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Can I Go to Jail for Breach of Contract in New York?

Breach of contract is considered a serious offense in New York, but is it enough to land you in jail? This is what you might be asking yourself if you have been accused of breaching a contract yourself. In many situations, these offenses are accidental. Perhaps you did not read the contract thoroughly, and you were not fully aware of its conditions. Or maybe you believe that you were deceived in some way by the wording of the contract.

Whatever the case may be, it is important to get in touch with our experienced attorneys as soon as possible. With our lawyers on your side, you stand a better chance of achieving a favorable legal outcome. You may discover that the legal consequences are actually much less serious than you initially thought.

Breach of Contract is a Civil Offense

Breach of a contract is a civil offense, which means that generally speaking, you cannot go to jail for breaching a contract. Instead, you will be sued. The plaintiff will have to prove that you breached the contract, and that they suffered damages as a result of this breach. If they can show that their losses (usually financial in nature) were significant, you may be ordered to compensate them. You may also have to pay additional penalties above and beyond the losses incurred by the plaintiff.

When the court orders you to pay a settlement to the plaintiff, you must comply. Failing to do so will result in further legal consequences, although this is handled much in the same way as any other debt. You cannot go to jail for not paying your debts. However, you can theoretically be arrested for not attending certain hearings in connection to a breach of contract lawsuit. This is virtually the only possible way you can experience jail time for breaching a contract.

Fraud is a Criminal Offense

On the other hand, fraud is considered a criminal offense in New York. Certain types of fraud might involve contracts. For example, someone might impersonate someone else while signing a contract, using their name, their signature, and their personal identification numbers.

Breach of Contract vs. Fraudulent Inducement

Breach of contract is often confused with fraudulent inducement in New York. Despite the inclusion of the word “fraud,” the phrase “fraudulent inducement” is more closely connected with the crime of breach of contract. In addition, fraudulent inducement is often allowed to stand with breach of contract claims. Fraudulent inducement is a specific type of contract-based misconduct in which one party tricks or deceives another into signing a contract.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the New York area for a qualified, experienced attorney, look no further than The Glassman Law Group. We have considerable experience with breach of contract cases, and we can help you strive toward a positive legal outcome. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, we can make sure that you achieve justice. Book your consultation today.

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