Advice from a Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer on Car Repossession Rights

Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Plano TXFew things are as frightening as personal bankruptcy, but your bankruptcy lawyer in Plano, TX can help you understand your rights when your personal assets run out.

One of the more devastating aspects of bankruptcy is the repossession of items that you have defaulted on. If a creditor has a lien on your vehicle, they can claim the vehicle if you fail to make payments. So how does the process work, and how will a personal bankruptcy lawyer in Plano, TX advise you in a repo situation?

When Will Authorities Repossess my Car?

Repo agents won’t confront you or take a car from your garage–in fact, that’s illegal. It’s their job to track your use of the car though, and they will snatch it from you when you’re not expecting it. They can (and will) take your car while you are in a restaurant, shopping for groceries, or performing errands.

In fact, personal bankruptcy lawyers in Plano have experienced repo agents taking cars from individuals’ driveways–and that is completely legal.

What If I “Walk in on the Agents” While They are Taking my Car?

“The repossession may not be done if there is a breach of the peace,” said Gerry Beyer, professor of law at Texas Tech University.  “If the vehicle owner ‘pitches a fit’ breaching the peace, the repossession must stop.”

That’s why repo agents will take the car when you aren’t around and when you least expect it. But if agents can’t enter your garage or “breach the peace,” couldn’t a car owner in default simply continue to hide the car or pitch fits to the agents?

Withholding Collateral is a Crime

Unfortunately, you won’t get the green light on withholding collateral from a personal bankruptcy lawyer. Plano, TX doesn’t see this situation much, but laws are in place to deal with obstinate car owners who have defaulted on payments.

First, a court can issue a “Writ of Sequestration,” which is effectively a warrant against your vehicle. This is only a civil mandate resulting from a lawsuit, but pitching a fit or hiding the vehicle will no longer work.

Secondly, Texas has a law entitled “Hindering Secured Creditors” — this takes the issue out of civil courts and makes it a criminal offense. If you hide the car, damage it, or obstruct the creditors, you could face legal punishment.

What Happens After the Car is Repossessed?

“The owner [sometimes] thinks that if the repossession takes place, he/she is ‘off the hook,’” says professor Gerry Beyer. “The owner does not understand that the creditor will sell the car and that the owner remains responsible for the deficiency. Most car buyers are ‘underwater’ – that is, they owe more on the car than it is worth.”

Per Texas law, the creditor must inform when the sale of your vehicle will happen. This allows you to put the money together to reclaim your vehicle.

If you don’t pay for it, though, a sale will take place, and the vehicle will likely sell for less than the value you still owe. That leaves you on the hook for the remaining balance.

Despite the trauma of losing your vehicle, you do have financial options on the table. A personal bankruptcy lawyer in Plano, TX can help you navigate those options, make good decisions in the future, and rebuild your credit.

Collins & Arnove | Personal Bankruptcy Lawyer Plano TX | 972-516-4255