Asked in Criminal Law, Collections, Domestic Violence and Small Claims for Texas

Q: I have some personal property voluntarily held at a friend's house whom is now suddenly claiming it as his own to sell

It's a very large slab of wood worth over 1000 in it's raw form. It is really heavy so I have to get help to move it (31, F) There have been several times when he could have stated his sudden belief of ownership, but even the day it came into question he tried to hide what he was doing with it. I found out that the had essentially destroyed the 13 ft slab cutting it in half and is working on one half to turn into a table. it's my slab! Now he says it's his because it's been at his house for a year and if I try to get it back he will shoot me.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Don't go trespassing, and especially not during the nighttime with the intent to recover property that he thinks belongs to him. If he has a decent attorney, he would probably get away with shooting you dead under those circumstances.

Frankly, this sounds like a matter for civil small claim court, not criminal law. If you voluntarily left the slab with him it is probably not a crime for him to keep it now. It may be wrong, but not a criminal offense. Perhaps it would be a crime if he had the intent to wrongfully keep it all along, that was his plan from the very beginning... and it can somehow be proved that he had that intent at the moment the property was transferred but he knowingly tricked you into leaving it will him... so that after he stored it for a year he would just keep it. Well, even if that is true, it is probably impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Chad Zubi agrees with this answer

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