What to do if I was wrongly arrested for Felony Fail To Return Leased/Hired Property Value Over $300?

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What to do if I was wrongly arrested for Felony Fail To Return Leased/Hired Property Value Over $300?

I am a CNA I cannot have a felony on my record; I would lose my license and my job. I had to go into my rent money to post bond ( am 36 weeks pregnant and didn’t want to go through the stress of staying in jail). I have proof – a receipt saying that I returned the laptop to RAC within the 90 day limit 2 months before the warrant was issued. I went to RAC to get a paper saying that I returned it and the district manager doesn’t understand why a warrant was issued. I don’t have the money to pay for any court fees or to even to get my record cleared. Can I just take the paper to the court house without having to go to court and can I sue RAC just for my court fees?

Asked on April 10, 2014 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, you can't just take the paper to court--there is a process which must be followed in all cases, criminal or civil. Ideally, you should retain an attorney to assist you. If you cannot afford one, try contacting either legal aid or your local bar association for a pro bono (free) referral. If you simply can't get an attorney, then contact the prosecutor's office, share with them a copy of the paper (ALWAYS keep a copy yourself) and see if the prosecutor will voluntarily dismiss the case. If the prosecutor will not, then you will have to appear in court and defend yourself; the paper showing proper and timely return of the laptop will be a key part of your defense.

You would only be able to recover fees or other compensation from the RAC if you can show that they were reckless (or worse)--that is, they contacted the authorities to prosecute you when the knew you were innocent, or were reckless about (didn't care about) the issue of guilt or innocent. If, however, they thought you had failed to return the laptop at the time they contacted the authorities, then they would most likely not be able to recover anything--they may have been wrong, but people and companies are not punished for contacting the authorities to report a suspected crime simply because it later turns out they were mistaken.


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