Equipment rental

Rented some equipment from a local rental
place. I returned the equipment but got laid
off so didnt have enough money to full cover it
for the remaining 200. Theyre saying that they
are going to have me arrested for theft, can
they do that?

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Criminal Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, that is not theft if you are willing to pay but cannot pay due to some change in your circumstances. Theft requires a criminal "mens rea," or state of mind: that is, an intention to steal. You can certainly be sued for this money, since you agreed to pay it but did not--lack of intent is no defense to a civil lawsuit for nonpayment--such as in small claims court, but based on what you write, this is not a criminal act.

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