOUR FIRST WARRANT IN DEBT COURT DATE
If you admit you owe the money or don’t show up on your first court date, they get a judgment. Ten days after the judgment, then they can get the garnishment.
(You have ten days to note your appeal; but to appeal you have to pay into court the amount of the judgment—that’s probably impossible for you to do.)
Around here, most people don’t show up, so they automatically plead guilty to owing the debt. Ignoring court papers is usually not a good idea. Especially not in Virginia, where the judges don’t lose sleep over whether you understood what was happening.
(A lot of people call the lawyer for the creditor and ask, do I have to come to court. And usually the answer to that is no—you don’t have to come to court. And it’s true—you don’t have to come to court. It’s just if you don’t come to court you plead guilty and they can start garnishing you in ten days.)
Most people who do show up, just plead guilty.
The judge says, “do you owe this money?”
“Yes, but I can’t pay it right now.” Judge, “OK, you can discuss it with that lawyer after court.”
Do that, and you just pled guilty! The ONLY judge who cares about whether you can pay is a bankruptcy judge. Bankruptcy judges worry full time about whether you can pay, so the other judges don’t have to worry about it at all. And they don’t.
If you go on a warrant in debt, you should tell the judge you are not admitting you owe the money and you need time to talk about it with a lawyer. Some judges will really crowd you to just plead guilty, but if you stand your ground they can’t make you. “Your honor, I want a trial.”
“YOUR HONOR, I WANT A TRIAL. AND I WANT A BILL OF PARTICULARS.”
When the judge calls your name, you need to step up behind one of the podiums (the one the collection lawyer isn’t using) and claim your rights under Virginia law (and also the Constitution.) “Your Honor, I want and trial. And I want a Bill of Particulars.” Your right to a trial is right there, on the Warrant in Debt form. See where it says, To dispute this claim, you must appear on the return date for the judge to set another date for trial. That’s what you are doing. You are disputing the claim and asking the judge to set another date for trial.
Right under that is place on the form for the Judge to order a Bill of Particulars. The Bill of Particulars is their proof that you owe the money, you owe it to them, and how much you owe. Sometimes they include a lot of that with the warrant in debt. Sometimes they don’t. But either way, it’s worth asking again.
YOUR WARRANT IN DEBT TRIAL
If you show up for your first court date, don’t plead guilty and do ask for a trial, you’ll get a trial date a month or two later. At the trial you need to stop the creditor from proving that you owe the money. So you should use that month or two to talk to a lawyer, get ready to fight them yourself, or maybe try to work out a payment schedule.
(If you want to work out a payment schedule, you want to show up for court and ask for a trial. That gives the lawyer for the creditor the idea that you know a little about your rights—and so the lawyer has some reason to be fair to you.)
If you plan to fight them at the trial—with or without a lawyer—you need to first file your grounds of defense. Your grounds of defense are the reasons you think you don’t owe the money. At your first court date, the judge will give you a date for your grounds of defense. Miss that, and, you just pled guilty.
(Virginia’s system makes it easy to plead guilty to owing the money. Ignoring the first court date—you just pled guilty. Showing up and admitting you owe the money—you just pled guilty. Missing your grounds of defense deadline—oops, you just pled guilty.)
So, if you send in your grounds of defense, then you have the right to show up for trial and defend yourself.
The creditor’s lawyer probably appears in that court on hundreds or thousands of cases each year. You’re there for the first time. That gives you an idea your chances of winning without a lawyer are not all that good.
Still you have a better chance if you are being sued by a debt collector—somebody you never heard of like Asset Acceptance, NCO, CG Services, Cavalry Portfolio—rather than being sued by the company you dealt with, like Ford Motor Credit, Bank of America or Fairfax Hospital. If you know how to object to their evidence and make them prove that they really own the debt, you have a chance of winning. (Here’s my blog on how Leslie beat a warrant in debt.)
If this debt has bounced around from debt collector to debt collector, you might also win on the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations means if they left you alone for too long, they are too late. But they are only too late if you say so. Statute of limitations is an affirmative defense—meaning you have to show up and argue it; the judge won’t raise it for you. (And you’d have to put it in your grounds of defense.)
How long is the statute of limitations? It depends. The original creditor, especially a credit card company, probably will produce a notice they claim they sent you where you agree that the law of some state you’ve never been to controls the statute of limitations; and they picked that state because it has a long one.
A debt collector, however, may not have any kind of notice, so then you are protected by Virginia’s statute of limitations. How long is that? Maybe three years, maybe five. (Sorry I can’t be more specific than that.) It depends.
GETTING SUED IN THE WRONG COUNTY
One way to get some leverage on your creditor is if they sue you in the wrong county. A debt collector—those guys like Asset Acceptance, NCO, CG Services, Cavalry Portfolio—they are required to sue you in the judicial district where you live. (Or where you signed the contract; meaning where you financed the car, for example.) In Northern Virginia, each county and Alexandria City is a judicial district. (Except Loudoun and Fauquier share a district.)
An original creditor who uses a lawyer is bound by the same rules. The have to sue you in your home county.
If you get sued in the wrong county, that’s a violation of the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. And you can sue them for violating your rights!
GETTING SUED BY CAPITAL ONE IN RICHMOND
Capital One sues nearly everybody in Richmond. (Or sometimes Henrico.) They can get away with that, because they don’t use a lawyer. However, you don’t have to just give up. And you don’t have to leave Northern Virginia at 5:00 AM driving down I-95 to get to Richmond at 8:30, either. On the back of the warrant in debt, lower left, it explains that you have the right to object to venue. If you follow those instructions and say you can’t get to Richmond and ask the judge to please move it to your home county, the judge will nearly always do it.
Then they will show up several weeks later in your home county, with a lawyer. And so you start from there.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET A WARRANT IN DEBT
You have some tough decisions. If the debt is something that you owe—and that you can afford to pay—you should pay it off. (No, they do not have to accept payment arrangements; by warrant-in-debt time you are way too late for that.)
If you don’t owe it—or are not sure—you should go to court, ask for a trial, and try to find a lawyer who will help with that kind of thing. (If you Google “Virginia debt defense lawyer,” one Manassas law firm comes up. Many lawyers who do this kind of work are members of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and you can check their website here.)
When you go on your first court day, and you tell the judge you want a trial, you should also ask for a “bill of particulars.” The bill of particulars is their writing proving that you do owe the money. That will give you some idea about how strong or weak their evidence is. If you then get a lawyer to help you, he will really want to study their bill of particulars.
If you owe the money but can’t pay, then it’s probably time to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. You can find out more about bankruptcy law in Virginia at this website. I’m Virginia bankruptcy lawyer Robert Weed.
IF I LOSE IN COURT CAN I STILL FILE BANKRUPTCY?
You can still file bankruptcy on most debts even after your trial on the warrant in debt. (You can’t file bankruptcy and discharge a debt for fraud–for example if they say proved you lied on your credit report, or stole the money.)
There are a couple reasons why its better to file the bankruptcy before. One is, after bankruptcy your credit report will still show that you had a judgment against you. That will make it a little harder to get back to good credit.
Second, the judgment may become a lien on your real estate. (Less likely if you own the real estate as husband and wife.) The bankruptcy may not be able to get the judgment off. It depends.
Third, if you wait until after your warrant in debt court date and you get garnished, you may not be able to get that money back. You sometimes can if you see a bankruptcy lawyer and file your bankruptcy fast enough.
So, if you are thinking about bankruptcy when you get a warrant in debt, its better to talk to a lawyer quickly.
Hope this is helpful. Good luck.
Thank you for your article. One question?? I have a warrant in debt, I do owe the money; however was out of work for 6 months and got behind on everything personal and business. I”m self employed in construction and can”t pay it right now and can not agree to the lawyers terms of $750 a month. Going to court 7/19 and dont know what is going to happen to me or my family. Thank you Ralph Riggleman
i inherited some property that has two ten year or so warrant in debt against it. How in the world do i go about finding who owns the warrant now. no one seems to know what I’m talking about when i try to find out. they tell me they don’t own them anymore, or they don’t keep records of such things etc., i’m at my wits end.
I’ve found that to be a tough one, too. Usually there’s a lawyer for the creditor on the warrant in debt. And that lawyer usually will know who you owe the money to. (How old are these. Judgments in Virginia expire after 20 years. Are you close to that? Or over it?)
We recently found out that my husband’s ex in-laws filed a Warrant in Debt in Lexington over (what we think) is money they feel owed to them for care of their grandson (my husband’s son). The only way we found out is that he got a call from Judge Judy! They wanted him to appear on TV. Questions:
1. We live in Austin, Texas, do we challenge venue?
2. We have not been served yet. I understand you have t be served at least 10 before the hearing? I checked the court site and there is no return of service on file. Hearing is set for 3/26 and obviously we just can’t afford to fly to VA for this ludicrous case.
If you actually haven’t been served, then of course you don’t need to do anything. Did they list your Austin address on the warrant in debt? Or did they list some Virginia address? It seems to me they don’t have Virginia jurisdiction, since you are not a business that does business in Virginia.
Can they say the “contract” was entered into in Virginia? Did your husband live in Virginia during the time this supposedly went on, whatever it was. Was there a divorce in Virginia?
They probably don’t have Virginia venue or Virginia jurisdiction and they probably don’t have service, either. Probably, probably, probably>
Is there a lot of money at stake?
A lawyer in Lexington might charge you $500 (I’m just guessing) to show up and object to venue and jurisdiction. Is that worth it? Don’t know. That’s why I’m glad I do bankruptcy and not family law.
They listed our address in Austin. I have been checking the court website for service information, but of course, there is none. My husband never lived in VA and was never divorced in VA. When his son went to live in VA with his grandparents, he lived in Rockville. From what Judge Judy’s producer left on my husband’s VM, it appears to be about $5,000. Of course, there is no contract, no agreement to pay his child’s grandparents for taking care of him.
I agree. I work as a paralegal in defense litigation in Texas and would never want to work in family law.
I assume if he is ever served, we would claim wrong jurisdication and have them sue him in Travis County, Texas.
Thanks so much for your help.
Mel- I know your case was almost 2 years ago but I have a very similar situation on my hands now.
I am being sued for a warrant in debt by my ex mother in law for driving my daughter (their granddaughter) to Texas. I am active duty military and have been a resident of Texas for a year now. I was curious what ever came of your case and if you found it legal to be sued in VA when you weren’t a resident of that state at the time the money was owed, etc.
Thank you and any info would be greatly appreciated.
A deputy showed up to my corporate office and tried to serve me, but I work in a different state. I told the deputy that I don’t work at that location and that the address used for service is incorrect. Does this mean the warrant cannot be served? Would the warrant have to be published in a newspaper to become valid?
I sure don’t like that YOU told the deputy that YOU don’t work there. That’s not something most people would say. I’m NOT giving you any advice.
How long does a creditor call you before you receive the warrant. What if you are still making monthly payments or partial payments? I am just trying to catch up. They did recommend the debt settlement one you slightly recommended on your blog. Thank you!
How long do they call before they send a warrant in debt? It depends on the creditor so I don’t have a very good guess. If they recommended Money Management, they would be good people to talk to if you are “just trying to catch up.” that’s the business they are in and they were set up by the credit card companies to help you do just that.
Hello Mr. Weed:
I have a question about request for change in venue. I was served with a WiD filed in Fairfax Co for a dental bill that I didn’t pay because they told me insurance would cover it but didn’t, however, I did sign the written contract in Fairfax Co. I now reside in Norfolk, VA. Can I request a change in venue to the City I currently reside?
A friend had a case agaist a company for payment and went to court.
The judge ordered payment in full. The check she was givin came back NSF 6 days after cashing. What are the choices other returning to court, can they just keep writing bad checks.
Now that she knows where their bank is, she can garnish them.
Is there any way to challenge a “warrant in debt” after the judgment has been made? My wife was sued by a creditor in 2009 and she was never served or at least did not receive notice of the suit. She has lived outside of Virginia for several years and the suit was filed long after she had left the state. The debt was for a lease on a house and the creditor only recently contacted her about the debt which, of course, now includes considerable interest. Had she known about the court date, should would certainly have asked for a trial. There is quite a long and sordid tale involving the landlord and the lease that may have impacted a judge’s decision. Is there anything we can do?
Thanks very much for you help.
To get the case reopened, it’s better if you can show two things. First, that she never got notice. And second, that she has a good defense.
Proof that she wasn’t in Virginia is where you need to start….kind of up to the judge how much he wants to know about her defense.
This being Virginia, the judge might not have required much of the long and sordid tale when he first granted the judgment. It could have been–she’s not here, ok you win.
I just received a warrant in debt- the only reason i got it it is because it was forwarded to our NEW address in PA. We no longer live in VA and that is the address that is showing on the warrant it says on the back they mailed a copy- nothing about doing in person, leaving at old address etc. Do i have any grounds for not serving it correctly?- this is capital one who is suing me for 900.00 which i do not have and it is showing as a charge off on my credit report (can they go back and sue you for a charge off?) It was sent to me- but I am wondering if they are able to take it from my husbands pay check? I am now a stay at home mom. We barely make ends meet so I am worried that they will take all the money from our paycheck or all the money in our account- we have a young daughter that needs to have her needs met and 1000.00 out of our account would depleat us- I am wondering if i should just drive back to VA and deny the debt to get more time? Sorry I had so many questions! Thanks in advance
Good questions. First the bad news. Yes, they can still sue you on a charge off. Charge off means they have taken a tax loss–but it doesn’t mean they can’t still try to collect it. I explain that more here. https://robertweed.com/blog/general-bankruptcy-law/bankruptcy-discharge-or-charge-off-whats-the-difference/.
The good news is No, they can’t sue you at your old address now that you have moved to PA. The trickier question is how do you tell the court that. (The sheriff SHOUILD go to your old address, and if you are not there, let the judge know. But that doesn’t always work that well.)
Here’s one idea–did you change your drivers license? Make a copy of the drivers license with a letter to the judge saying you are not in Virginia anymore. That should work.
Now they are going to try, probably, to look for you in PA. Besides forwarding your letter, the Post Office probably told them you new address.
How long has it been since you stopped paying?
The “charge off” doesn’t help you–but if they leave you alone too long, they are SOL. SOL stands for statute of limitations.
I co-signed a lease and the tennant was evicted. I donot have a godd defense at all. Iknow I owe the money. I have a trial date set for Feb 13 but will not have the money (8 months worth of rent 11,000) until i quit my job and cash in my accumlated vacation time until mid March. So, I need to move the trial date up to that time somehow and settle out of court with full payment so i atleast wont have judgement on my record. How is the best way to do it. My next warrant in debt court date is January 10 ( get them every month until end of lease contract) I d like to ask the judge then about moving the trial date up ALso, do the creditors have to agree to letting me pay this in full w/o a trial date so it wont be on my credit ? what ercourse do Ihave if they dont? Can i ask for a motion to remove the judgement and sue them? Thanks
You can ask. That’s all I can tell you.
