Are there Debtor’s Prisons in Kansas?

You cannot be arrested just for owing money in Kansas, but many creditors have figured out a way to get you in police custody despite that rule.  If a creditor successfully sues you, they can get a judgement.  Once they have the judgement, they can use that to garnish your wages or your bank accounts.

If they don’t know where you work or where you bank, they might set a hearing for you to attend so they can ask you questions about where you work and where you bank.  Those are called Hearings in Aid of Execution.  They are special hearings because they are court ordered and you are required to attend.

If you do not appear at a Hearing in Aid of Execution, then the attorney that set the hearing can file a motion to have you held in contempt of court.  The judge in the case might find that you violated a court order by not attending the hearing and hold you in contempt.  The contempt order turns into a bench warrant and then goes out to the police and sheriff’s offices.

Once you are arrested, you are taken to be processed at the police state or sheriff’s office.  In some cases, you can be held until you appear in front of a judge but quite often you can bond out after your arrest by paying the bond that is attached to the warrant.

In our experience, most of our clients that have been through this did not know about the bench warrant or the missed hearings.  We often discover that the mail had been sent to the wrong address.

How do you get a bench warrant lifted?  Well one option is to file a motion to lift the warrant in the state court and get a hearing in front of the judge in that case.  You could call in and request a hearing and explain to the court what happened and see if the court will set the warrant aside.

What about filing a bankruptcy?  A bankruptcy case will set aside these kinds of warrants.  The state court cannot continue to hold someone in contempt once the bankruptcy proceeding is filed.  The contempt order was being used to try and collect a debt, and the automatic stay in the bankruptcy case prevents the collection of the vast majority of debts.  The contempt order must be lifted once the bankruptcy case is filed.

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