Facing a debt collection lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the court overseeing the case and the legal process. Below, our North Texas debt defense attorneys discuss what you should know about Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts. We also outline what you can do if facing a Dallas County Justice Court case for debt collection.
At Warren & Migliaccio, we help Texans resolve credit card and other debt collection cases. If you are facing a debt collection lawsuit, we encourage you to contact us about your situation. We are happy to review your case and help you understand your legal options for putting the lawsuit behind you.
What Are the Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts?
The Dallas County Justice of the Peace Courts have jurisdiction over minor civil and criminal cases. Justice of the Peace Courts are also known as Justice Courts or JP Courts.
The lawsuit notice you received should tell you which Justice Court in Dallas County is handling your case. Dallas County has 10 Justice of the Peace Courts in five precincts. Each court has a Justice of the Peace or judge that presides over cases.
What Is the Limit for Debt Claims in Justice of the Peace Court in Dallas?
Justice of the Peace Courts have jurisdiction over cases where the amount in dispute is $20,000 or less, including any attorney’s fees. However, this limit does not include statutory interest and court costs. Even so, many credit card debt collection cases occur in JP Courts.
What Do I Do If Sued for Credit Card Debt in a Dallas County Justice of the Peace Court?
The steps you should take after being sued for credit card debt are similar, no matter which Texas court handles your case. These steps include:
- Do not ignore the lawsuit. Ignoring a debt collection lawsuit will not make it go away. You will likely lose the case if you fail to respond to the suit. The Justice Court handling the case may issue a default judgment against you. A default judgment would grant the creditor or debt collector the legal right to the debt amount claimed. They could then pursue bank garnishment, property liens, or seizure to get the money from you.
- Read the citation carefully. The lawsuit documents should include important information about the lawsuit. For example, it should state who is suing you and the damages the plaintiff is pursuing. It should also say which court is handling your case and the deadline to respond to the lawsuit.
- Consult with a debt defense attorney. We recommend consulting with a debt defense lawyer from our firm as soon as possible. We can review the claims against you and determine the best action to resolve your case. We can also prepare and file your response within the proper time frame, so you do not risk a default judgment. While you are not required to have an attorney, consulting with a debt defense lawyer can provide valuable insights and guidance about protecting your best interests in a collections case.
- File a response. You must file a written response, called an Answer, with the appropriate court within the specified time frame. Your response should include any defenses against the lawsuit, such as disputing the amount claimed, questioning the debt’s validity, or asserting that the statute of limitations has expired.
You can file your response online or in person. For example, you can use eFileTexas to file it online. You can also take it in person to the district clerk’s office in the appropriate county (where the creditor or debt collector filed the lawsuit).
How Long Do You Have to Respond to a Credit Card Lawsuit in Texas Justice Court?
Texas courts have short deadlines for responding to a lawsuit. If one of the Dallas County Justice Courts is handling your case, you have 14 days from the day you received notice to file an Answer, or legal response, to the lawsuit.
Under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 502.5, if the fourteenth day falls on a weekend or court holiday, you have until the next business day the court is open. In addition, if the fourteenth day falls on a day when the court closes before 5:00 PM, you have until the court’s next business day. You must also provide a copy of your Answer to the plaintiff.
Again, if you miss this deadline, you risk losing the case and having a default judgment made against you. Because of this risk, it is critical to act quickly once you have received notice of a lawsuit.
How Can Warren & Migliaccio Help Me With a Debt Collection Lawsuit?
At Warren & Migliaccio, we defend individuals facing debt collection lawsuits in Justice of the Peace, County, and District Courts in Texas. We help individuals across the state of Texas resolve various types of debt collection cases, including:
- Lawsuits filed by creditors, like banks and credit card companies
- Lawsuits filed by debt buyers, like debt collection agencies
- Collection lawsuits related to credit cards
- Collection lawsuits about secure and unsecured personal loans
Our debt collection defense attorneys can help you in many ways, including, but not limited to:
- Answering your legal questions
- Helping you understand your legal options to resolve the case
- Preparing and filing your Answer to avoid a default judgment
- Investigating the validity and strength of the creditor or debt collector’s case against you
- Developing a strong defense strategy based on your unique situation
- Representing you and defending you in court
- Negotiating a favorable settlement that works for your situation
Schedule a Consultation With Our Debt Collection Defense Lawyers
We understand that facing a credit card debt lawsuit can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. If you are being sued in one of Dallas County’s Justice of the Peace Courts for debt collection, you do not have to face the lawsuit alone. At Warren & Migliaccio, we help Texans resolve these cases.
We have offices conveniently located in Dallas and Richardson. Call one of our offices or contact us online to learn about your best legal options today. We are happy to discuss your situation and how we can help you during a consultation.