A company gave us quote to perform some mold mediation work. We agreed to the work being done and were told that it might end up costing more than the quote. I told them not to perform any additional work without contacting me first. After the job was done I was presented with a bill for 50% more than the agreed upon price. No one ever contacted me to tell me the price would be more and I did not sign anything agreeing to that either. I tried to talk to owner of the company about it telling him I would happily pay the original agreed upon amount and not the overcharged amount, but he refused to discuss the issue. Today I received a warrant of debt in the mail from that company. Can a company do more work and increase a bill without a customer’s being aware of or agreeing to that?
Based on the way you explain it, you should win.
Be sure to show up on the return date and ask for a trial.
If you are talking about a lot of money, you should find a lawyer who does construction law.
You also need to keep in mind you never know what you will get when you go in front of a judge. And they contractor probably has some different explanation than you do.
Hello Mr. Weed, We filed Bankruptcy in VA in 2007 (Chapter 13) and then changed to a Chapter 7 in November 2008. We did not have the best attorney for the job and the person who handled everything in our case left in December of 2008, it was a nightmare. We were finally discharged in February of 2009. We had two vehicles a Mazda Tribute and a Ford Truck 2004 that was financed through lst Advange Federal Credit Union. First thing, the Mazda only made us pay back what was listed on the Bankruptcy paperwork and the Credit Union made us pay back exactly what we owed, it made no sense to us but at this time we were desperate and did not want to cause any problem so we reaffired both, although the Judge would not sign the paperwork for the Truck. We made every oayment on the Truck, we had one check returned for NSF but I immediately paid it right back to them. The collections, let’s call her Ms. B, could not stand us. Any little thing and she was after us if she could be. The next thing we know she had the truck repossed and their was nothing we could do. We were devastated. I called Ms. B and went over every payment with her and she stated we were ten days late with this last payment so she had it picked up. We then found out that for a total of 18 months she had not applied any of our payments to the principal just to the interest portion and this was paying 538.00 a month. So, after many arguments she said out of kindness she was applying $3,000.00 dollars to be taken off of the principal. This did us no good as we did not have the truck any longer. The truck went to auction we had no idea when. We finally received a notice from the Credit Union that we owed over 13,000.00 after auction, so they must have given it away and it was a beautiful truck low mileage and not a thing wrong with it, new tires and so on. We told them we would be glad to make payments and they said they would send us something in writing we never heard another word. We called them over ten times and still no word until we got the warrant in debt, We asked for a continuance as it was around Christmas and we needed to get our paperwork together to give to the Judge. Well, my husband got the flu and I am disabled and bedridden 95 percent of the time, cannot drive and so on. We called and left a message and never heard back. We then received a letter stating they did not want to garnish our wages so could we work something out. I have called three times and they still have not called back. The tenth day will be in three more days and I don’t know what to do. I will call again today but who knows. Do we have any recourse at all since we had filed backruptcy and the truck was listed and the Judge did not sign the reaffirmation? Also, I found the loanliner that was signed after the reaffirmation with our new interest rate and our signatures are signed under loss of life and disability and loss of job which I received SSI and VRS disability. Our signatures are very faint but they are their. I am sorry this is so long but wanted to give you the whole story to see if their is anything we can do at all?
Thank you so much for having such a wonderful website.
That’s why I tell people don’t reaffirm the cars.
A reaffirmation for a bank is not valid without the judge’s signature. But a reaffirmation with a CREDIT UNION is.
You are pretty much at their mercy. You have one really bad solution–you can file a Chapter 13 and pay all the court thinks you can afford for three years (five years if you are making too much) and at the end its gone. That’s a terrible solution, but it may be your best choice.
(Sometimes my clients really YELL at me because I hate car reaffirmations so much–this is an example of why.)
I moved from a different state and walked an apartment and realized there was an abnormal amount of stink bugs. They told me they would bomb my apartment and clean it. I moved in afterwards with a 2 month lease and the first night was HORRIBLE. There was a huge infestation. The next morning I went with my father and told the manager I couldn’t live like this and had asthma issues. She told us we could look at another apartment or terminate the lease and she would let me leave. We looked at another apartment which was FILTHY and decided to give it one more night which they bombed and cleaned the apartment again (2 nights total) but we turned in the keys the next day and said we would leave. My dad tried to contact the manager afterwards to obtain the deposit and she said she was busy or out.
Almost a month later they said I still owe the two months rent and that I broke the lease. the manager and staff deny that she said I could leave. I wrote a letter to the owner and faxed it with a fax confirmation saying what happened, it was unethical, and that I don’t intend to pay and need my deposit back.
6 months later I just got a Warrant for Debt without any notice beforehand or anything. Do I have a case? I need to get a lawyer. I know I should have gotten it in writing that she said I could leave. 🙁
Thank you so much for your help in advance.
You laid out some good facts. I think you should definitely see a lawyer, to help make sure your prove them.
This is an excellent article. One question
My colleague father who was vising US got the
“Warrant in Debt” for the unpaid hospital bill when he had emergency during one of the visit. WID was sent when they return back to their country. Can they visit US again? What happen next ?
Yes they can visit the country again. What happends next? Well their either pay or don’t pay. If they don’t pay there aren’t any US assets to garnish, are there?
I am a resident of a community governed by a HOA in Northern Virginia. My HOA payments have been made via automatic payment from my bank. The HOA’s management company keeps claiming that it is not receiving them on time, but has returned two payments to my bank PRIOR to their due date. I have argued, in writing, that I should not be liable for late fees on payments that they clearly received on time and then returned to my bank, clearly showing that they are receiving the payments on time. I have provided these people with copies of the bank’s notices that the payments were returned to them. I have asked them to provide me with some sort of explanation as to why I should believe the payments to them are not received in a timely manner when every other automatic payment to every other payee is. They do not respond to my specific requests, but just keep sending bills for the late fees.
Of course, I have stopped using automatic payment of these HOA fees. I am now sending a handwritten check so that I have a photocopy of the cancelled check. However, I refuse to pay late fees for payments that show on my bank statements as being sent out 8-9 days before they were due.
The management company is now suing me for late fees and attorney costs to collect the late fees. Are my bank statements valid proof of timely payments made? I have provided copies of these statements to the HOA board of directors, the management company, and the HOA’s lawyer. The lawyer sent me a letter stating that the board of directors had waived some of the late fees, but that they still expect me to pay the rest of the late fees and to pay the lawyer’s fees. The HOA board of directors and the management company have not responded to me at all.
Since my bank statements show that every payment was timely sent, isn’t this proof of payment? If I win in court, can they require me to pay the HOA’s lawyer fees? I checked the county district court records and have seen that this same lawyer has filed many suits against HOA members on behalf of our HOA. I am beginning to suspect that there is some kind of scam going on here. Any thoughts?
It sounds like you have good records and are on top of your affairs.
Obviously you want to go to court, ask for a trail, and then testify and show the judge your evidence.
If you win on the issue that you are NOT late, then the judge will not make you pay the HOA’s attorneys fees.
If a lot of money, or principle, is at stake, you might want to get a lawyer to help you. I don’t do that kind of thing; my blog includes reference to the NACA website, http://naca.net/. Toward the bottom of this website, http://warrant-in-debt.com/, there are links to a few lawyers who do that kind of work around here.
I have two debts with American Express under a company (LLC) and were initiated using a EIN. They currently have issued me in my personal name a Warrant in Debt. Is this possible, since I originally opened the accounts under an LLC? Both companies are no longer viable. What are my options? Thx
Amex puts in their form in the small print that you agree you owe the money personally.
If you get a lawyer and fight them in court you MIGHT be able to block them from showing that. Because they really do NOT keep their paperwork. You’ll need a lawyer to use the rules of evidence to block them when they say, “well, we always put that in.” Then it would still depend on the judge, and on how hard Amex decides to fight.
What are bankruptcy options for a husband and wife that owe money for an accident but one partner filed for bankruptcy as an individual two years ago? Also, are there debt considerations that go into garnishments, such as housing, transportation, tuition etc…?
Assuming the accident was AFTER the 2011 bankruptcy, you want to see if you can outrun the problem for another two years. You can get a discharge in a chapter 13 four years after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy was filed. Chapter 13 would be aimed at making a lower payment that what you’d have to pay on the accident. The person who did NOT file the chapter 7 could go ahead and file a Chapter 7 now.
IF you end up getting garnished on the accident sooner than four years after the chapter 7 was filed, you could file a Chapter 13 that would NOT get a discharge but would hold down the payment. Depending on what you can do and how fast the person in the accident is going after you, you might need to mix and match strategies.
Hello, I have a question.. I lived in a apartment for about two years I lost my job my attorney I worked for stopped practicing for medical reasons. SO as soon as that happen I contacted my rental office and told them I could no longer afford the rent because I knew it was going to take awhile to get a job. SO i moved out and moved., They took me to court saying I owed money it was continued then dismissed I never even got a notice for the second court case. Now i was served with with a Warrant in Debt for after i moved and paying rent after I moved out. I really do not know what to do. I will not lie i didn’t understand what I was doing at the time but when I moved I signed and told them I would give them a 60 days notice before moving but that day I moved out the apartment. I think that is where I messed myself up at. SO now I owe 1700 plus and I just recently moved out of VA now I live in PA. SO when I go to court I am going to ask for a trial. They already have a lien on my Virginia Bank Account. I cannot afford a attorney I cannot even afford to take care of myself right now.
It does not sound like you can beat that landlord in Virginia, although maybe a lawyer who does just landlord tenant work would have some ideas.
I don’t understand exactly what you are telling me about them already having a lien on your bank account. It seems to me you should be able to use your Virginia “homestead” to get that money back, if it’s enough that matters. But not seeing the papers I don’t know what to tell you about that.
My basic advice–from now on keep your money in a bank that no one would expect to look for. And when you are working and rebuild your income, talk to a bankrutpcy lawyer.
I have a warrant in debt from a local credit union. The debt in question was signed for in the state of Florida where I own ahomesteaded home. I reside part time in Virginia and rent an apartment here. My home in FL is under contract with a closing date pending so recently I changed my drivers license to VA as well as my voter registration. Should the law suit be in the state of Florida?
I appreciate your help with this matter so much.
They can sue you in the state where you signed the papers–that would be Florida. They can also sue you where you reside. Sounds like that’s Virginia. You can try to fight it, but ………..
I have a warrant in debt for medical bill for one of my kids. My separation/divorce agreement says that my ex-husband is responsible for medical bills for the kids. He lives in Miami and Brazil and has never been here when the paperwork needs signed at the Dr’s office so I have been the one to sign all paperwork. His insurance did not pay for the visits and I sent all bills to him as he requested. BUT he did not pay them and so now I have received this warrant in debt. Should I attend the hearing and argue my case (ask for trial) or should I just suck it up and go after ex-husband in small claims court?
Your divorce/separation agreement is just between you and your husband. That means that it’s no help for you against the doctor. The doctor is still allowed to come after you. You then have the right to come against your ex. (Unless you told the doctor that he had to go after your ex; and the doctor agreed. That doesn’t sound like what happened.)
So I don’t think you have any defense when you attend the hearing. But if you show up and ask for a trial, it does give you a little more time to pay those bills, without hurting your credit worse with a judgment.
As to what you should do about your ex, first of all I’m glad I don’t do divorce law. But I think you should talk to your divorce lawyer to see if you can go after the ex in divorce court. I’m guessing you have more ways to beat up on him for not paying if you go there.
I was in a car accident in July of 2008 where I was run off the road and hit a guard rail my insurance refused to pay the bill to the state of Va. for the guard rail they said there is a law that they don’t have to pay that has to do with phantom vehicle They sent me the bill in Nov.2008 . on Aug 7th 2013 they got a warrant in debt against me I was mailed the papers on Aug 21 2013 to be in court on Oct 17 2013. is there a statue of limitations on this kind of filing .and what do I need to do about my insurance company that I don’t have insurance with them anymore.
Sorry I don’t have any answer to either of your good questions. Don’t know what the statute of limitations is for the State of Virginia going after you for highway damage in a car accident. And I don’t know what you should do to get your insurance to cover you. Car accident law is something I know zero about.
I just received a WID for delinquent non-payment of my townhouse HOA in PWC. I am delinquent due to my unemployed status for the last 17 months and my financial support dwindling to nothing. I am currently working on getting the townhouse on the market, hopefully by next week. Not knowing at this time whether or not I’ll even sell it, much less break even on what I owe, or even less, make a profit; if I end up filing bankruptcy on the house and the rest of my (credit card) debts, can this WID/HOA payments be dismissed? I had heard that HOA dues are exempt from bankruptcy status. Also, if I can borrow the money to pay off the HOA (just under $600), can I pay it without going to court? There doesn’t seem to be any option of that in the paperwork I have (WID). Thank you.
If you end up having to file bankruptcy, the bankruptcy wipes out all the HOA that you are BEHIND. If you still own the townhouse, each month after that is an after-bankruptcy debt.
If you pay them off, then they SHOULD at the court say you are current and therefore they have to withdraw their warrant-in-debt. Sometimes they are sloppy about that, so I recommend if you pay them show up at court anyway so you can say you are current in case they forget.
It’s up to you, but I’d be real nervous about borrowing to pay them off, if you’ve been out of work for 17 months. The important thing in your life is being able to eat and having a place to sleep until you get work. You really need a survival strategy, and this warrant-in-debt is a warning that it’s time to work one out.
Morning. I have been unemployed for 4 yrs. and am working with a disability advocate for SSDI. I have no income & am being helped by a friend & family w/shelter, food & medicines. I fell down some stairs in nov. 2012 & got injured serverly. Was sent by the 1st hosp. I went to, to the trauma unit in another for 4 days & they only let me out because I asked them since I didn’t have insurance & could just see the cost in my head going up & up. All the other medical people have been understanding & know that I’ve also filled out forums from the hospital for help w/the bills. I was home about 3 days when I got the 1st bill from the anestheolygist.. They were called on 12/20/2012 & told what I was trying to do to get help. I couldn’t talk because I had broken my jaw in 2places, no teeth, cut under my neck to repair & put plates & screws in my jaw. Now I have recevied in the mail a WID from an attorneys office to go to court in Norfolk,VA. Is there anything I can do? I don’t want a judgement againist me. I can’t promise any definite amt. of monthly payment. Also when it was mailed by the time I got it it’s just a few days from the court date. What do I do?
Well, you always want to go to court and ask for a trial. Then you need to go talk to a bankrutpcy lawyer. You need to go over your complete situation with a lawyer, but from what you told me, it seems very likely that you have bankruptcy eligibility without any problems.
But a good bankruptcy would also talk to you about whether doing nothing will work for you. When these people with their warrant in debt get a judgment against you, they will try to garnish you. It does not sound like there’s anything they can garnish. (They would also attach a lien on your house–you didn’t mention having a house, so I’m thinking there might not be one.)
People file bankrutpcy for three reasons. So the creditors quit calling; so they can’t garnish, and to get back to good credit. If there’s nothing they can garnish, that problem goes away. If you don’t expect to be able to go back to work, then you are never going to get good credit anyway. And if you tell them you are disabled and write them to stop calling, that will eventually go away, too.
