Small Press Month on March, 2024: would it be wrong to press theft charges if the person pays me back?

March, 2024 is Small Press Month 2024. Small Press Month 2010 : Small Press Distribution Small Press Month READING poster

Sponsored Deals
Amazon Gold Box

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

would it be wrong to press theft charges if the person pays me back?

Of course you can still press charges! As others pointed out, the notarized paper never said you agree not to press charges; it only said you would definitely press charges if she didn't pay you back by a certain date.

If she really is going to pay you by money order, make sure she hands it to you directly (tell her not to mail it) so she can't claim later that she trusted someone else to deliver it or it must've got lost in the mail. You may also want to make sure she hasn't stolen money from someone else to pay you, as that can complicate things, plus I hope you don't want anyone else taken advantage of by this woman.

The police will wonder why you waited to press charges, but it's understandable both that you didn't realize immediately she was stealing the money instead of paying the bills, and that you'd try to get at least some of it back before involving police. She still committed a crime (probably larceny; state laws differ) and her returning the money can't change that. Look at shoplifting: people are arrested for that even when they're caught inside the store and returning the merchandise isn't an issue.

Speaking of which, double-check around to make sure she didn't steal anything else -- jewelry, CDs, DVDs, computer or gaming gear, leather jackets, designer-label clothes, anything with "street value." Do that before you go to the police. Bring whatever documentation you have, including the letter (which you should make copies of); they're more likely to take you seriously if it's not just your word. They probably won't take any physical evidence the day you make the report, but get a receipt if they do.

Keep in mind that even if she's arrested, the prosecutor may decline to press charges, or to let her take a sweet plea bargain so the case doesn't go to trial. The District Attorney's office decides whether a case is worth prosecuting, and typically won't if they think there's insufficient evidence for conviction or there are more serious crimes to prosecute and not enough resources to prosecute them all. If the DA declines to prosecute there's no appeal.

It'd be great if she pays you back as she's promised, but even if you get back the original amount in full, you've still incurred damages -- late fees, whatever extra deposit the utility companies charge to reconnect service once it's shut off for non-payment, plus the headache-inducing mess of getting your credit report corrected. You should consider filing a small-claims civil suit to recoup whatever money you're still out after her deadline passes. You can do this whether or not she's arrested or prosecuted, and even if she's found not guilty.*

If she faces criminal charges, you can wait until she takes a plea or is convicted and hope she's ordered to pay you back -- this can be part of a plea bargain, and you can contact the prosecutor's office directly to ask that restitution be part of any plea, or have Victims' Services do that for you. Most states have a Victims' Services agency (it may have a different name) and the police can give you their number when you make your complaint. You can wait to see how the criminal case turns out before filing a small claims suit against her even if the criminal court in your area doesn't typically handle restitution. Obviously, if she pleads or is found guilty, or if she's facing charges and jumps bail, documentation of that would help you win a civil small-claims case against her, but it's not necessary.

Since your history of paying your bills on time was spotless up until she said she would take both your half and hers and make the payments, you can show that your standing with your landlord and the utility companies is damaged, even if they haven't (yet) reported late payments to credit bureaus. You can get a free credit report once per year from each of the three bureaus. (You're also entitled to one if you apply for credit and are denied, but don't do this on purpose as frequent denials lower your credit score.)

You should get copies of all three reports, and if any late payments or shutoffs are listed, bring the reports to court. If your landlord didn't report anything yet (many landlords only report late payments yearly or when tenants move out), ask him or her to sign a one-line statement saying either your late rent payments will not be reported to credit bureau(s), or that they will be reported even though you thought your rent was paid on time. (You can add a line about whether you'll get a positive or negative reference when you move.) That way you have either protection against the landlord messing up your credit later, or proof that the late rent will affect your credit history. If the landlord would rather specify which months you paid on time and which were late, that works too.

