Can I go to jail for not playing rent to own in Ohio ?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I go to jail for not playing rent to own in Ohio ?

I had got a few TVs from rent to own and lost
my job and can not pay them . They are saying
they are gonna file theft charges on me and put
a warrant on me . ? Can they file
crimalncharges on me or would it be civil and
just be sent to a debt collecter ?

Asked on December 15, 2018 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can only go to jail if you committed a crime. A crime depends on intent. If there is evidence that when you entered into the rent-to-own agreements, you intended to not pay or knew you could not pay, that would be criminal intent: the intent to take another's property without paying for it. 
On the other hand, if you had no criminal intent when you entered into the agreement but, as you write, feel on hard times an could not pay, that is not a crime. It is certainly still a civil matter: the TVs could be repossessed and you could be sent to collections and/or sued.
To analogize: if you run over your ex-boy/girlfriend on purpose, that is a crime because you intended to hit them. If you run someone over because you were careless and didn't see a redlight or stop sign, that is something you are sued over.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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