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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 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.

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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