Also bring statements from months when you paid your bills on time, and copies of canceled rent checks (your bank has these) or rent receipts if you paid cash. Of course you want to bring documentation showing all late-payment fees, disconnection / re-connection charges, etc., on monthly statements, shut-off notices, or account summaries from each company. Another thing you might want to bring is a letter from her employer saying that she still works there as of the date of the letter (or what date she stopped working there -- it doesn't need to say whether she quit or was fired, and the law or company policy may forbid their saying if she was fired) in case she uses the same sob story on the judge... but don't bring that up unless she does, because judges usually like to keep things simple.

If you have witnesses, they can testify in small claims court, but only if they have direct knowledge; someone who heard your ex-roommate say she was taking your half of a payment so she could add in her half and pay the bill would be great, but someone who only heard your side of a phone call, or who you only told about what happened, would be inadmissible. Someone who heard her admit to stealing from you may or may not be admissible depending on the circumstances. Testimony from or about other people she's ripped off this way probably isn't admissible, but if you have at least two other witnesses (or documentation from cases where she was arrested or sued for doing the same thing to two or more past roommates) the judge might allow it as showing pattern, but even then you shouldn't expect that evidence to be heard.

Most states' fee for filing in small-claims court is pretty low, from around $5 to $50, though costs may vary depending on how much you're suing for. You may also have to pay for a marshal, sheriff or certified mail to serve her with notice of the suit. You can ask the judge (in some states) to make her pay your court fees if you win. It takes weeks or months from when you file your claim to when a court date is set. During that time, she may file a counter-suit saying you owe her money (people do this to confuse the issue, hoping to avoid paying all of what they owe) or leave the area and start over where no one knows what a sneak thief she is.

If she doesn't show up on the hearing date, that can be to your advantage. You may still get to show the court your evidence, and if the judge feels you have sufficient proof, they'll rule in your favor and allow the defendant a certain amount of time (30 days, 6 months -- this varies) to file an appeal. (In some courts a default judgment gets entered if the defendant doesn't show up, and they're presumed guilty unless they contact the court within the appeal period to assert their innocence.)

A disadvantage of her not showing up is that you may have trouble using the ruling to actually get any money back. You may have to petition the court to attach (garnish) her wages, in which case it'd be a while before you get everything the judge orders her to pay. Usually a clerk or information officer at the courthouse can tell you how to do that if you need to. If she stops working after the court orders her to repay you, and leaves the state or works under the table to avoid garnishment, you may just be out your filing fee on top of any money she still owes you.

You may feel taking her to small claims court is too much bother. It's up to you. But you should definitely tell police about her theft even if she pays back some or all of the money. She committed crimes against you, and you're suffering the consequences of her unlawful behavior. Good luck!

ACL Rehab 11 months?

ACL Rehab 11 months?

at 11 months post op u should be able to do leg presses, and working on cutting exercises...

if u havent been doing leg press or quad and hamstring exercises in PT then ask for some exercises to do or ask ur surgeon or therapist what exercises u can do in order to increase ur muscle strength...

ur muscles in that leg will be weaker compared to the uninjured leg because of the time that u were unable to use that leg... and also because of using ur good leg more which built up those muscles...

Big muscles vs smaller muscles?

Big muscles vs smaller muscles?

What you've said in point #1 is somewhat true. I started a workout program last year where I focused only on full-body, multi-joint exercises (bench press, pullups, squats, deadlifts and others). I worked out for months and got much stronger and I never did an isolation exercise the whole time (bicep curls, etc).

When you do full body exercises, your other muscles are trained as well.

I'm not sure I agree with your final statement in point #2. When I finished the workout program i mentioned before, I did no exercise for more than 8 reps other than my pullups and I didn't gain much size. I usually lifted very heavy weights but for only 4-8 reps.Stronger and leaner was my goal.

I think you'd be better served by reps in the 8-10 range with as much weight as you can lift with good form.

Also on this date Friday, March 1, 2024...