If my friend reported their car stolen after I crashed it, what legal actions can they take against me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my friend reported their car stolen after I crashed it, what legal actions can they take against me?

This summer I had a car accident in my friend’s car that I only use to do him

favors; the car was totaled. After that I paid the deductible and whatever payments where left on the car. He’s now contacting me saying that if I don’t give him $1,300, then he will report the car as stolen and I could face legal problems. I asked him to send me all the information regarding the car payments and the debt but he refuses to send me all the information. And he’s been constantly threatening me the past 3 months

even after sending him over 1k.

Asked on October 26, 2018 under Accident Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you have in writing (including by text message) his threat to report the car as stolen if you don't pay  him money? If you do, explain to him that if he does try to report you, you will both press charges against him for filing a false police report and extortion, and sue him for malicious (or wrongful) use of process (the legal process). Something is stolen or it is not; someone may NOT threaten to report something as a crime if it is not, in order to blackmail you into paying money. Without anything in writing showing his threats, it would be very easy to prove that he is breaking the law.
Without something in writing, if you believe you can still show that he gave you permission to use that car that time (e.g. an email or text from him about running an errand for him; any witnesses who can corroborate that you had his permission; etc.) you can still do the above. The key is evidence that this was not theft.

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