Start My Answer

Nolle Prosequi – Definition

George Simons | August 17, 2022

Summary: Nolle prosequi is basically when a prosecutor chooses to dismiss a case. Here is SoloSuit's guide on nolle prosequi and how it applies in debt collection cases.

If you are embroiled in a legal dispute, such as a debt collection lawsuit or having charges brought against you by the state, you may hear the term, “Nolle Prosequiand ask yourself, “what the heck does that mean?” Here is the answer - Nolle Prosequi is a phrase with Latin origins that basically means, "will no longer prosecute." It is tantamount to a prosecutor deciding to dismiss charges that were filed against you.

Is Nolle Prosequi a common legal term used across the country?

No, the term Nolle Prosequi is not a common term or a foundational phrase of parlance by members of the legal community. In fact, some states (e.g., New York) do not even use the phrase during legal proceedings. Instead, many states have embraced using clearer and more modern phrases such as “dismissal.”

Understand the connection between Nolle Prosequi and the dismissal of a lawsuit

Nolle Prosequi is often invoked by a prosecutor if, after reviewing the relevant evidence, decide that it is prudent to discontinue the prosecution against you, or a loved one. Once a prosecutor has invoked Nolle Prosequi, defense attorneys and judges then refer to the charges that were filed as "nol prossed" or dismissed. Please keep in mind that a prosecutor has the discretionary authority to Nolle Prosequi all charges brought against you, or only some of the charges.

Is a Nolle Prosequi filing the equivalent of an acquittal?

No, a prosecutor deciding to invoke Nolle Prosequi is not the same thing as an acquittal by a jury. Nevertheless, the ramifications of a prosecutor invoking Nolle Prosequi means it is as though the charges were never filed against you. That is quite different from a jury acquitting you of the charges. Another big distinction is that an acquittal of charges means that the government is effectively prohibited from engaging in further legal proceedings for those specific charges (commonly referred to as “double jeopardy”). If, on the other hand, a prosecutor invokes Nolle Prosequi prior to trial, it leaves open the proverbial door for the government to file the same charges against you at a later date.

Nolle Prosequi and debt collection lawsuits

The invocation of Nolle Prosequi does not typically occur when someone is being subjected to a debt collection lawsuit. This is primarily due to the fact that Nolle Prosequi is a legal tool most commonly used by prosecutors handling criminal cases. A debt collection lawsuit filed by a collection agency or creditor is handled by civil courts. Nevertheless, the possibility of having a debt collection lawsuit dismissed prior to trial by the attorney, or attorneys, representing the creditor is a very real thing. For example, there are instances when a debt collector inadvertently filed suit against you when you did not actually owe the debt. In this scenario, if you make clear that the debt collector filed suit against the wrong party, they may opt to simply dismiss the collector lawsuit.

Remember, creditors and debt collectors only have a limited time to pursue a debt. Otherwise, they may not be able to recover the amount owed.

As a result, they may decide to sell the debt account to another debt collection agency. Alternatively, they may pass it on to another agency under their business. Regardless of where it lands, you can be sure that the debt account has switched hands at least twice.

Numerous mistakes could happen during the process. For instance, a computing error is all it takes to change the debt amount or the details of the consumer who allegedly owes the debt. This is why most debt collection attorneys advise their clients to request the debt collection agency to verify the debt account.

The request for verification is usually submitted after the consumer receives a notice about a lawsuit filed against them by the debt collection agency. When they receive this notice, they can either admit, deny, or simply state that they don't understand some aspects of the claims.

As a result, it will be the debt collector's responsibility to prove that the consumer owes the stated amount. If they can't prove this, there won't be any legal grounds to sue the consumer.

You can use these affirmative defenses in a debt collection lawsuit

You have different affirmative defenses to choose from when you want to dispute a debt collection lawsuit. An affirmative defense refers to the reason you believe the plaintiff does not have any legal grounds to file a claim or lawsuit against you. Here are some common examples of affirmative defenses you can use in your debt collection lawsuit:

  • The debt was paid either partially or in full: If this is your affirmative defense, you'll be required to provide evidence of the payment made to the debt account. You'll need a receipt or any other eligible proof.
  • The statute of limitations has expired: The statute of limitations is the amount of time a plaintiff has to take legal action against a defendant. The statute of limitations for debt collection lawsuits varies from state to state. If the statute of limitations on your debt has expired, the plaintiff can't file a lawsuit against you.
  • Violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: The FDCPA has strict guidelines debt collection agencies must follow when pursuing a debt. If they violate these guidelines, you may be able to countersue.

Other common affirmative defenses include stolen identity, mistaken identity, the debt was part of a bankruptcy case, and the debt collection agency had poor bookkeeping.

When the debt collection company realizes that your affirmative defenses are justified, chances are they will not want to proceed with the lawsuit. This is because the judge will most likely throw the case out of court. To avoid this, they might enter a nolle prosequi, preventing the case from heading to trial.

But this doesn't necessarily mean that the debt collector will stop contacting you. They may still attempt to recover the debt out of court but cannot file a lawsuit or take any action against you.

Use SoloSuit to fight debt collectors

SoloSuit can help you defend yourself when debt collectors come after you for a debt you owe. It's important to remember that you have options when it comes to debt collection.