Again you need to go over your complete picture with a lawyer, but from what you have told me here, you have two good options. Filing bankruptcy, or doing nothing.
Yes Sir you are correct. I own nothing anymore.Have no money @ all. No checking, savings, etc. I’m in the process of trying to get SSDI & social services to help me get /food stamps, medicaid etc. If I go to court then they’ll put a judgment againist me & if I don’t go they still will right? What happens if I don’t go since they’re going to do it anyway? Should I try to talk to the lawyer by phone today? I’m terrified of going to jail. I can’t afford a lawyer right now. Maybe when I get my SSDI I can get a lawyer to help w/the judgement. I’m just so scared!
A good bankruptcy lawyer will give you a free consultation; and if doing nothing would work for you, there should be no charge. At least that’s the way I do it, but you’re in Norfolk and my closest location is Stafford.
Thank you so very much Mr. Weed. You have eased my mind. It’s nice to have people like you that will head people like myself in the right direction. Again, I thank you.
Good morning, My problem is with yearly campground dues/fees. My wife and I own a campground lot in Va. but we have always lived in Md. We were current until we declared Chapter 7 in 2012 and our debt was discharged in March of 2013. Dues were accessed on Nov. 2012. We feel that this debt should have been erased. They have now hired a collection agency to collect the debt. I’m worried that a warrant in debt is the next step. They have filed a lien against the property, so we can’t sell it or even give it away (value of property is about $2000). They refuse to take the property back. We have no access to the property because of non payment of dues and all utilities are cut off. We cannot afford to pay the $1250 per year dues. The way this looks is we will be liable for these fees for the rest of our lives. Would not paying the property tax and having it sold at auction fix this? Thank you.
Yes, the short answer if you will be liable for that property for the rest of your lives. Having it sold for non payment of the property tax would fix it, but I don’t see the county selling it because I don’t think they could get anything for it. I hope I’m wrong about that, but I’d be surprised.
In 2009, I had a Warrant in Debt mailed to me two days before the court date and I lived out of state. I attempted to vacate the judgement by writing in my response and mailing it via certified mail to the court and the plaintiff, but I never heard anything back from it. The judgement was granted against me.
Fast forward to today. It’s my understanding that the Statute of Limitations for debts of my type (finance contract) is five years. So, five years from the judgement date, would I be able to vacate the judgment since the debt would be unenforceable?
I haven’t had any contact with the court or the plaintiff since then. My objective here is to void the judgement to improve my credit report. I am also morally opposed to the debt itself, even though I am financially responsible.
What do you recommend I do?
The statute of limitations is how long they have to SUE you. Since they did sue you, the statute of limitations no longer applies. Sorry. Judgments expire if they are not renewed. I don’t know but I think that’s ten years.
On 22 OCT I received a warrant in debt notice with a return date of 20 NOV for non-payment of HOA fees. I contacted the associated law firm who handed me off to a paralegal to whom I left a voice mail on 22 OCT that I wanted to pay amounts owed immediately and to let me know what that was. The paralegal did not respond even after subsequent attempts. Finally, on 25 OCT I went to the law firm and paid via personal check amount owed to the HOA ($1200+) as specified on the warrant but did not pay legal fees since they were not on the warrant and I could not obtain the legal fee information from the non-responsive paralegal or the law firm when I walked in on 25 OCT. On 1 NOV, I received a letter proposing settlement ( postmarked 28 OCT but dated 24 OCT ) from the law firm stating that I owed $500 in legal fees on top of what I already paid on 25 OCT. The $500 included $100 fee for the settlement letter itself and $100 for the drafting of a Lien Memorandum drafted on 18 OCT (Same day notice of Lien was drafted).
I have paid the HOA fees and am willing to pay all reasonable attorney’s fees. However the 2 – $100 fees I question as reasonable. To me, the two fees were unnecessary and appear to be a built-in $200 set of fees that one can not get out of absent going to court and risking a negative judgement. It just seems manipulative and unethical. Assuming my HOA requires me to pay attorney’s fees when collecting HOA dues, is it reasonable for the collecting law firm to:
1. Charge $100 for the settlement letter when all could have been provided me verbally without a settlement letter and I would have paid amount owed on 22 OCT before the settlement letter was even drafted on 24 OCT?
2. Charge $100 to draft the Lien Memorandum when the draft will not be needed once I pay all reasonable fees weeks before the return date?
3. If I go to court after having paid all what is owed but for these 2 charges, do I also risk having to pay the additional court costs the law firm incurs for me disputing these two charges?
4. How does one go about disputing legal fees that a law firm charges when collecting on a debt that one believes unreasonable without exposing themselves to an unfairly proportional amount of risk? Should one just pay the amount noting protest and subsequently sue in small claims court? Or should one pay the amount and subsequently complain to VBA ethics committee? What are some options?
I would say that there’s no telling what a judge would do with that. The judge can award reasonable attorneys fees. I have no idea what that judge on that day would say is reasonable. Sorry.
Hi Mr. Reed,
I have a question. Just this past week I had the sheriff deliver a warrant in debt to a contractor who totally screwed up my lawn. I have a signed contract of what he was suppose to do but didn’t. That is not the issue here.
This warrant was returned!! I got the address from the SCC to use to send to his home of record (bus address) and when I queried the clerk she said the sheriff said the person that answered the door said he there is no one by that name that lives here so the warrant was returned and my case was continued. After some extensive research all the indications lead right back to the original address.
I keep hearing about the sheriff will stick the warrant to the door but in this case he didn’t. This is a corp I am suing so I don’t know if that makes a difference or not. The clerk said it had to be handed directly to the agent/owner. Is this true? We are talking about a warrant in debt and not a civil warrant here. I would just like to get some clarification on this. I also have a picture of this owner that I can provide the sheriff next time so he can recognize the individual he is speaking too. I have a feeling that he had spoken to him the first time but he had lied to the sheriff. What other trouble can this owner get into by lying to the sheriff?
Thanks for your help on this matter.
I look for your reply.
Besides getting the Sheriff to serve the papers, you could pay a private process server. I use Marston. Their info is here. http://www.mai-va.com/ that might get you a better result. Not sure.
Thanks I will follow up on that.
Have a good evening.
Just paid a warrent in debt over the phone before the court date. The Collection company said I am responsible for the court costs, I said I’m not paying as we have not been to court and no judgment was granted. The Collection agency said “We will still send you a letter to collect the cost to file the warrant” Was I correct or do I actually have to pay them for a choice they made?
You need to go to court–you need to go to court! Otherwise you are gonna get a judgment for whatever they think you owe that you didn’t pay. If you go to court you can see what the judge thinks and pay it on the spot! so there’s no judgment.
Hi, I have received my summons and have not responded. I have tried to pay my debt off but with my job cutting back hours I wasn’t able too. Now I have a garnishment against me. It is my debt and I tried to pay it off.
I’m hoping they can extend my court date I can get the money just not right know. I’m waiting for tax season. How much of my pay check can they garnish. Also can I ask them to extend the court date
The court date on a garnishment is the stop date–NOT the start date. So if they garnished you where you’re working now, your next paycheck is going to be short. (They will take 25% of your take home pay.)
I’m a bankruptcy lawyer so maybe I’m biased, but I think you need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
Hi is there a certain amount of money you need to make for it to be garnished? I am disabled and owe a massive amount of debt. I just recently got a job that is usually 1 day a week so I don’t make but 300 or less at my job. Can the people I owe garnish such a small amount? Because that’s not even living wage.
Right! they cannot garnish your pay if you make less than thirty hours times the minimum page. Since you are only getting eight hours, you are probably ok unless you are making more than $29.00 an hour. Now they could still hit your bank account!
Hi, I just received, by mail, a WID, for a dental bill I never received(it’s from 2/2009). I made the co payment at the time of the visit. The date listed on the bill is the week I moved from my previous place of residence, to a new one. I have such little in the terms of “important” mail, I just changed my address with everyone, never had my mail forwarded to me. Also on my summons, they listed my phone number incorrectly and I have had the same number for 7 years. I do owe the amount and I would have paid it, if I was aware of it. What should I do from here?
Thank you so much,
I’m not sure what you want to do. If you want to pay it you can and should pay it–I’d make sure the lawyers knows if was paid so you don’t accidentally get a judgment after paying.
If you need a little time, be sure to go to court and ask for a trial–that will get you a few more months to get the money together.
If you are mad that they waited so long, you can argue that they are too late–statute of limitations–and you might win on that.
Hello, Mr. Weed . I’m waiting on Bill of Particulars from the Plaintiff. when submitting my grounds of defense do i have to provide all my evidence? i have proof over charging my insurance company when they were not making progress in their services and to continue billing me for copays..
I don’t think it’s required, but it wouldn’t hurt. The judge MIGHT actually look at it before the trial date.
I received a warrant in debt from a creditor three weeks ago, and have not yet received one from the sheriffs dept.Don’t I have to get one from them as well?
Well you are supposed to get on taped to your door by the Sheriff. Of course you have no way to know whether it blew off, or got taped to the wrong door. So you don’t know for sure whether you have to show up on that court date or not–I certainly wouldn’t take the chance of NOT showing up–without talking to a lawyer in person first. And having the lawyer look at the courthouse records and also looking at the warrant in debt you got in the mail to see if it looks fishy for some reason.
I received my WID last week. My court date is 1/24. I’m terrified. It says that I owe a hospital over $3,000. I was out of work, and was receiving Medicaid during this time, I believe. I’m pretty sure that debt is over two, or three years old. I don’t want to be garnished. Should I try finding a bankruptcy lawyer?
Yes. You should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
I just received at WID in the mail for a debt with USA Discounters. I was in the military and stationed in DC. I am now out of the service and back in Indiana. I’m currently unemployed (not that it matters to them) and there’s no way I would be able to even appear on the court date. What should I do?
Well is this your only debt or are you in other financial problems. If you have a lot of debt, you need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer there in Indiana. Maybe not while you are out of work, but when you have some income to protect.
Also, there chances of keeping up with you are not good, so you could offer to settle with them. Again when you have some money. Especially if this is your biggest debt problem.
Just mailing the warrant in debt by itself is NOT enough to legally bring you into court. They need papers from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. You can read more about that here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_of_process_in_Virginia.
If you want to fight it–don’t know if you can–you could talk to a lawyer in Norfolk to show up for you. (Are they going after you in Norfolk? Usually they do.)
Is there some place you can warn other military people to stay away from USA Discounters…
Those are my only ideas.
Sorry, for the late response. I have some other debts, but nothing serious. The debt to USA Discounters is for $1700. I don’t have money for an attorney right now. The WID is from the Norfolk court. I should probably start with contacting the sharks USA Discounters…
Is it true that if i don’t call the sheriff office to pick up a warrant in debt that was delivered at my place of employment they can get a bench warrant against me?
I’m sure not going to tell you what a paper means that I have NOT seen.
How do you know it’s a warrant in debt if you didn’t pick it up? It could be anything. Here’s how I explain what you can get arrested for. https://robertweed.com/2011/03/26/before-bankruptcy-can-i-go-to-jail-if-i-ignore-this-summons/.
You are an idiot if you do NOT picvk up a per and then decide what to do based on what you THINK the paper is.
Can we pay the amount stated owed in the warrant in debt to the clerks office prior to the first court date to avoid judgment on record. An individual with whom we have had no contact with for a while has filed a warrant in debt.
The clerks office does NOT want to handle the money. If you have no contact with the individual show up on the court date with the money and pay in front fo the judge. That way there’s no mistake.
i received a bankruptcy letter from a law office but do not want to file bankruptcy . i have a bill for henrico doctors apparently that started at 6700 but was never informed of such they have been garnishing my wages to the point i can not afford anything but a babysitter and my car insurance i never received anything in the mail on my door or on the phone but have a court date in a different county in which i live what can i do
If you can’t pay your bills, you need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Filing bankruptcy is what honest people do when they can’t pay….You tell me you don’t want to do that, but how do you think you can pay them?
I do have some info about getting garnished in the wrong county. That’s here. But if they are after you in the county where you went to the Doctor, then they aren’t in the wrong county. https://robertweed.com/2014/01/02/virginia-garnishment-law-article-virginia-bankruptcy-law-news/
My wife is party to a lease agreement for a vacation lease in Nassau Bahamas but is run by a corporation in VA. Jurisdiction for disputes is Henrico County District Cout.
She signed the lease in 1997 with her husband at the time. I am not a signatory on any of the lease documents.
There are a lot of problems with the resort company and they have been sued by many and sued many. It looks like judgements have gone for and against the various plaintiffs and defendents. Maintenance fees and special assessments have become exorbitant and without any justification. Previously they would charge assessments, which were paid, but were not used for the stated purpose. I also just found out that they recently terminated their registration with the VA Community Interest Board which seems to a major material change to the agreement/public offering statement my wife received back in 1997..
Due to varous issues we want to get out ot the contract or settle with the resort company. However, they have already threatened legal and collection action when we asked what the special assessment was to be used for and they had responded they will not and do not have to tell us.
My question is this, since I am not a signature party to any of the agreements, would a potential warrant in debt and potential garnishments only be against my wife or would I be included in any warrantsgarnishments as her husband??
Under Virginia law, they can’t hold you for your wife’s bill–unless its a necessary medical, which this obviously is not. You didn’t tell me where you are and in some states the debts of one are the debts of both husband and wife. Don’t know if they could enforce that against you if they sued in Virginia.
Thank you for this article Mr. Weed.I recently received a warrant in debt.When I looked to see who was suing me it was to my surprise that it was my mother!!I am a college graduate and my mother cosigned my sallie mae student loans.When I was in highschool she reassured me that I did not have to worry about the loans and that she would “take care of” and “help me with” the student loans as she has done for my brothers and sisters (who did not graduate) .My father is willing to testify on my behalf because he was there during the conversation.We resently had had a family dispute and now she has filed action against me.Sallie mae is not the only student loans i have I also have them with Great Lakes which is only in my name and in good standing.Great Lakes has temporarily given me a income based foreberance.Neither loan has been defaulted.I am currently looking for a better job so I can start making payments .Does she have a good case?
Wow. I could not give advice on that family mess without a lot more details. You need a lawyer to look at the papers your mother has sent to the court.
I received a Garnishment Summons in the mail today from a law firm representing a company that has been trying off and on to collect on a debt that is well past the statute of limitations as I understand it in Va. So after searching online about Garnishment Summons I searched the Hampton District Court website and find that there was a Warrant in Debt filed, and judged, against me in 2006??
First, I don’t recall getting a letter about this Warrant in Debt or being legally served.
Second, the debt in question would be well beyond the statute of limitations in Va. so how can they have gotten either the Warrant in Debt or a Garnishment Summons?
Third, how long can a company that won a judgement wait to enact a garnishment? I have been ignoring these random letters from this company since before 2006 because the debt was already past the statute of limitations.
Lastly, what do I do now? I don’t think I can afford a lawyer to represent me if I have to go to court, and I most certainly can’t afford to have my wages garnished. Especially for a debt that should be legally dead.
