IS OWING A MOTEL OWNER $250.00 A FELONY?CAN HE HAVE ME ARRESTED EVEN THOUGH I LEFT THE PREMISES AND TOLD HIM I WILL PAY HIM WHEN I GET IT. IN LESS THA

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IS OWING A MOTEL OWNER $250.00 A FELONY?CAN HE HAVE ME ARRESTED EVEN THOUGH I LEFT THE PREMISES AND TOLD HIM I WILL PAY HIM WHEN I GET IT. IN LESS THA

I WAS PAYING $180.00 A WEEK FOR A ROOM. GOT BEHIND.TOLD ME TO LEAVE THAT DAY OR PAY HIM.I LEFT.HE’S THREATENING ME SAYING I CAN GOTO JAIL.I WILL PAY HIM IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS. HE KNOWS I’M IN A BIND.

Asked on May 15, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I cannot speak specifically to Florida law but I doubt 250.00 is considered a felony anywhere. You should probably consult with a criminal attorney, call for a free consultation. They can answer all your questions thoroughly. Basically although you may owe him money you did leave the premises when requested.

landlord/tenant laws tend to favor the tenant. Even if he chooses to pursue this matter it will take longer than 3 weeks to get on the calendar. At that point you will have paid him and he will have nothing left to pursue.

I do not however think you need to worry about jail, a Judge should not put you in jail over a landlord/tenant dispute of 250.00.

Try to speak with him and have him agree to a payment plan of a certain amount each week until you are paid off. If that won't work see if you can have an attorney make a phone call to try and settle things. If he takes it to court than you will want to hire an attorney and I assume the matter will be settled.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This really is a civil matter.  He could sue you.  Criminal charges, if any, would be a misdemeanor.  If you are being threatened with a felony it's just that a threat nothing more.

This all assumes that there is nothing more to your story.  But if the facts are as you say I don't think that you have much too worry about.  Note: This doesn't mean that you don't owe the money, you do and are legally responsible for repayment.

To be sure, since I'm not admitted to practice in Florida, you can call the public defender or legal aid office near you and see what they say.


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