Can rent a center press criminal charges if I fall behind on payments and haven’t been able to give the items back?

I know this differs from state to state and I haven’t been able to find any information on OH laws regarding whether rent a center can

press criminal charges or whether the Ohio laws says it’s a civil matter and has to go through a debt collector or court? I’m trying to help a

good friend that doesn’t know what to do so any advice is greatly appreciated.

Asked on January 4, 2018 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what the evidence of intent is: a criminal case requires both a potentially criminally act and a criminal state of mind or intention. That's why hitting someone because you carelessly failed to stop 100% for a stop sign or sign gets you sued, but intentionally running them over gets you jailed.
If there is evidence that your friend intended from the beginning to not pay, or falsified his income or other imporant information on the application or rental agreement, that could easily make this criminal. But without evidence of a criminal intent, if it appears that he simply fell on hard times and missed payments, he should not face criminal charges or liability--though he could certainly be sued for the money he owes.


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