This is one of those question that I get asked at times and I feel really conflicted about, but not because of the reasons that you might expect.
What people want to know is if someone can pawn something while on probation. The answer is yes.
Here’s why this question bothers me.
People are under the impression that pawn shops are somehow automatically bad or that doing business with a pawn shop says something about them or their intentions.
A lot of this comes from pawn shops somewhat questionable reputation at times for being the place where bad guys go to sell their stolen or ill-gotten goods.
I understand why people think that this is the case, and in fact, have devoted well over a dozen articles on this site to talking about the reality of the situation when it comes to stolen goods and pawn shops.
That having been said, I suppose that this question offers me a chance to reiterate some of what has been said previously and put it in the context of why it’s not a problem for people on probation to pawn things at pawn shops, or do any other kind of business with pawn shops for that matter.
Why It’s Okay To Pawn Something While On Probation
Okay, for a moment, let’s discuss what a pawn shop does.
They take things in from the public and make those people loans on them.
When the person who made the loan is in a better financial position, they can come back into the pawn shop, repay the loan plus any interest associated with it, and get their items back.
Additionally, they can decide to just sell the items outright should they need a little more money than the pawn shop is willing to give them on a loan for their items and they don’t really need whatever it is that they brought in.
There’s nothing illegal about that.
There’s no law being broken, there’s no crime being committed.
Making a loan on something at a pawn shop is a perfectly legal thing to do and anyone that has a problem with it should really consider what they are saying about their own assumptions regarding the pawn industry.
Pawn Shops Aren’t Warehouses For Illegal Activities
Pawnbrokers are very aware of how some people view their industry.
Additionally, pawnbrokers are typically very good, moral people looking to do the right thing and help people where they can.
Pawn shops act as a utility to the communities that they serve.
You have to appreciate that in many areas, not everyone has checking and savings accounts at banks.
Furthermore, even if they did, a bank won’t make someone a $100-$200 short term cash loan. That’s just not the business that they are in.
However, sometimes that’s all that people need to help them get through a particularly hard month, like January when the weather gets cold and the gas bill is particularly high.
So people turn to pawn shops for these emergency situations that basically nobody else can help them with.
The Amount Of Stolen Goods In Pawn Shops Is Shockingly Low
If you talk to the average person, you would be left thinking that pawn shops are just full of stolen goods that criminals stuff into the stores on a regular basis.
That couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Pawn shops work very hard to keep stolen goods out of their stores and they do so very many mechanisms.
Additionally, there is often very good communication between pawn shops and the police departments in their areas.
In the event that something stolen does sneak through, the police department and the pawn shop normally quickly identify it and work together to make sure that it gets back to the rightful owner.
Pawning Something Doesn’t Break A Law
Pawn shops are run by pawnbrokers who are licensed by the state’s that they operate in to do business in an ethical and lawful manner.
To suggest that pawning something would somehow break the law and create a problem for a person on probation isn’t at all fair to that person.
What you are really suggesting by thinking that is that it is now illegal to be in need of a short term loan to make it through a rough period and that’s not fair.
It’s not a crime to not have enough money to pay your bills.
Don’t Do This At A Pawn Shop If You Are On Probation
That having been said, while it is not illegal to do business at a pawn shop – don’t do it if you know that what you are bringing in is in fact stolen or ill-gotten in some way.
That could only create issues for you because pawn shops and police departments are very good about reviewing their reports and determining when something is stolen.
If you are on probation and take something that’s not rightfully yours into a pawn shop – that will get you in trouble, no question about it.