Can I press charges for theft if my ex took my personal belongings without my knowledge or consent?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I press charges for theft if my ex took my personal belongings without my knowledge or consent?

He put them in the back of one of his trucks and took it somewhere else to go

through it he said he did my laundry for me I don’t want him to do my laundry for me. When he came back he was wearing one of my brand new camping jackets I did not give it to him. Also, he informed me that he threw away the junk close, etc. and washed everything else. It’s not his decision what to throw away of mine and what to keep I did not give him permission to go through my things this is not the first time he has robbed me he just keeps getting away with it because I haven’t

done anything about it.

Asked on October 14, 2018 under Criminal Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can press charges, but may be better off suing him for the value of what he took. The reason we say that is that charges are something you ask for, but don't control: the police investigate, the prosecutor's office decides whether to bring charges, and if so for what and how to resolve them (e.g. accept a plea), etc. In my experience, the authorities do not always treat crimes committed between romantic or former romantic partners as crimes, at least if they are only property crimes and do not involve assault or domestic violatence. Rather, they often treat them as "civil" disputes over the ownership of property--something you sue over, not bring charges for. While they are wrong to do this, it is very hard to force the authorities to take something seriously if they are disclined to do so.
But in a civil suit, *you* are the lawyer and in control: you can be as aggressive as you like in pursuing the case. So a civil lawsuit, preferrably in small claims (which is much easier for nonlawyers) if the value involved is less than or equal to the small claims limit is probably a better way to go.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption