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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 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.


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