Welcome to Virginia. Once they have a judgment they have a new ten year statute of limitations. Your only remedy, besides filing bankruptcy, is to show you never got notice of the court date in 2006. (And then that you would have won because the SOL had already run.) Not sure how you can go about that.
Mr. Weed: I have a question and I hope I don’t confuse you too much. I am being sued in Virginia by my ex mother in law for a warrant in debt of $1,400.00 with 6% interest. She is suing me for driving my daughter (her granddaughter) down to Texas back in June. I am active duty military stationed in Texas and have been so since March of last year. She had me served at my mom’s house when I was in Virginia for Christmas leave visiting my family.
Is she able to sue me in Virginia when I wasn’t a resident of the state at the time the supposed debt occurred? Was the fact that I was served at my parent’s house when it wasn’t my residence but simply just a place I was visiting also legal?
The court date was supposed to be in January but I have gotten a continuance until June. At this time I will be expected to fly to VA for court just to come back and then PCS (move) to Washington state. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
As long as you were in Virginia when you were served, you are probably served. Still a question about Virginia jurisdiction. Did the events have some connection to Virginia? Did she drive your daughter from Virginia (!) down to Texas. Was your mother-in-law in Virginia when you made this promise to pay her, if there was one. So service in Virginia is good; Virginia jurisdiction may be good.
I’m answering maybe to those questions, because lawyers who fight that kind of thing know more about it than I do.
There may also be a problem with the soldiers and Sailors Relief act, and you should talk to the JAG office on your base about that.
You need to either pay this lady, or follow up what I’ve been telling you, talk to your JAG office and then get a lawyer in Virginia who knows about this kind of thing. I’m glad that my website is some help to you but as I say, I’m a bankruptcy lawyer.
One reason a like being a bankruptcy lawyer is I’m only rarely dragged into this kind of family squabble.
I have a warrant in debt that I believe I do owe, how do I go about paying it? Is there a way to just pay it before the court date?
Yes, you can contact the lawyer and pay them. However, collection lawyers have an enormous volume of cases and there’s some small danger they will get mixed up and get a judgment against you anyway.
While the risk is small, it’s slightly safer to talk in advance to make sure they agree on the amount but show up with it in certified funds on the court day, so there’s no mix up. Whether that extra effort is really needed, is up to you.
I need some advice. My husband has received a warrant in debt for an account we got a little behind on. They said the court date is 5/13/14 in Virginia Beach, VA however the account I opened the debt is Killeen,TX which I still live in Texas. He has not lived in Virginia at all. How can they get him in the State in which he didn’t open the account? Can they legally do that?
They might have some explanation, but it doesn’t look right to me. Is this USA Discounters?
Yes it is
How did a I guess? USA Discounters are a not nice guys.
If they can get a judgment against you in Va Beach, then yes they could garnish you in Texas.
Can they get a judgment? Well if the transaction did NOT take place in Virginia, and if he doesn’t live in Virginia, and doesn’t do business in Virginia, then legally they cannot get a judgment.
BUT, how do you stop them?
If there was a lawyer involved for USA Discounters, you’d have some leverage. It would be an FDCPA violation (as well as a legal ethics problem) for a lawyer to sue you in a court where you had no connection. And plenty of consumer lawyers would be glad to help you with that, because you’d get maybe $1000 and your lawyer could make their layer pay your legal fees.
(Take a look at the warrant in debt you got. I’m betting there’s no lawyer listed there.)
However, the Virginia General Assembly allows a corporation–like USA Discounters–to file the FIRST set of papers in a case without a lawyer. http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+16.1-88.03. If you appear and answer, and ask for a bill of particulars, then USA Discounters would need a lawyer. And you could sue that lawyer for going after you in the wrong court.
In order to get to that point, you need to show up on the May 13 return date. It’s a long drive from Killeen Texas to Va Beach. (1,459 miles, to be exact.) Or get a lawyer in the Beach to show up for you.
On the back of the warrant-in-debt, if you flip it over, on the lower left, it talks about Objection to Venue. It tells you that you can write an Objection to the judge, if you think they have sued you in the wrong county. Based on what you told me, that SHOULD work.
SHOULD is not a sure thing. Maybe the judge won’t see your letter. Maybe USA Discounters has some argument based on some facts you haven’t told me. Getting a lawyer to show up for you would be safer–I don’t know if there’s enough money involved here to be worth it.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. You’d be safer to contact a lawyer in Va Beach who does that kind of work, but I’ve given you what I know.
Can they garnish his wages? If we live in Texas not Virginia
New study on debt buyers just out from the Center for Responsible Lending. They explain why debt buyers can rarely if ever have the necessary documents to stand up in court–IF you show up and know how to fight them. http://www.responsiblelending.org/state-of-lending/reports/11-Debt-Collection.pdf.
Read this and you’ll understand why you should NOT BE EMBARRASSED to go to court and ask for a trial.
I received a Warrant in Debt. I do not owe the money. I ordered a re-manufactured engine and paid for it up front with a credit card. I was told that it was in stock, which it wasn’t. I was then given 3 different ship dates, none of which resulted in a delivery of the engine. The third time, I was given a Bill of Lading from the shipping company which showed a pick-up date. I checked with the shipping company, and they had not picked anything up on the date claimed. I called my bank on day 28 after I paid for the engine, and disputed the charge on my credit card. The bank credited me for the charge and the interest. Three days later, the engine arrived. I had my mechanic refuse it. It was then sent back to the company that I TRIED to buy it from.
So they got their engine back, and I got my money back. NOW they are suing me for an amount less than the total price of the engine. Shipping was listed as free on my invoice, so it’s not for shipping.
The way I see it, i don’t owe them anything. I have to drive across the state to address their suit against me. I have documentation of everything (call dates, delivery promise dates, etc.) and written records from the shipping company.
In any crazy alternate world, do I owe these clowns any money? I paid for everything up front, and only after 4 lies and 3 missed delivery dates and 28 days of letting them hold my money did I act to protect myself.
Your advice is greatly appreciated, sir.
My advice is you better drive across the state to contest it–or hire a lawyer where they are suing you. Or both. I know you hate to do that, but that’s what lawyers are for.
I understand I have to go to court at least twice, first time to answer Yes or No to the question “Do you owe the money?” and second time (When I say “No”) to fight the case. Any idea what an attorney may cost to help me with this? Also, I understand that I have to appear personally for the first court date. Is that correct, or can an attorney represent me?
An attorney could appear for you both times.
Don’t know what somebody would charge you. Jason Krumbein does that kind of work around the Richmond area. http://www.krumbeinlaw.com/practice-areas/collection-lawsuit-defense/. He could be one person to call, depending where in Virginia you are.
On this website you mention that if the original creditor uses a lawyer, they have to sue you in your home county. The agreement I signed said I agree to having any suit filed in their home county, BUT it says all of this if the money isn’t paid. The money was paid up front and I have a receipt. The merchandise was later returned to them, and my bank credited my card for the money. So, is that agreement no longer in force, meaning they have to sue me in my home county?
I don’t know the answer to that….sorry.
Thank you for your help. I’ll check into Jason Krumbein.
My WID shows service date of 5/22/14 and court date of 6/27. Do I have to respond within 3 weeks of 5/22, or do I just go to court on 6/27?
You got to show on the court date.
Good evening – I have a couple of questions. I just received a WiD that was mailed, not hand delivered or taped to the door-does that change anything? And it is for negligently operating a motor vehicle, in another city that I haven’t been to, for $25,000. I have no idea what this is?!
We’ll it could be somebody else of the same name. Or somebody who somehow stole your id and then got into a car accident. They are required to mail one and also to bring one to your door, but I would NOT wait for that. The place to start is probably calling the lawyer for whoever was in the accident–and see if it’s easy to straighten out. Unless it clears up immediately you should notify your insurance, even if you are sure it wasn’t you.
My step-mother (Dad’s girlfriend for 18+ years) just recieved a Warrant in Debt for ME (never lived there a day in my life and my dad has a different last name and is not on my birth certificate) in VA from someone, it does not say who is going after me (it sais online that the Plaintiff is the Deputy Treasurer of Westmorland.
The envelope was HAND written and was left on her porch (not on her door)
I have been in a different state for almost 4 yrs now.
1.) Is there a way to find out what it is about?
2.) If they technically never “served” it to me is it even feasible?
3.) If I call the court house to find out info do I have to provide any info of where I live now to them?
I am at a loss as to what to do because the only info online and in the letter is Court date and that its a Continuance and that the plaintiff was the county deputy treasurer.
I’m guessing that it’s an unpaid Virginia personal property “car tax.” Or a gross receipts tax if you used to have a small business in Westmoreland.
Figuring out how to say “I’m not at that address” without giving your actual address is always very tricky. Sorry, but I don’t have a solution for you. You should probalby have the family that does live there write back to the courthouse saying you don’t live there and never have. But that may not be enough.
It is SCARY how easy it is to get a computer search of anybody’s possible relatives. And make collection calls–or even send court papers–to distant connections. Sometimes just to smoke you out; and sometimes to get default judgments based on obviously bad service.
Hello Sir. I just have a simple question. I was mailed a WID from Discover. However, I am not working. I was laid off in December. I have NO income whatsoever. What would be the smartest thing to do? I have a checking account with nothing available, and I have a car. These are the only things I own. My court date is next month.
You need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer in your area. Obviously, no income is your most important problem. Can’t pay your debts is second. Distant second at this point.
But you should have a plan about what to do about the debts, when you get some income back. You need a financial recovery plan.
Hi! First of all thanks so much for this! Last year (I believe in August? in a prior suit, a past landlord (I lived at his property in 2012) accused me of stealing air conditioning units from him, and vacating without notice. Sued me for $1500. In court, the judge determined the air conditioner unit case was unfounded, and that’s not my responsibility (I didn’t steal them). Additionally, judge determined I was only liable for $140.00 and issued judgment accordingly.
Fast forward to this year. I received summons for garnishment to my business (self- employed), and a personal summons for warrant in debt (again, for a larger amount than the prior suit…isn’t that double jeopardy??) with a court date of 17 June 2014. I went to the court, assuming there was a hearing; apparently I was only supposed to respond to it by that date. So, I was told by the clerk to respond by writing a statement on the summons document saying that I do in fact own my company and I’m self employed. However, I don’t make nearly enough to have my wages garnished (Only about $200/wk…GROSS not net).
I have paystubs verifying this.
Today, 6/25/2014, I received a call from Plaintiff, irate, demanding an answer to whether or not I plan to appeal or pay. I hung up on him; told him I’m planning to file something but not sure what; and was talking to an attorney about my options. I was really vague with him; he then tried to demand yes or no answers; so I hung up on him and blocked his call.
I am prepared to mail him (per instructions on summons for submitting payment) to the address listed on the summons) the original $140, with payments of $20/mo, for 7 months.
I will type this in a letter to him, along with a check from my company, and a copy of the summons; I will send it certified, and outline my intentions. A few questions:
1) I acknowledge I owe $140 (the original judgment debt), and nothing more. Will the above suffice? (letter with check each month for $20 until the $140 is paid).
2) Can he criminally charge me with anything? he’s really angry and is out for blood.
3) Is there a way to stop summonses from being sent to my work? Can they be sent to my PO Box instead? It will cause trouble with my work (and trouble with my work means I can’t get paid and I can’t pay him, even the little I can pay).
4) Do I legally have to answer any questions he asks? Should I send documentation of everything I send to him to the court as well?
You are are making everyone’s life hard, now that the judge found you just owed him $140.00. It’s not worth spending a lot of time on the ins and outs of a $140 dispute. Your question is how should you handle a guy you owe $140 to. The answer is to figure out how to get him out of your life.
I recently was served with a Warrant in Debt in reference to a provision of a separation agreement. The warrant was filed by my soon to be ex-husband in the county he resides in. We went to court in late April and he is already suing me for approximately $5000 which is his half of our jointly filed tax refund. I have 2 questions: Is he suing too quickly after our court date? Since this is a divorce matter, should he have filed the warrant in J&DR court instead?
I think a divorce lawyer would know the answer to that better than I do. Sorry.
Thanks you for your explanation of this difficult process.
One caveat to the debtor is that the Clerk of the Fairfax Court will summarily reject a Grounds For Defense if it arrives by Fax. A friend of mine went to trial, but since he delivered his Grounds of Defense to the Clerk of Court by fax, the Judge ruled that no grounds of defense had been filed, and granted summary judgment for the plaintiff. I have heard that pro se defendants are given some leeway when it comes to procedural matters, but this ruinous outcome suggests otherwise.
Thanks for passing that on. The Virginia warrant in debt system is designed to confuse the people who try to defend themselves.
I am a law student and I have no case but I was wondering if you have ever tried to claim impossibility of the contract as a defense against a warrant in debt.
I’m primarily a bankruptcy lawyer. I explain warrant-in-debt here because getting a warrant in debt is the wake up call for a lot of my clients. But when I have somebody who only has one problem, and wants to defend the warrant in debt, I recommend lawyers other than myself to handle it.
I see. Thank you!
Hi Mr. Weed I’m writing because I need a little advice. My boyfriend rented a house from his parents for 8 years. He was forced to move out as him and his parents had a huge argument which resulted in his parents turning off electricity to the house before he moved and threatening him they would prevent him from buying his own house. Lots and lots of mess because of his mother is crazy and has slandered him as well as me when we literally have done nothing wrong. Anyway we received a letter stating he owes all of this money for damages. Including repainting the inside and all new carpet. He acknowledges a few things like replacing the thermostat and the holes in one wall from his dart board. But replacing carpet and repainting the whole inside is a little much. Is there a such thing as normal wear meaning obviously after 8 years of renting the walls and or carpet would not look brand new anymore. In the letter it states that if it is not paid in full of a sum of almost $2000 including paint, carpet, thermostat, labor for the painters, and paint supplies then his mother who is the cause of all the drama would take a warrant in debt out. What are his options? Is there a law about normal wear? Can she really make him pay for that?
Sorry I don’t know anything about landlord-tenant law. That’s really what your question is and I just don’t know.
From my experience, unless there is a signed agreement that his parents were going to adhere to the Virginia Landlord Tenant Act, then they do not need to follow it. It also depends on how many other homes they rent out and whether this was a formal or informal rental that he was staying in. It all really depends on whether or not they had a signed agreement and what that states. Hope this helps!
I am going to court for a grounds of defense on Friday. The medical company that charged me with not paying since 2011 but I paid the bill in question for 2011. And they stated that no payments have been made but that is not true. The amount owed was based on incorrect information. Can this be won?
Well tomorrow you’ll find out.
I mean are my chances good or not. I am scared.
Let me clarify: I do owe a balance but not on what they filed with the court.
Well the medical judgement was granted. The judge was frustrated with the billing as I was and out of not understand he granted it. The lawyer straight up admitted on record the bill of particulars was in fact incorrect. They use a seperate company and I am still getting bills when they said they stopped.. So with that being the case I am appealing that a proper defense could not be set since the bill of particulars was incorrect. It might give me the days needed to get the debt paid. Let you know what will happen.
