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My friend has not paid for his leased vehicle since October,

2012. He is homeless...
My friend has not paid for his leased vehicle since October, 2012. He is homeless and has a very low paying job that only affords him food and some bare essentials. He resides in Arizona. I know that the car company is looking for him and the repo tow person has showed up at my place looking for him as well. At what point would this become a criminal act? Is there a period where he is just delinquent on the payments vs committing a criminal act? Does it ever become a criminal act where he could go to jail or prision?

He has no assets and no home or family. He is a legal resident alien with a green card. Does that have any consequences in itself?

I have heard of other people who have held onto a unpaid leased car for a couple of years with no criminal consequence but that was in arizona.

So please share with me what he needs to know for Arizona.

Thank you so much.
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/19/2013
TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,829
Experience: Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
Verified

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Failing to pay a debt, no matter how long, is not a criminal act.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

He is under no obligation to "return" the vehicle even though he can't make the payments.

Customer:

Hi there thnk you for taking my question.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

That said, it may be criminal if he is taking steps to hide the collateral (the vehicle) from the people attempting to repo it.

Customer:

Are you sure because a police officer told me today that if the vehicle gets reported stolen then they will arrest him in the state of arizona.

Customer:

well he is not hiding because he lives in it and he has no where to hide.

Customer:

but he knows that they want the payments made but he cannot afford to pay it so he just keeps it to drive and sleep in.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It isn't stolen. It can only be considered stolen if he does not have rightful possession of it. In this case, failing to pay the note does not convert the vehicle to being "stolen."

Customer:

so is there no point where they say that is enough time of no payments now we will go for a stolen report?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

No.

Customer:

Your responses are for Arizona laws as well?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Yes. I just looked at the Arizona statute. It wasn't a leased vehicle, correct?

Customer:

No it is a leased vehicle in Arizona.

Customer:

What does the Arizona Statue say in regards XXXXX XXXXX

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

So, it IS leased

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

?

Customer:

Yes that is how I started my question with you.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

I'm sorry, I though you said it was sold to him, he was just making payments. In that case, it can be considered stolen if he exceeds the terms of the lease.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Here is the language from the statute:

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It's theft if a lessee: "Converts for an unauthorized term or use another person's means of transportation that is entrusted to or placed in the defendant's possession for a limited, authorized term or use."

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

The lease probably says something about the lease terminating when a certain number of payments are not made (most likely one or two).

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

I apologize for my mistake, but since it is leased, it could be considered stolen.

Customer:

So he is at risk for criminal arrest?

Customer:

At what point it has not been 5.5 months with no payment

Customer:

now been 5.5 month with no payment

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Yes. He needs to address this with the company that leased him his vehicle.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

They COULD report it now. Whether they have by now or not, I can't say.

Customer:

if he does a turn in does he still put himself at risk for criminal charges?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

He reduces the risk significantly. I doubt the DA would pursue charges (if they have been filed yet) if he returns it before charges are filed.

Customer:

So you have no idea at what point it could get reported as stolen. He does not necessary have one year before they report stolen?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It could be reported stolen now.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

I just can't say when they will actually report it.

Customer:

So he may have to do jail time at this point?

Customer:

if he turns it in?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It is conceivable, but like I said, if they haven't filed charges yet and he returns the vehicle, he should be OK.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It all depends on whether they have filed charges yet.

Customer:

Is there any way to find that out?

Customer:

How?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Call the DA's office.

Customer:

Could that put me as the caller in a dirty mess? should I stay out of it and have him call himself?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

He needs to call. They likely won't discuss it with someone else.

Customer:

How do I find the correct # XXXXX District Attorney? Is there only one for Arizona where I just google it?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

It will be the DA in the county where he leased the vehicle.

Customer:

So Maricopa County DA I should look up?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

If that is the county in which he leased the vehicle, yes.

Customer:

Does it matter if they see the number he is calling from? Could that make them go find him from that location that he calls from?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

I don't think he needs to worry about that. The DA's office doesn't track every call coming in.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

This is not a very serious case, so don't expect the DA or police to invest much in terms of resources or time investigating.

Customer:

Lastly, What does he say when he calls them since he has no idea how to handle this? Will this affect his legal residence green card status?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

He just needs to give his name, explain the situation, and ask if they have filed charges against him.

Customer:

Will this affect his legal residence green card status?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

If he is prosecuted, it could.

Customer:

If he turns the car in could he get prosecuted?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Again, it depends on whether charges have been filed. If charges were filed, it may not matter what he does.

Customer:

Thank you ever so much for your precious time tonight!!!!

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Glad to help.

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "Rate" my answer. Good luck.

Customer:

Good night ;-)

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Can I do anything else for you?

Customer:

One last question. Since it is night time I just called the police department and they gave me the website https://theftaz.azag.gov to plug in his vin and license plate to see if it shows the car as being reported as stolen at this time. The site said not reported at this time. Is that good enough to avoid criminal charges? He is going to turn in the vehicle tomorrow. Since it has not officially be reported as stolen can he avoid jail time and deportation if it gets turned in tomorrow?

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

Yes, that means nobody has reported it stolen yet, so there won't be any charges filed so long as he gets it returned before they report it stolen

TexCrimLawyer, J.D. :

He won't face any criminal or immigration penalties if he gets it returned before they report it stolen

TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,829
Experience: Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
Verified
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TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
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Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,829
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