Can a rent to own compny press criminal charges against me for theft?

I co-signed for my now ex-boyfriend on 2 rental items. He has stopped making the payments and has refused to return their them. They are now calling and harassing me saying they are going to the attorney generals office to press charges aganist me; I will have a warrent for my arrest for theft. I have told them that I do not have their stuff and I do not know were he is. I have also tired to setup a payment plan and btold them I can make a payment next week but they said no I need to make one now or im going to jail. Can they do that?

Asked on March 20, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

To face criminal liability, one must have--

1) Committed a criminal act, such as by taking or keeping goods to which he or she has no right; and

2) Have the requisite criminal intention or mindset.

If, at the time you co-signed for your ex-boyfriend, you did not know that he would stop paying, you would not have the necessary criminal intent; and if you do not have control over the property, you have not committed a criminal act. (Your ex-boyfriend, on the other hand, depending on the circumstances and his intention/mindset, may have committed a criminal act.)

It is possible that the rent to own company believes that you had more to do with this than you did; however, from what you write, you should have a good defense to any potential criminal liability.

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