You were right. I see now how it will be best to pay the debt. But why is it that VA finds it necessary to put a judgement on your record for such a small amount? I do have this question if I pay the debt almost immediately when the judgement posts how bad is that? This judgement amount is the exact amount my ex husband was suppose to give me for this bill. But thank you for the advice. You are wonderful.
My husband and I just received a warrant in debt from the attorney of our previous landlords over a rental dispute. The letter was not certified and it listed my husband’s name incorrectly. We checked the court system and there is nothing there showing we have a pending court date. Was this warrant in debt real or just a threat? It even has a day to show up in court but looks like it was typed out at the attorney’s office.
I have no way of looking, but you do. Look here. http://www.courts.state.va.us/caseinfo/
I have to file a grounds for defense in a couple days and can’t afford an attorney. I had a car repossessed and apparently they sold a one year old 20,000 car for 2,500 dollars. I know I owe them some money, but not that much. What do I put on the grounds of defense?
On your question, I think you should put down what you just told me. But I also think you NEED a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer to fight this, then you need a lawyer to file bankruptcy. Even if you knock down what they are asking for from about $20,000 to about $15,000–then what are you gonna don when they garnish you. You have to get a lawyer and the sooner the better.
I have a small bill for about $120 that is about 30 days past due. I just started a new job and have not been able to get caught up on my bills should be able to pay it by end of next week but the person sent me a email saying they were going to send me a WID if not paid by the end of the day.
Can they send a WID for that amount and does it have to go to collections first? How long does a WID take?
Don’t know who “this person” is but almost any normal outfit would give you a couple weeks….Sounds like an internet payday lender, is it?
I am suing for electric costs of a house I lived in last year. I signed a lease with the property management company “MacDoc PM” and the first line of the lease has “Virginia Trustee Services LLC”. So I went and filled out a warrant in debt and put Mark Doherty AND MacDoc Property management”. However when I got to court I found out… Mark Doherty owns Virginia Trustee Services and MacDoc Property management. So he is contesting it and we have to go back for a review next month. My question is… after discovering that the “owner of the home” also owns both of these companies… do I need to change the wording in my warrant in debt to maybe “Mark Doherty via the trade name MacDoc Property Management and/or Virginia Trustee Services or leave it as is.
Sorry, can’t help on that. I can post general info, but my insurance company won’t let me give you specific advice.
I used to live in VA Beach and was charged propety tax for a vehicle that was repoed over 10 years ago that they couldn’t find record of payment for; and I just now got notice of lien from some law firm collecting on their behalf for property tax. Is this a scam?
I live in NC now and I thought they couldn’t collect on a debt over 10 years old. I have never gotten any liens from them in the past and I don’t trust people who send these letters saying they are going to garnish my wages.
I don’t know enough about your situation to answer your question. Sorry.
We had to move out of the place we were renting due to my father’s health issues and we were behind in the rent due to someone hacking my bank account and stealing my money. The landlord claimed that he was going after us for back rent in 2013 but no paper work was ever delivered to us and I only found out when I met the landlord at my bank to pay the rent–when I paid more that what the regular rent was he told me he was going to court to cancel the claim–turned out he didn’t do that and then we got really behind after the person hacking my account cleaned it out twice in a row so he does take us to court and we got the papers served the second time. He garnished my wages for the supposed first time and the second time. the problem is he keeps garnishing even though my pay stubs show that the money is being taken out every month. I am at my wits end. We just went to court to show that the garnishment was being taken out and yesterday boom there was another garnishment order served at my house–I never gave him our new address
You are long overdue talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. When Donald Trump’s casinos are in trouble, he’s run for Chapter 11 four times. Why are you confused? What does Trump know that you don’t?
If the plaintiff fails to establish any cause of action in the Bill of Particulars can I move the Court to Strike?
My expertise is all in consumer debts, like credit cards and medicals and car repossessions. On those it would be almost impossible for the plaintiff to fail to establish a cause of action.
Don’t know what your issue is, but I’m assuming it’s something unusual. So I don’t know enough to advise you.
The Plaintiff filed a Bill of Particulars on my request but he did not state any cause of action upon which any relief can be granted. Can I move the Court to Strike?
Dear Mr. Weed: Thank you for all the excellent information you provide. I just received notice that a law firm is asking the DMV to suspend my license. I researched and discovered there had been a judgment against me during a hearing in August for a 2011 car accident that was not my fault. Someone rear-ended me and sued me for the damage he had to his car. I knew he wanted to sue me a year ago but didn’t hear anything since. Looks like I was served papers in May but I had moved out in April (and my lease shows this). Can I file something to have the case re-opened, and meanwhile, what can I do about my license? Is that something you could help with? Thank you.
Make an appointment and bring everything you have, including the lease that PROVES you had moved. I’ll take a look at it for you.
Today I received a Warrant in Debt from Virginia with 11/6 hearing date but I live in California and I’m under panic as to how to proceed. The warrant asks for amount owed to a hospital for a surgery done 2 years ago in VA, along with additional interest and legal fees. I live in CA since past 1 year but I still carry VA plates on my car and paying VA property tax for car (my stupidity). I have 3 categories of questions:
1) Can I object to venue and request for changing from VA to California? What reasons will be valid reasons for request? If my request is denied will the hearing date stay same or get moved?
2) Can I request for moving the hearing date from 11/6 to a later date citing need for time to gather facts and find attorney? I want to know if this can be done without showing up in person?
3) I do NOT want to get a judgment against me at any cost (fearing FICO impact, since I’m in process of buying my first home and want to qualify for loan)… Would paying the plaintiff before hearing date help? If so how to ensure the warrant is withdrawn or case thrown out?
I’m so confused and would appreciate your guidance on how to move forward. I’m feeling the URGENCY since the hearing date is just 2 weeks away. Thank you.
1. If you got the medical service in Virginia, they can sue you in Virginia.
2. You can request but they don’t have to give it to you. The only sure way is to have a lawyer show up for you.
3. Paying will help as long as they keep their end of the deal. Again the only sure way is to have a lawyer show up for you and say its been paid.
I HATE to be telling you that you gotta get a lawyer there; probably if you pay it off well in advance, there won’t be any problem. But there’s room for slip ups.
I saw your reply to Yasmin, I am in the same boat. I owe it and can make a payment at this time. Do I need a certified check to pay them? Do I mail it? Or can I do it with a debit card and have them email me a receipt for my records? If I do just go ahead to court with a certified check, will they just dismiss the suit?
It depends on how much your trust them. the safest thing is to bring a certified check to court–so you know there won’t be any accidents.
I have received a Warrant In Debt from a third party collection agency relating to an old loan debt which the original creditor abruptly signed off on two years ago after I had been making payment on it for years. My major concern is that the debt collectors are seeking compound interest on the total amount if it is not paid immediately. Such interest would severely compromise my ability to pay off the amount in a manner in which I could manage. Is it possible for me to contest the right of the debt collector to charge interest? I am trying to determine the best way to handle my court date and what I should specifically say and what options are availible. Thanks for your time.
Obviously you’ll want to ask for a Bill of Particulars and see if they can coem up with the contract that gives them interest.
If they can, your choices boil down to three.
Pay. Probably after asking for a trial, they will be in the mood for some compromise.
Get a lawyer to help you with your grounds of defense, show up on the trial and try to knock out their evidence.
Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Especially if this is not your only problem.
Thank You. My biggest hope is that I can negotiate them out of the interest.
I am being sued with a warrant in debt in VA- my income-Social Security is exempt- is income exemption grounds for defense?
No, not exactly. The warrant in debt is whether you owe the money. Social security being exempt is defense against a garnishment, but not a defense against the warrant in debt.
Me again. In the documentation sent to me included with my warrant, there is indeed a contract (between one debt buyer and another). There also is an account summary from the original creditor, and an “affidavit of claim”. Can I still request a Bill of Particulars at my hearing, or do these documents already qualify as such?
Ask for it anyway and see if they come up with any more. I bet there’s NOTHING on the contract between debt buyers that shows that contract applies to you.
Thank you for this site you created. You have provided such great information and I have learned quite a bit.
I know you are A bankruptcy Attorney. I have seen you give some great info to help with Warrant in Debts. Hope you will have some tips with this one as I feel this Credit Union has violated federal regulations with their actions and I shouldn’t be in this WID situation to begin with
I have been a member of a Credit Union for over 34 years with no financial issues. I had been seeking help with circumstances to recently so that I would not have any issues with a Credit Card. In June I submitted a Hardship letter.
I was an still am dealing with my life issues as well as My Mother’s health issues where she has been in & out of the Hospitals and 2 surgeries in 30 days, leaving me to manage my parents stuff. I Heard nothing back from my Credit Union until I got a WID via the mail in September.
I went in person to discuss how I go from seeking help, submitting a letter of Hardship in June to a WID. The only answer I could get from the VP of Accounts Control is “the person who was to write your letter is no longer with X Federal Credit Union”. My reply to that statement was “so I take the fall for negligence on your part? Is this how you help members, they seek help, do a letter of Hardship, get no response from you and then you serve them Warrant in Debts, racking up interest and fees?” She had no answer for this. Why should I have to pay the price for them not following their own policies and are they not violating Federal Laws???
This VP came up with an agreement where if I could pay $xxx by the end of October, “we will continue the current court date from 10/29 – January 27, 2015. The additional terms were for $XXX to be paid the 3 months (Oct, Nov, Dec).
“If the case qualifies to be continued to 1/27/2015 and the 2 other payments are made, we will non-suit the current warrant and re-age the accounts”
They “Re-issued the WARRANT” and the date on the warrant is for January 13 not the January 27th in the agreement.
My 3rd payment was made dec 19th. I fulfilled my end. I made a phone call to the VP on Dec 31. I have not heard one word. Strange that I got several phone calls about this card during the month of May and now nothing??? As of January 9th, I have not received anything in the mail wither. A phone call was mad this morning (went to voice mail) and as of 2:40pm – not one word.
I contacted the Courts and I am still on the docket for tomorrow. This was to be non-suit.
Why am I still to go to court?
I have read some of the things you mentioned to say for our first time in court. What to I say when I get there?
I also noticed that the credit card listed on this current WID is a VISA not the MasterCard. The card originally was a MC and last summer they “converted those cards to VISA”.
Why am I still having to go to court?
thank you for any suggestions/guidance.
You have a new contract. You need to show up and tell the judge–“I talked to the VP. She told me if I paid XXXX they would non-suit this case. I made those payments. Here’s the proof.”
You never know what will happen when you go in front of a judge, but that SHOULD work.
Thank you for your info.
At 3:15pm today, I made another call and spoke with the VP. She stated something like she didn’t know she was to call me back and that she just got in at 2pm. I stated to her that I call early this morning so the would get the message and I did ask her to call me back to verify that she did non-suit the warrant. I stated to her that I shouldn’t have even been in this issue in the first place and that I needed to make sure that I wasn’t to be in court.
The VP stated that there was an agreement and she did the non-suit. .I let her know I called the court and I was still on the docket. The VP stated that will go to court tomorrow and when my name is called, they will tell the judge it is non-suit. She stated that I could then go to the court site Wednesday or Thursday and see that it was non-suit. I asked it she was going to send any notice that this has been non-suited and she stated that they don’t do that because there was an agreement and it has been non-suited.
I also noticed on one of the Credit card statements, I was not only charged the growing interest rate, but $28 for the warrant. The Warrant In Debt showed $84 for court costs. Since this is non-suited, will I have to pay that $84 to the court or will I probably end up getting charged that on my credit card??
what an insane way of doing business, someone in the Credit Union department doesn’t get you your letter, now that person is no longer with the company and more than 3 months you are now served a warrant in debt and no help. All this continues to create additional financial issues and unnecessary stress. Wonder how this VP would react if it was done to her.
You have been a tremendous help today as well as what I read throughout all the postings.
Glad I was a help. Yes, they will expect you to pay those court costs, for sure.
When a judgement was granted in a civil suit how long is the statue of limitations to collect. This is Virginia, husband sued wife for personal property.
Also, during court i never heard there was a judgement in favor of plaintiff. I heard the Judge say he could not award to neither of us but a judgement was made. Why wouldn’t paperwork be sent stating this fact and i had so many days to appeal?
He has ten year to enforce his judgment.
Sorry that you didn’t follow what the judge did. Welcome to Virginia!
i paid off a warrant in Debit thats on my credit. I was curious to know if By Law theres a time frame the Notice of Satisfaction has to be sent to the courts by the Company that filed the claim?
Yes they are required to do it, I think it’s 30 days.
You can read it here.
prev | next
§ 8.01-454. Judgment, when paid, to be so noted by creditor.
In all cases in which payment or satisfaction of any judgment so docketed is made, which is not required to be certified to the clerk under § 8.01-455, it shall be the duty of the judgment creditor, himself, or by his agent or attorney, to cause such payment or satisfaction by the defendant, whether in whole or in part, and if there is more than one defendant, by which defendant it was paid or discharged, to be entered within 30 days after the same is made, on such judgment docket. If the judgment has not been docketed, then the entry shall be made on the execution book in the office of the clerk from which the execution issued. For any failure to do so within 90 days, or after 10 days’ notice to do so by the judgment debtor or his agent or attorney, the judgment creditor shall be liable to a fine of $100 and shall pay the filing cost of the release. The entry of payment or satisfaction shall be signed by the creditor or his duly authorized attorney or other agent and be attested by the clerk in whose office the judgment is docketed, or when not docketed, by the clerk from whose office the execution issued; however, the cost of the release shall be paid by the judgment debtor.
Dear Mr. Weed,
What happens if a Warrant of Debt is filed with the court (in VA) against someone who has already returned to their home country (Germany)? Can that person ignore the filing if he has received no papers? Can the plaintiff in VA “win” if the defendant has not even been served in Berlin?
If the person who moved to Germany really cares, you need to meet with a lawyer who can see exactly what was sent, and what address, under what authority. They can’t obtain a judgment without “serving” the papers–but service can be done in a lot of ways–and I don’t know enough to know what might apply in the case you are telling me about.
If it matters, show it to a lawyer.
Dear Mr. Weed,
What happens if a Warrant of Debt is filed with the court (in VA) against someone who has already returned to their home country (Germany)? Can that person ignore the filing if he has received no papers? Can the plaintiff in VA “win” if the defendant has not even been served in Berlin?
Does the person who moved back to Germany really care what happens in Virginia. If they do, you need to show those papers to a lawyer who can see exaclty waht is going on. A plaintiff cannot “win” if the defendant has not been “served”–but there are a lot of ways to get service and I don’t know enough to know what might apply in your case.
If it matters, show it to a lawyer.
I officially successfully beat my debt warrant this week! Because of the information and advice provided by this web page, I was able to get the case against me dismissed with prejudice. It only cost me a relatively moderate amount of money for attorney work. If I had known how easy this was going to be back at the beginning of December when I was first issued my debt warrant, it would have saved me a lot of tremendous stress and sleepless nights. The story about “Bill” was particularly of aid in outlining a plan to proceed.