After their initial contact, try sending a Debt Validation Letter to the debt collector. This is a formal request for them to validate your debt. If they don't have the proper documentation and proof to verify that the debt is actually yours, chances are they will back off.

If you have been sued for a debt you owe, the first step to winning in court is to respond to the lawsuit with a written Answer. Check out this video to learn more about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


Get Started


We have answers.
Join our community of over 40,000 people.

You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.


Ask a Question


>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate

>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)

How to answer a summons for debt collection in your state

Here's a list of guides for other states.

All 50 states.



Guides on how to beat every debt collector

Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.


Win against credit card companies

Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.

Going to Court for Credit Card Debt — Key Tips

How to Negotiate Credit Card Debts

How to Settle a Credit Card Debt Lawsuit — Ultimate Guide

Get answers to these FAQs

Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.

Why do debt collectors block their phone numbers?

How long do debt collectors take to respond to debt validation letters?

What are the biggest debt collector companies in the US?

Is Zombie Debt Still a Problem in 2019?

SoloSuit FAQ

If a car is repossessed, do I still owe the debt?

Is Portfolio Recovery Associates Legit?

Is There a Judgment Against Me Without my Knowledge?

Should I File Bankruptcy Before or After a Judgment?

What is a default judgment?— What do I do?

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills — What Do I Do?

What Happens If Someone Sues You and You Have No Money?

What Happens If You Never Answer Debt Collectors?

What Happens When a Debt Is Sold to a Collection Agency

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

What is the Deadline for a Defendants Answer to Avoid a Default Judgment?

Can a Judgement Creditor Take my Car?

Can I Settle a Debt After Being Served?

Can I Stop Wage Garnishment?

Can You Appeal a Default Judgement?

Do I Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney?

Do I Need a Payday Loans Lawyer?

Do student loans go away after 7 years? — Student Loan Debt Guide

Am I Responsible for My Spouses Medical Debt?

Should I Marry Someone With Debt?

Can a Debt Collector Leave a Voicemail?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

What Happens If a Defendant Does Not Pay a Judgment?

How Does Debt Assignment Work?

Can You Serve Someone with a Collections Lawsuit at Their Work?

What Is a Warrant in Debt?

How Many Times Can a Judgment be Renewed in Oklahoma?

Can an Eviction Be Reversed?

Does Debt Consolidation Have Risks?

What Happens If You Avoid Getting Served Court Papers?

Does Student Debt Die With You?

Can Debt Collectors Call You at Work in Texas?

How Much Do You Have to Be in Debt to File for Chapter 7?

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Debt in Washington?

How Long Does a Judgment Last?

Can Private Disability Payments Be Garnished?

Can Debt Collectors Call From Local Numbers?

Does the Fair Credit Reporting Act Work in Florida?

The Truth: Should You Never Pay a Debt Collection Agency?

Should You Communicate with a Debt Collector in Writing or by Telephone?

Do I Need a Debt Negotiator?

What Happens After a Motion for Default Is Filed?

Can a Process Server Leave a Summons Taped to My Door?

Learn More With These Additional Resources:

Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.

How to Make a Debt Validation Letter - The Ultimate Guide

How to Make a Motion to Compel Arbitration Without an Attorney

How to Stop Wage Garnishment — Everything You Need to Know

How to File an FDCPA Complaint Against Your Debt Collector (Ultimate Guide)

Defending Yourself in Court Against a Debt Collector

Tips on you can to file an FDCPA lawsuit against a debt collection agency

Advice on how to answer a summons for debt collection.

Effective strategies for how to get back on track after a debt lawsuit

New Hampshire Statute of Limitations on Debt

Sample Cease and Desist Letter Against Debt Collectors

The Ultimate Guide to Responding to a Debt Collection Lawsuit in Utah

West Virginia Statute of Limitations on Debt

What debt collectors cannot do — FDCPA explained

Defending Yourself in Court Against Debt Collector

How to Liquidate Debt

Arkansas Statute of Limitations on Debt

Youre Drowning in Debt — Heres How to Swim

Help! Im Being Sued by My Debt Collector

How to Make a Motion to Vacate Judgment

How to Answer Summons for Debt Collection in Vermont

North Dakota Statute of Limitations on Debt

ClearPoint Debt Management Review

Indiana Statute of Limitations on Debt

Oregon Eviction Laws - What They Say

CuraDebt Debt Settlement Review

How to Write a Re-Aging Debt Letter

How to Appear in Court by Phone

How to Use the Doctrine of Unclean Hands

Debt Consolidation in Eugene, Oregon

Summoned to Court for Medical Bills? What to Do Next

How to Make a Debt Settlement Agreement

Received a 3-Day Eviction Notice? Heres What to Do

How to Answer a Lawsuit for Debt Collection

Tips for Leaving the Country With Unpaid Credit Card Debt

Kansas Statute of Limitations on Debt Collection

How to File in Small Claims Court in Iowa

How to File a Civil Answer in Kings County Supreme Court

Roseland Associates Debt Consolidation Review

How to Stop a Garnishment

Debt Eraser Review

Do Debt Collectors Ever Give Up?

Can They Garnish Your Wages for Credit Card Debt?

How Often Do Credit Card Companies Sue for Non-Payment?

How Long Does a Judgement Last?

​​How Long Before a Creditor Can Garnish Wages?

How to Beat a Bill Collector in Court