Q: if a contractor or company doesn't pay for services and rental of equipment can we file criminal case for theft of
services in Delaware, our home state.
A: Theft typically requires an intent to steal and not pay as of the time the property is taken, so if equipment was obtained under a rental agreement from its lawful owner, without force and voluntarily provided to the contractor by agreement, then the owner of the equipment would have to prove that the entire transaction was a fraud from the beginning. If all you have is a failure to return equipment on time, it may simply be a civil contract matter. However, a prolonged refusal to return the equipment at some point may become theft if the contractor continues to use or retain it without permission or payment. The equipment owner will need to go to the police in the jurisdiction where the rental agreement was entered into and/or where the equipment was delivered or received. If the police determine a theft has occurred, they can have a warrant issue, which can be transmitted to any state where the contractor can be found. Otherwise, the owner should file a civil action for replevin to recover possession of the equipment in the state/jurisdiction where the equipment or contractor is located. Damages for loss of use of the equipment may be requested as well.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.