To anyone who is served one of these warrants by a second or third party debt collector, my advice to you is simply SHOW UP at your hearing date and deny owing them. You don’t have to say anything else or explain yourself. Even if you wind up having o pay them in the end, standing up for yourself at your hearing date gives you more time and options – to have a consultation with an attorney, to examine the opposition’s case against you, and even to negotiate with them for payment if it becomes necessary. Not showing up to your hearing means an automatic wage/bank account garnishment. You do not want that to happen.
If it wasn’t for this page, I probably would have just plead guilty at my hearing and been at the mercy of the debt collector. Thanks again Mr. Weed for this forum. I just wanted to let you know that it’s helping people who might otherwise be helpless.
That’s great to hear!
Hi, thanks for the helpful website. My mother received a Warrant in Debt. The family circumstances have recently changed, and she is able to start paying on the debt. All of the money she makes is protected from garnishment and she owns nothing of value. However, she really wants to pay this debt and avoid judgment. I want to try calling the creditor (the debt is now owned by a debt collector) and offer to make payments and ask for them to drop the court procedure. My first question–is it even possible for them to stop the court proceeding at this point (court date is in 3 weeks). My second question–since she has no income or assets they can touch anyway, will they be more willing/ motivated to accept a payment plan and drop the court date? And third–is there specific language or wording that I should be using when discussing this with the creditor? Thanks so much!
They of course can stop the court date if they want to.
Now your bargaining position is a lot better if mom goes to court and asks for a trial, saying truthfully that she does not know who these debt collectors are. Usually they will then be eager to negotiate since–like I explain in my blog–they are in danger of loosing on the court date. And you should point out that even if they win they are not likely to get anything unless you all decide you WANT to pay.
I received a WiD. I was able to pay the full amount within days of receiving it, and three weeks before the court date. My question is, do I still need to appear in court if my balance owed is now $0?
Thanks in advance.
You don’t NEED to. The question is how POSITIVE are you that the lawyer will tell the judge you paid it. If you are not positive, you maybe should show up so you can say so if the lawyer forgets.
Thanks, Mr. Weed, for the explanation of the nuts and bolts of a Warrant in Debt. I just received one from our Homeowner’s Association. We bought a lot at auction where it was stated that the HOA Declaration was not properly recorded (determined by a title search by the title insurance company) and that we were therefore not bound by the HOA. I assume this is a little out of your area of expertise, but my question is really more of a general one anyway – what recourse would someone have if a WiD is filed and the “filer” doesn’t have grounds, and knows that all along? Any thoughts would be deeply appreciated. Thanks in advance.
I don’t know. Under the Federal Rules, that’s called Rule 11 violation. Since I’m mainly a bankruptcy guy I’m mainly a Federal Court guy. I don’t know the Virginia rules well enough to know if there’s anything there.
I will say this. The Judge sees those lawyer all the time. If he thinks they are mostly good lawyers, you’d get no where. If he’s seen them do a lot of doubtful stuff, then maybe you could get something.
I would think you WILL need a lawyer to persuade the judge that the HOA declaration was not properly recorded. The HOA will have somebody explaining why it was, and you saying what you were told at the auction is probably NOT going to cut it.
Hi, I filed a warrant in debt against someone for charges they made on joint accounts while we were in a relationship that they agreed to pay and didn’t. I went to the first court date and they denied they owed it. At the trial they did not show up so the judge said it was a default judgement. My question is, what is the next step to collect this money? Do I just need to go back to the courthouse and file a garnishment summons? This is in Stafford County.
Sorry I can’t help you. I’m primarily a bankruptcy lawyer and the guy you are chasing might be one of my clients. Since I don’t know I can’t help.
Robert- great post. I’m learning how warrants and garnishments work. Just wanted to say thank you for the education. Although I’m kinda on the other side of the fence when it comes to what I do (I’m a collector), you gave me a nice place to start my research. You’re writing is smooth too; easy to digest.
Can they garnish Social Security Disability or Social Security Survivors Benefits?
No. They can’t.
Hi Robert – Thank you for your website! I do have a few questions though. Here is the back story…I broke my foot running in April of 2014, went to the first Podiatrist I could find that Monday. He put me in a walking boot for weeks, took me out of it, and said to go ahead and start running again. He also said he wanted me in custom orthotics. I argued that I wanted a second opinion before making such a large purchase but he pushed me further by saying I could call and cancel. I paid a $100.00 dollar down payment. At no point in my treatment did he recommend physical therapy. After continuous pain I went on my own to see a Sports Medicine doctor, who recommended months of physical therapy because the podiatrist put me in the boot for too long and did not recommend the proper aftercare. The Sports Medicine doctor also told me that I did not need custom orthotics. I called the office of the podiatrist to cancel the orthotics order but they told me it was too late and let me know there was a $75.00 casting me (I paid $100 deposit.) I let the receptionist at the podiatrist office know what the the Sports medicine doctor told me and they said “physical therapists are not real doctors.” I have repeatedly told the podiatrist office I did not want or need the orthotics.
To be clear, I have never had these in my possession at all. Fast forward to the end of May 2015, I receive a letter from a lawyer here in Richmond saying they are collecting the $400 dollars plus $100 for their fee. I wrote a letter contesting the amount and sent it back certified. Never heard a word, until yesterday when I get a letter from a lawyer wanting to defend me in my upcoming trial. I look my name up in the court system and sure enough there it is. I have not received a letter from the suing attorney OR been served. My friend who is a lawyer and wants to represent me said we should fight this. The court date happens to be on a day that I am having surgery. She is going to show up and ask for a Bill of Particulars.
So my questions are, do you think I have enough evidence to fight this? Should I fight it? If I fight it and lose (I have the money, its the principal of the matter) and just pay it in court, will that hurt my credit? That is my big thing, hurting my credit, 7 years is not worth 400 dollars. OR should I just go ahead pay and sue this doctor for malpractice? Any advice would be great.
Your friend, who is a lawyer, knows more about your chances than I do. I’m a bankruptcy lawyer and I have no background in disputes about the merits of underlying debts.
Glad my web page was helpful, but I have nothing to add about your specific case.
Hello. I had an auto loan and unsecured line of credit from a local credit union that have unpaid balances on them due to a major change in income. I did a voluntary repossession on the vehicle and received a notice stain the balance. All of this had been about three years ago.
My husband had a loan at the same credit union that he secured with a vehicle title. Upon paying off his loan, he was informed they were holding his title for my debt. Our accounts were totally separate with neither one of us listed on the others. Can they do this?
In a few states the debts of one, while you are married, are the debts of both. Here’s what Wikipedia says about that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_property. I know very little about community property but I kinda think that the credit union would be right if you were in one of those states.
Otherwise, it feels to me like they are out of line. Now credit union get you to sign a lot of stuff in the small print, so maybe your husband agreed to put up the car for your debt, too.
If neither one of those, then they are probably violating the bankruptcy law. Have you asked your bankruptcy lawyer to look into it. I’d be all over it if you were my client.
On the warrant in debt can I use a p.o. box (i am the plantiff). I don’t trust the guy whom I am filing the warrant against. I am a single mom with tow young children.
If you are afraid of–I guess that’s why you are telling me–somebody you are suing, why are you doing it? How did you get involved with this guy. Why do you want to keep him in your life? How much is at state?
If it’s a big deal, get a lawyer. If it’s not, just drop it.
None of this is legal advice. That doesn’t sound like what you are really asking.
How should I go about filing an appeal for a Judgement for a warrant in Debt. The credit card was issued to my corporation. I signed the contract, I assumed I was signing for the corporation. The business went under during the down-turn and was unable to keep up with the payments. When the Bank filed the papers, the warrant was exclusively in my name. (was this right)? Also one of the evidence presented was only given to me on the day of trial..I did not get a chance to review it… I objected, yet the Judge still went forward with the case?? Do I have a chance in an appeal?
You have a short time period–ten days, to note your appeal–and then another paper to appeal.
But you have to put up the whole amount of the judgment to appeal.
The appeal is heard by a new judge starting over–so you have whatever chance you have.
This manual on this process is good.
My wife rented a house and did some damage during her stay. 3 Gatorade stains and small hole in the wall. The owner is telling her about other things wrong with her house that the owner claim we did during our stay. We put down 500 dollar deposit and offered her 1000 dollars more to fix the damage. She has served us with a Warrant in debt for 10,000. We are going to appear in court but do we tell the judge about the damage that we did and the amount we were willing to pay , or just say we don’t owe anything and ask for a trail date
Sorry, but I don’t know enough to advise you on that. If there’s $10,000 at stake, I’d talk to a lawyer.
I rented a apartment long ago. Now I see that’s it on my credit. I just want to know is there a statue of limitation for them to sue me? I live in Richmond Virginia.
Erica: Probably five years.
I received a WID today for property tax on a car for years 2011-2013. I bought the car in 2007 and lived in Fairfax County until 2010. After that, I moved to Ohio, but don’t remember exactly when I registered the car there. (I have since moved to Chicago and bought a new car so I don’t have any of that paperwork anymore.) I was also in college and not working, so I don’t have any pay stubs to prove I was in Ohio during that time. I am certain that I don’t owe taxes on all of those years, but would settle for all of, or a portion of, 2011 just to resolve quickly. The amount isn’t high but I don’t want to take time off work and fly to Virginia for a court date but I also don’t want to pay 3 years of taxes that I don’t owe. Lastly, if it makes any difference, the letter was mailed via regular USPS mail and left in my mailbox. I wasn’t served and it wasn’t delivered certified mail. What are my options and how can I go about resolving this? Can/Should I resolve this directly with the credit agency? I have not received any communication from them prior to the WID.
Usually Fairfax County is reasonable if you work with them directly. But you mention a collection agency. I didn’t know they used collection agencies. I really don’t know what to tell you.
Mr. Weed, Thank you for providing this website and taking the time to answer all of our questions. I know you are a bankruptcy attorney, but I can not find the information I need online (or I am somehow missing it). I am at the stage of filling out my grounds of defense against a credit card debt purchased by Cavalry. Nothing they have provided is past 2009, and the judge and the other attorney basically told me to write that the debt is past the stature of limitations. My question is, do I need to literally just write that on the first paragraph and send it out, or do I need to respond to every number from the bill of particulars individually? I know this may not be the worlds most intelligent question, but as I am sure you can understand I do not want to “lose” this judgement because I improperly filled out a form. Thank you.
The General District court will usually accept an informal pleading as long as you do explain yourself and you do file your grounds of defense. So if the judge told you what to do, I don’t have anything to add.
I need to fie a “Grounds of Defense” here in Virginia and don’t know where to start. I believe that my debt is beyond the statue of limitations but don’t know how to go about filing this. I don’t the money for a lawyer an am going into this alone. Can you help?
Not really. Here’s the link to the grounds of defense form. There’s really not a lot to it. http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/district/dc442.pdf
If a judgement is granted in VA but the debtor resides in FL, does the creditor need to domesticate/transfer the judgement to FL before they can try to collect or does VA have the right? Also would.FL homestead laws apply?
That’s a Florida law question that I don’t have the answer to. Sorry
I am trying to buy a house and was denied financing. Just checked my credit report and found out I have a judgement against my by Midland Funding on behalf of Chase Bank. Problem is, I was never served any papers telling me there was a court date. Did some research and found it it can be posted on a front door. However, I had moved 5 times over the course of a year and a half, so it\’s definitely possible that they posted it somewhere I no longer lived. Now it is 4 years since the judgment before I’m finding out about it. What can I do? Lender says I cannot proceed without taking care of it. It is over $6,000 of debt that isn’t even mine. What options do I have?
The judgment is not valid if they had bad service. You’ll need to PROVE to the judge that they had a wrong address for you when they taped it to your door. First step is to go to the courthouse and see what address they sent it to. Second step is to find your proof of where you were then. Getting a lawyer would probalby help a lot.
Hello Mr. Weed,
I received warrant in debt from my landlord who is suing me for damages after I left the property. When I was a resident of his property, there was a water leak in the basement which caused mold and landlord paid for repairs. Below are the series of events:
1. I leased the property in May 2015. I had a planned vacation for one month last week of July to last week of Aug. Per my lease I informed my landlord that I’ll be gone for a month and got his acknowledgement.
2. While I was gone, one of the worn out rubber ring washer that connects water supply to toilet cracked and it flooded the basement. I don’t know when it happened and when we came back we noticed water and mold and informed our landlord with pictures and cause of leak.
3. I replaced the faulty washer to stop the leak and sprayed bleach to minimize mold growth.
4. Landlord called ServPro and a general contractor and got the repairs done. He wanted me to pay half of it, but I refused since it was not my fault as it happened in my absence and due to landlord’s negligence to keep the property in good shape. Per my lease agreement, I just had to inform the landlord if I go anywhere for more than 14 days and it was landlord’s duty to keep the house in good working condition by inspecting and making timely repairs. The house was 20 years old.
5. In Nov 2015, we really liked a home and decided to buy it. I gave an email 60 day notice to terminate the lease and pro rate January rent to 15 days, to which my landlord replied “Got it”. The landlord hired a real estate agento to rent the property and I worked with the agent to show the property whenever agent asked for it. Finally, I cleaned up the property and handed over the keys in person to landlord. He checked the property and found no issues and we shook hands and said good bye.
6. Soon after I moved out, I received a letter in mail from his lawyer suing me 12000 dollars, including 8K in repairs, attorney fees and 3K for half of January and full February rent.
I’ve first hearing date in court this week, and my questions are:
1. Is this a trial date or I just have to show and tell the judge that I don’t think I owe the money and ask for bill of particulars. Should I prepare for my grounds of defense for this hearing or would it be something after a trial date is set.
2. For damages, I dont think I owe any money to landlord since the damage happened in my absence and due to landlord’s negligence to keep the property in good shape. The landlord provided a reason that I did not arrange for anyone to look after the property when I was gone for vacation. Per my lease agreement, I just have to inform my landlord. Was I supposed to arrange for someone to look after? Do I need to prove why I didn’t arrange fo someone to look after? What can I do to prove in case I’ve to.
3. For 3K in rent amount, I dont think I owe the amount since the landlord responsded to my notice to vacate with “Got it” and never mentioned or sent a notice that I cannot terminate. I’ve proof of my emails and his reply. Can I still be held liable to pay the rent? What can I do to prove that I was not liable since I terminated the lease after landlord’s consent?
I am sorry for the long email, but I think it was necessar to provide background and context. The case is in Leesburg distric court, VA.
Wow. You are really organized on the facts you want to present. But its very difficult for a non-lawyer to beat someone with a lawyer in court–if you are trying to beat someone local. You need a lawyer there in Leesburg to help you. Otherwise it will be very tough.
Dear Mr. Weed,
Firstly, I would like to offer a thank you for taking the time and making the efforts to provide us, the public, such valuable information. Thank you.
My questions to you today sir, regarding my warrant in debt, concern how I was served and the fact that my name never appeared on the court docket. I was never served my papers in person, but only through first-class mail. Is this an acceptable method in the State of Virginia? Also, when I showed up for my first court date (July 7, 2016) my name was not on the docket. I spoke with the clerk of court and they notified me that my date was moved to a month later (August 4, 2016). I showed up on the following date and again, my name was not on the docket. Again, I spoke with the clerk of court and was notified that my first date was the correct date and a “Not Returned from Service” was noted on my Civil Hearing/Disposition Update form with the original hearing date. Does this offer any advantage for me with this case? I assume they will send me another Warrant in Debt in the mail. I should offer that Glasser and Glasser are the firm and they are representing Capital One.
