What to do about a false allegation of car theft?

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What to do about a false allegation of car theft?

I bought a vehicle from a family friend about a month ago. I did not get anything in writing but was verbally told that she would mail me the title. I have been asking her for itand now all of a sudden she said that she is going to file charges for theft of the vehicle if I do not bring the it back. I paid her $2,300 for the vehicle. I have 6 witnesses that were there at the time of the transaction. Can she legally file after I already paid?

Asked on August 11, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) If there was an agreement to sell the car and you paid as per the agreement, then no, she cannot change her mind and no claim it was theft. Once the agreement is made, it binds both parties. So if you can prove the agreement (e.g. with your own testimony and witnesses) and that you paid her the money (testimony, witnesses, cancelled check, receipt, etc.), you should be fine.

2) Even if you she can somehow claim and show that there was no agreement--maybe only preliminary discussions and you jumped the gun by taking the car--if you can show that you paid her the money, it should be that you can't be convicted of theft, since the requisite criminal mind set or intention would not exist. The worst that should happen is that she might be able to  take civil (not criminal) action for the return of the car--and would have to return your money to get it.


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