One more thing. I had a payment program set up with Capital One, where they knew I had no income and no job. Still, presently, searching for employment. I contacted them to let them know I would not have money to send for awhile and never heard back from them. Then months later I receive the warrant in debt and the name of the individual whom they claim has personal knowledge of this matter is not any of the personnel with whom I spoke with at Capital One. Do any these details provided me with any advantage? I cannot afford an attorney now and was wondering if Bankruptcy was an option as well? I am concerned that if I do not find employment prior to the inevitable hearing date that it will affect my employment opportunities.
Thank you for your time and consideration towards us all who need advice. I appreciate and look forward to your reply. Have a good now. Take care.
You’ve obviously done your best to defend yourself. When they do get proper service on you, if they do, you need to go and ask for a trial. If your income is still too low to service your debts, then we need to talk about bankruptcy. Having bankruptcy does not help your employability, but it is a lot better than having a judgment.
Thank you for your reply. I will do my best to defend myself at trial. How would one go about a bankruptcy without money, income, assets, or employment? Thank you again for your time. Have a good day now.
I bougt the car in Arlington VA.
Hi , I have a issue with a dealership and I would like to make a warrant in debt ( civil claim for money) the dealership sold me a car damaged I paid $ 20,000.00 dollars I just 24 hours the was doing problems , but the dealership wasn’t able to help me . took the car to the mechanic body shop the car was there for 26 days repairing the problem, also the car didn’t pass the Maryland inspection , I had to pay all damage by myself , and still paying my monthly payments , they didn’t want to change it or cancel the contract ..
You have zero chance going after a car dealer on your own in court in Virginia. You need a “lemon law” or automobile lawyer who goes after car dealers. Once place to look is here. http://www.consumeradvocates.org/find-an-attorney
Hello Mr. Weed,
My husband and I were served a warrant in debt back in 2008 from Land’ Or International (Timeshare). After that my husbands wages were garnished and they received roughly $1000 from him. I was never sent a garnishment and we both worked at the same location at the time. Skip forward 8 years later I receive a garnishment from them and of course the amount is significantly higher due to interest. I called and their answer was I’m not sure why no one has contacted you about this debt in the last few years. I assumed it was all taken care of. I have tried to work with them to see if we could work out a wage assignment as opposed to a garnishment but they will not return my phone calls. Can I contest the garnishment and have the creditor prove the validity of the debt prior to having my wages withheld?
Once they get a judgment against you, in Virginia they have 20 years to track you down and garnish you. There’s nothing once they got a judgment that they need to prove. I’m sorry, but that’s an example of why I LOVE being a bankruptcy lawyer.
I was currently served a warrant in debt from a collection agency. The collection agency is suing me i guess on behalf of the hospital. The amount is about 4k. I have never ever been to court and am extremely nervous. If possible I was wondering if you can tell me what my options are in A. Reduce the amount I owe or B. Walk away owing nothing. I have zero court or any law/legal experience or understanding. On my 1st ever court date should I consent to amount owe n if I do will I be able to bring the amount down n schedule a monthly payment? Or should I not consent? I would extremely appreciate any knowledge/advice/helpful information you can provide me with. Thank you!
Is this your only problem debt or is it one of many. If it’s one of many you need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer and not drag your feet. When Donald Trump got in financial trouble, over and over, he was quick to bring in his lawyers. If he didn’t he wouldn’t be president.
Now if it’s your only problem debt and you can pay it, you can pay it. On the other hand I see that “I guess.” As I explained in my blog you have the right to ask for a trial and make them prove it. This is America, after all.
To answer your specific question, if you agree you ow the money you have no rights. They do NOT have to negotiate on the amount; you do not have the right to a payment agreement. Usually they do set up a payment agreement; that way they find out your bank account. then when you are late with a payment, they garnish your bank.
The place you have rights is the bankrutpcy court. and you have the right to make them prove the debt, although it’s hard to fight without a lawyer. Other than those two, they have all the power.
my warrant in debt is thru memberone i cashed a check i received and I didn’t know that the person who sent me the check was going to close their account before memberone had a chance to get their money back now they are taking me to court as a warrant in debt to attempt to get the money from me and I am on disability and can’t afford to pay it back can i go to jail on this particular warrant in debt
Here’s what I wrote.
A warrant in debt is what they call it in Virginia when a creditor is suing you in General District Court. Warrant makes it sound a little worse than it is, but it is bad enough. It is not a criminal law problem—you can’t go to jail; but they are trying to make you pay.
Well I was hoping that someone had already ask you about this. But no luck. My son was in a minor car accident in Oct 2016 while on a business trip. The company has a standard policy that handles things like this so nothing was thought about it. But it seems after being turned down by the insurance company as not being a valid claim. The other driver got a car crash lawyer to file a warrant of debt directly against my son for 25K. The warrant of debt was just received. But when I check the Virginia district court site there is no mention of the warrant of debt and there is no case number on the form which all seem rather strange. It seems if the insurance company found no fault on his part that there should be no grounds for this type of suit other than to get some kind of payment as not to have to go to court or hope that my son doesn’t appear in court.
Since the hearing is not showing up on the court calendar and there is no case number on the form the was received, how do we tell if this is even valid.
I think you’ve answered your own question. The other driver is trying to sue you without a lawyer and he’s not doing it right.
Virginia has some strange things going on with this warrant in debt. I never got an official service from anyone. But the case did finally appear on the court docket. I call the court to make sure and they said in this instance the DMV was supposed to send me something as the official service which we never have received. I asked the court since that I really haven’t gotten something official is the court date valid. They said unfortunately yes.
These lawyers are also doing the same thing to the rental car company which seems strange since you should not able to get paid twice for the same thing.
Since the court date is valid, how do you suggest locating a Virginia attorney?
I received a Small Claims WID suit from a Fairfax County tenant claiming harassment, violation of privacy. Can I ask the Small Claims judge to move to General District for trial by jury/hire attorney?
If you are a landlord in Fairfax County and you have a tenant suing you—then you need an experience landlord/tenant lawyer. This NOT something you should be trying to handle on your own.
Was behind on my HOA fees by four months due to a problem with ACH debit. Rectified the problem and made two payments (back HOA fees + late fees) to get caught up (3/6 & 3/20). Received a WID (Civil Claim for Money) from attorney of HOA the day I made my second payment (3/20) requesting I pay all outstanding HOA fees plus the remaining year of HOA fees to be paid in advance plus court fees ($68) and legal fees ($350). Sent certified letter to attorney of HOA providing proof HOA fees and late fees have been paid in full and requesting relief from the WID. Paralegal of attorney emailed me and stated two months of late fees and the accelerated amount of the suit was waived however, there was an outstanding balance of $350 for legal fees and court costs of $68 remaining to satisfy the WID.
In previous comments above you state to still attend the return date or a judgment will be set against me — is this still true in this situation if I pay the attorney directly? You also stated not to plead guilty and to ask for a trail —- but if I already paid do I still do that? If I already paid for the past due HOAs before the return date why wouldn’t the WID be dismissed? Also, should I pay the attorney first before going to court or wait until court to pay the attorney. Seems strange to pay for court fees if I don’t go to court……. Finally, if I go to court and the WID is waived due to payment do I still need to pay the attorney? Thank you in advance for your time.
Here’s what I think you told me. You were late on the HOA and they sued you. Without any written agreement, You just sent a payment of what you thought they were owed to the lawyer. The paralegal for the lawyer said your payment wasn’t enough, they want $350 more.
So, there’s still a disagreement between you and them about how much was owed. They want $418 more. Your question is, what? If you think you shouldn’t have to pay that $418, then obviously you need to go to court on the court date. The Judge, not me or the HOA’s paralegal, has the final word on that you have to pay.
In 2006 I owned 2 properties I was renovating in high crime areas when the market dropped out and there was no way to sell them for what was owed and I ran out of funds to continue work or to pay the $50k in credit card debt I racked up trying to finish and sell them. I also had a vehicle with a loan on it at the time.
I was not employed a the time and single. I had been spending $7000 a month on debt payments and up to that time had perfect credit. Instead of doing what I knew to be the better decision (Chapter 7), I spent the last of my money trying to sell the properties, making it so I couldn’t afford an attorney when I finally accepted that it was over.
Then I put my head in the sand and moved to an apartment while I still had perfect credit to qualify without showing a W2 for income.
I dropped off the map for everyone except friends and family and only one debt collector ever successfully called me. But I never gave them any information, not even confirmation of my name.
Now 11 years later, I expect all of the debts to be uncollectible except possibly the one from a credit union based in VA. 5 years ago I was on an auto loan application with someone else and found there was a WID from that credit union on the credit report.
I never received any notification of any kind from any creditor. I even met the repo guy at a different location to give them the vehicle away from my new address.
Can the WID be enforced if I never received service?
I am still afraid to even open a banking account in my own name for fear that the 10k I owed them then will have grown into much more and they will get notified and garnish the account or my wages.
What is at risk if I do open new accounts or begin to apply for credit, or even check my own credit report at this time?
You need to get a lawyer to look at the file on that credit union judgment and see if the creditor had service under the law. You can be legally served in certain circumstances even if you never received it.
Then, you can try to ask the judge to throw that judgment out. However, since a judgment was issued, the SOL MIGHT have been suspended and they may be able to come right back at you. So getting that judgment vacated and keeping them at bay is no easy task; you should expect to pay a qualified lawyer to try to do it.
Your alternative, especially if you are only now trying to rebuild your credit, is to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy gives you a court order that the debts are eliminated. None of the other strategies—like putting your head in the sand—can give you the certainty you get from a bankruptcy discharge.
Dear Mr. Weed,
I got Warrant in Debt for HOA fee. I will go to court and ask for TRIAL and BILL OF PARTICULARS. The overdue fee is an HOA for a Timeshare that I did not use since the day contact signing. I signed the contract at 9220-a Plank Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22553 in Spotsylvania County, and I have to show at Fredericksburg General District Court. Is this getting sued in the wrong county? If this correct, this violation of FFDCPA, could you let me know?
Thank you so much for your information and help.
Where do you live now?
Very helpful!!! Thank you
My sister (in VA) received a warrant in debt through the mail which I understand is not considered “good service’ but from what I’ve read it seems like that doesn’t matter in actual practice. At any rate, she has decided to take Chapter 7 bankruptcy. My question is if she files for her bankruptcy BEFORE the court date does she still have to show up in court or is the court automatically notified she has declared bankruptcy?
Irvin, legally she does NOT have to show up. Her lawyer should makes sure both the court and opposing party are notified in order to avoid and problems that would have to be corrected later on.
Thanks Robert but she is doing it herself because she can’t afford to pay a lawyer. So may I ask how would she go about notifying the court and opposing party (after she files) prior to the court date (e.g. send both a copy of the filing by certified mail)?
Dear Mr. Weed,
First thank you for this straight forward and understandable information, it has relieved our panic when we received our warrant in debt. I went to a local agency to get help with several years of past due state and federal income taxes. In the first (free) meeting they were friendly, seemed trustworthy, and I left thinking we had a clear and logical agreement on what would be done and how much I could afford. Almost from day one I could see that they were not going to follow our agreements and march along at their own pace, continually sending large bills for services that were not helping and in two cases taking credit for agreements I had made with the state and IRS. When I saw the first invoices I immediately told them to stop all work on my behalf and demanded that they reduce the charges and the result was a warrant-in-debt. We went to our first hearing and asked for a trial, sent in our grounds of defense, and await the trial in May. So unlike many of the examples above, this is a dissatisfaction with the services, not an inability to pay. Do we stand a chance of getting anything other than a judgement against us?
Judges in Virginia tend to be pro-business. But you should win if you can persuade the judge they did not perform according to the contract. Good records will really be key. Good luck.
The Community Services Board (CSB) in our town in central-west Virginia garnished part of our 2016 state tax refund for a medical bill that CSB claimed against our adult son for services rendered to him in 2012. In 2012, our son was 21 years old, and we had claimed him as dependent on our tax returns because he had been a student. We stopped claiming him as dependent in 2014. Is there a specific law in the Virginia Code that permits CSB to hold us responsible for our adult son’s medical bill of 2012, and thus garnish our 2016 state tax return? If so, which specific law would it be?
Sorry but I don’t know. Good question, wish I had an answer.
Hi Mr. Weed – thank you for the great information! My employer recently received a call from the local sheriff’s office asking if I was still employed here. My employer told me they received the call, and that it was most likely to confirm my employment for a wage garnishment. That was several weeks ago, and so far no papers have been dropped-off. I also have not received a warrant in debt. Is it common for a sheriff’s office to call an employer and inquire if someone is still employed in conjunction with serving garnishment papers? I have a really old debt with Maryland for an insurance lapse (I think it dates back to 1999?, and was around $400.00 but I don’t think I was living in the state at the time, so I ignored it. Perhaps it is coming back to bite me…
Glad my blog was helpful to you. I’d not be certain that it was the sheriff’s office, rather than a debt collector claiming to be the sheriff. Unless they got a judgment against you several years ago, they are way to late to send you a warrant in debt. But lots of people have judgments somewhere along the line that they never actually knew about. You might want to Google Virginia Court System, look at the general district court in the county where you live, and see if anything is there. If you see something, you’ll know what this is about. But if you don’t there still might be a judgment from someplace you lived, or they thought you lived, somewhere in the past.
I need to file a Warrant In Debt against a firm who hired me to photograph several jobs for them. They are to pay travel expenses; hotel, mileage, food, and have failed to do so after several attempts and now are not communicating any longer. They are still a viable operating business. They have paid me for the jobs, but not the expenses which are now north of $1,000. I work and live in Virginia, their corporation is in Maryland. From what I have read it appears I can file against them in Virginia, but I am not sure about this and would like confirmation. I also am not sure who to list as the defendant. Them being a corporation with a DBA and a registered agent, do I list all parties, e.g. Company- ABC, DBA: DEF, and then the individual who is the president who hired me? The last detail is I don’t see where to place the registered agent’s name. Unless of course I have to file in Maryland?
Will, I would guess that a collection lawyer would take your case for maybe half of the $1000.00. they owe you. I think that would be worthwhile, rather than trying to do it yourself. My own experience is helping people who are trying to avoid debt rather than collect it, so I don’t know what you should do, if you are doing it yourself.
There was a warrant in debt on my door for someone who lives here before me. I moved in less than a month ago. What should I do to ensure this person has a better chance of being aware of their hearing before the date passes?
The best thing you can do is to mail it back to the courthouse with a note form you saying that you are now resident at that address and the person named on the warrant in debt has moved. That SHOULD force the debt collector to find the person’s right address.
I have a warrant in debt from the lawyers of an apartment community my husband and I shared. I left him (he was bipolar and very unstable), and he ended up leaving the apartment soon after. We were separated (and in VA there isn’t a ‘legal seperation’) and he has since committed suicide. The warrant in debt is in both of our names and was left at my mothers house (where I had stayed after I left) and another was sent to his parents (where he had stayed after he left the apartment). I do owe this I suppose, but I wasn’t the only one listed on the lease, he was too. I’m not sure what to do, with all the fees it’s almost $5k. The apartment was in Stanford and our children and I live in Richmond now. Is there anything I can do?
If that’s the main financial problem left over from that marriage you may just figure you need to pay it. If there are more debts that need to be cleared, too, you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
Based on what you told me, divorce, bipolar husband, I’m guessing there are a lot of bad debts out there.
Shannon M Hall
Question, I received a warrant in debt from an over drawn bank account. Live in northern VA but the court date was in Richmond. I have been out of work for at least 6months. Since my paper work to transfer it to a local court was late, I received a default judgment of 6% interest, how do I set up a payment plan? Obviously I don’t have an income right now, not sure what to do next.
Well I can tell you what NOT to do. Do NOT let them know where you main bank account is, because they can just garnish it now that they know where you bank. Do NOT send money orders because you are just stuck if they get lost in the mail.
I was wondering if you are the one filing a warrant in debt is it legal to send it to the persons work if you do not know the persons new address?
That’s a good question and I’m sorry I can’t answer it. The person you are chasing just MIGHT be someone I’m trying to help. So I need to not say anything more.
My elderly mother received a Warrant in Debt regarding some of her unpaid medical bills. She’s on Social Security which is her only source of income. Is it possible that they can freeze her bank account and/or garnish her social security payments? She called me about this in tears this morning and I’m honestly as worried as she is.
Thank you in advance for your help,
They cannot garnish social security from her bank account. And the bank is required to look and see that it’s social security, according to a regulation Obama put in. They also can’t garnish it from the Social Security Administration, either.
So based on what you said, she’s safe.
I received a warrant in debt form an old Endotocs bill. Some Lawyer is now suing me for 151.00 dollars the amount out of 900 that I still owe. I called to pay them today the 151 and the lady said I owed 370. With Interest and lawyer fees. I said I had no problem paying the 151 but I will not pay lawyer fees and interst. She said nope that I owe the 370. I signed a piece of paper at the Dr’s office in 2015 saying that I agreed to interest and lawyer fees. I said I am not paying that but I have 151 I can pay you today. She said we will see you in court. I said ok, How can I get it so I can just pay the 151?
Thanks for your question. There’s no good answer. But if you go to court on the return date and say you are disputing the amount of the debt and want a bill of particulars and a trial date, that MIGHT make the lawyer more reasonable if you talk to him in the hallway afterward. The operative word is MIGHT. But they probably do not want to go to the trouble of having to prove the exact amount you owe and that may be enough to make them settle. No guarantee. The law is on their side, but you can try to make them work for it and see if they agree to settle instead.
hello mr weed, i’m wondering if you couldn’t help me out. about 30 minutes ago i was served with a warrant in debt for a walmart my wife had gotten about 3 years ago in my name. due to us living paycheck to paycheck i told her to stop paying for it. now i was under the the impression that i couldn’t get a loaf of bread on credit so i have never really cared about my credit (makes me wonder what idiot at walmart allowed me to have a card? (maybe old credit? whatever on to the point)1st there NO WAY i can pay this. 2nd i receive ssi going direct deposit. 3rd my wife works at walmart. so here’s my deal i KNOW they can’t garnish my ssi check. not 100% about it after it gets to the bank. but if all that is untouchable. by the way, my wife says her name wasn’t on the card so i’ll have to take her word on that, memory of a goldfish here =) anyway, if that is untouchable, are my wife’s wages safe? & if so can they do anything to her because she works at walmart? as stated above, if they put the debt against my credit i could care less. just want to make sure nothing more will happen before i ignore court date lol
From what you told me, you’ve checked into it and doing nothing will work for you. You might be overlooking something, there’s no way for me to tell that from here. When people talk to me about BK and doing nothing will work, I tell them that straight up. but some lawyers may try to sell people on it anyway. but the only way to know for sure you are safe is meet with a lawyer where you are and go over your entire situation.
What if you are not working – I am a stay-at-home mom? I do not have a paycheck to garnish.
Once they get a judgment they can chase you for 20 years. You will probably have a paycheck, or bank account, or house somewhere along the line.
thank you for replying. I appreciate it. I guess my question is not how to avoid the debt – I will be able to start sending them money in about 6 months. I owe $16,000 and will be able to make monthly payments to them until it is paid off (the goal is 3 years). My question is can they put a lien on my house and make it impossible for me to rent out? Can they garnish my husband’s paycheck? What are the limits to collecting the money from me?
Once they get a judgment against you, they do NOT have to work with you on payments; they often will, but nothing makes them do it.
Yes, they can put a lien on your house. If your husband is on the debt, they can garnish his payment. If you are getting sued for $16,000 you really need to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy CAN put the debts out on a payment plan over three years; and MAYBE a Chapter 7 can just clear the debt. If you can’t pay, you need to recognize that you can’t pay.
Dr. Mr. Weed,
Thank you for the very helpful article.
I received a Virginia “Warrant in Debt” today.
I have tenant who had given notice to move out directly to our property management company. While the tenancy was still in effect, the management company with my permission, arranged for a contractor, whom they suggested, to go to the property to provide an estimate for the turnover.
Although the tenant had moved, he still had many possessions left in the property, which, presumably, he was going to remove prior to the expiration of his tenancy.
Apparently, the contractor went to the property and cleaned everything out, taking the tenant’s possessions “to the dump.”
Upon learning of the error, the management company notified me via email of what had happened, and stated clearly that this was “their problem,” but that they wanted me to know the circumstances as a courtesy.
To clarify, I was not party to any discussions between the management company and the contractor.
Now, the management company has disclaimed any liability, citing a disclaimer clause in my contract with them.
The contractor will not take responsibility, claiming that the management company told him to perform the work. The management company vehemently denies this, and I do believe them.
Today, I received, via US Mail, a Warrant in Debt, sent from my former tenant. There is no indication that an attorney is involved presently. And I have not yet been served other than the mailed notice.
Both the contractor and I are named in the Warrant.
My lease contains the following disclaimers, which may be applicable:
19. PERSONAL PROPERTY OF TENANT.
A. All personal property placed in or about the Premises shall be at the sole risk of the Tenant or the parties owning the same, and Landlord shall not be liable for the loss, destruction, theft of, or damage to such property. Landlord strongly encourages Tenant to obtain insurance coverage for their personal property usually referred to as “Renter’s Insurance.”
25. LIABILITY OF LANDLORD/AGENT. Neither Landlord nor Agent shall be liable for any injury or damage to persons or property either caused by or resulting from falling plaster, dampness, overflow or leakage upon or into the premises of water, rain, Snow, ice, sewage, steam, gas, or electricity or by any breakage in war malfunction of pipes, plumbing fixtures, air conditioners, or appliances or leakage, breakage or obstruction of soil pipes, nor for any injury, or damage from any other cause, unless any such injury or damage shall be the result of the deliberate act of Landlord or Agent, and Tenant shall give prompt notice to Landlord or Agent of any of the foregoing occurrences, however caused.
Question 1: If I do not receive any other service than the US Mail in my receipt, am I legally obligated to appear for the court date?
Question 2: Given the disclaimers and the facts above, does it appear that I have any legal liability in this instance?
Question 3: Given the facts above, is this a case in which I could reasonably appear in court to defend myself?
Question 4: Or, should I immediately turn this over to my insurance company?
Thank you very much for your service and assistance.
You definitely need to notify your insurance company. You definitely need to appear on the court date. If more money is at stake than you want to lose, you need to talk to a landlord-tenant lawyer.
Yes, I totally agree with what you said. I think that it is really important to talk to lawyer in order to avoid issues or problems. Thanks for sharing this article.
Thank you for this article.
I received a Virginia “warrent in debt”
a few days ago. I do owe the debt. I called the company that has my debt and I am paying them in two large amounts. One amount comes out today September 9th, then the next payment October 4, 2019. My court date is October 9, 2019. My question is, do I still need to show up for court since the debt will be paid in full before my court date? Should I write the court a letter to let them know I will have it paid off before the court date and that I’m not able to show up to court. I’m trying not to miss work, but I understand this is important.
Good question. The COURT does not care whether you are there or not. Whether you should go depends on whether you trust the creditor to drop the case as promised when they get your payment. How firm is that deal?
How would you go about paying for one and not going to court?
I see some are saying they signed for the warrant. I never signed anything. Would I still have to pay the lawyer fee and interest? Do I go straight to the clerk’s office and pay or go to a lawyer?
It depends on if their lawyer will agree to accept just the amount. If they insist on the lawyer fee and interest, it depends on whether the agreement your first signed says they can–and whether they can find it. If their agreement says they can hit you for lawyer fees, then they likley win on that.
The clerks office does NOT handle payments; they just schedule. You need to work out payments with the other side’s lawyer.
Can I pay it before we go to the judgement court case and then will they drop the case before we get to the case date
Yes you can and they should by law. It would be smart to get their agreement to drop it in writing–or to show up–just to be sure they don’t get mixed up and accidentally go ahead.
Hello, Mr Weed. I had a question. I received a WID from a finance company, Mariners Finance, in which I have a loan of about $1100. I missed a payment in November and December and they have already sent this to a lawyers office for a date of 02/02/2020. I had some life events occur in the last few months and went behind on a lot of my bills. I recently came into some money and am starting to play catch up, but I can pay this account in full, but I am wondering if I should pay Mariners or do I have to pay the lawyer or should I go to court to inform I will pay it? I just feel they moved to a WID so quickly, even though they themselves are still contacting me even after I received it. I just want to make sure I do the right thing to avoid any mishaps. Thank you in advanced.
You’re right that Mariner is probably the fastest outfit in the country to bring in the lawyers. Their lawyer, if its Kevin F, can be as difficult guy, too.
The most important thing is that they NOT get a judgment against you on 2/2. That will pull down your credit score a lot, even if you later pay it off.
Second, if possible, you want to avoid having to pay their lawyer, on top of what you owed them before.
What’s the best way to do that?
If Mariner is still contacting you, pay them. But make sure you have an agreement that you are paid in full. (In other words, that you don’t still owe for their legal fees.)
To be safe, I’d still go to court on 2/2 and make sure Mariner’s lawyer drops it. Be ready to jump up and tell the judge it’s paid in full, in case Mariner FORGETS to tell the lawyer it’s paid.
If Mariner won’t accept payment in full, then contact the lawyers office and agree on a pay off. And even then I’d go to court on 2/2 to tell the judge it’s been paid in case the lawyer forgets.
Thank you so much for the advice and in good timing Mr. Weed. It is much appreciative. I emailed them this weekend and they stated they will take my payment in full, so I will go that route. But the advice of still going in to ensure that it is aware that it is paid in full is worth its weight in gold. Thank you again for the much needed advice.
I was involved in an MVA with my 2 kids, the other drivers at fault. I’m filing a warrant in debt against my insurance company and the driver’s insurance company, I was told there’s a certain way to file with kids is this true? I’ve been looking online and I can’t find anything but I’d like to get this ball rolling
I sure would NOT handle your own car accident case wihtout a lawyer, especially if you had kids in the car.
Hi- I had a warrant in debt served on me from a credit card company, repped by an attorney in another state. I tried to negotiate with them at the start of covid when I lost my job. I’d never missed a payment before then. When they refused, I stopped paying. The WID is for a lot more than even my original credit limit! I went to court and pleaded not guilty. I honestly think this bill has been padded. After almost 6 years of on time payments for more than the minimum balance, I don’t believe the amount they said I owed is accurate. The judge ordered a Bill of Particulars be sent to me. If I go to trial, I want to argue this bill is padded somehow (WID specifically says the attorney fees are not in the amount they claim I owe). I also don’t have a job, own nothing, and am on public aid. Is it possible I could ask for a breakdown of the entire bill? And ask why they didn’t use the program they stated on their website they would provide people who experienced income loss due to covid? And ask them for further discovery so I can get these questions answered?
For the Bill of Particulars they should send you enough info to answer those questions. And you can go to court with your own calculation. Your grounds of defense should state what you think the amount should be.
Question for you though. If you are out of work and on public aid, right now they may not be able to collect anything form you. Is the difference in what they say and what you say worth the trouble. (Obviously you’ll need to do your own calculations before you can answer that. If the amount is impossible for you to pay–and will still be impossible when you get work again–maybe you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.
Thanks. I am not sure what I plan to do. I paid more than the minimum balance for almost 6 years, so I find it incredible that I would still owe more than what my original credit limit is. I want them to produce the Bill of Particiulars, and I want them to explain why they didn’t allow me to negotiate for some type of relief, especially when their site said that because of Covid, they would work with people who found themselves in financial trouble, yet when you click on the link they provided to apply for help, it actually gives an error message. I thought that due to Covid, the credit card companies were supposed to work with people who called and said they had issues…but either they did nothing, or they deliberately chose not to work with me. After years of making payments on time without one issue, then suddenly, they’re unwilling to negotiate, then they force me to just abandon my payment plan as a result, then they come after me for nonpayment while we’re still in a pandemic! And I’m still unemployed. And I didn’t make any payment at all since May 2020, then all of a sudden, I got an email from them saying “thank you for your payment,” when I didn’t make any payment. That was in about March 2021. Then a month later, I get this WID n the mail…. something is up. Something is suspicious, and I want them to answer in court. I intend to bring all this up in court. Because the real trigger for me is that the tiny amount they took from the “payment” they accepted came from some kind of $2 credit from something they threw together from some bogus transaction from some points or something that they liquidated.. or something like that. If they were willing to take that as a payment, why didn’t they accept a low payment from before when I called them repeatedly? Suddenly, they’re thanking me for a payment I didn’t make? And if they were willing to accept that as a payment, why now and not back in March 2020? I just think I should go to court and make them answer. The debt collectors who are suing me have called me twice. Why? Just produce the bill of particulars and let’s see each other in court!
Yes, you should definitely go to court and make them answer. Hope it works.
Thanks. I will report back what happens. They are odd birds- I am in school and asked for an extension of time because I had an exam and lectures that day, and they claimed they couldn’t do it- then told me I didn’t have to show up in court and they would “try” to get an extension. I’m not stupid. If they “try” and fail, then the judge moved ahead, they could have filed a motion for summary judgment. So I talked to my teacher and went to court. They didn’t know I was there, and the attorney went up when my name was called and assumed I wasn’t there and started talking when I rolled up behind him. He was shocked. So the judge set this whole thing into motion and asked them to produce a Bill of Particulars. I’m positive they were going to get that summary judgment if I hadn’t been there to stop that from happening. It’s under $8000, so getting a bankruptcy for so little would be a bit much, but I will see how this plays out. Once I graduate, then my lifestyle really will change when I get a job, but it may be at least a year before that happens, and I know they definitely don’t want to wait that long. They most they said they would be willing to give me is 90 days. I did not agree with that time table at all.
I appreciate your advice.