Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Cases: Who Pays the Restitution

In a Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Case, the juvenile defendant is the party that is accused of committing a crime, not the juvenile’s parent. However, parents can be obligated to pay restitution in their child’s criminal case. Restitution is normally the amount of money or value of the property that the alleged victim has lost due to the defendant’s actions. In a Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Case, the parent and child can be responsible for paying for this loss, because the court has jurisdiction over the parent and the child.

Florida Statute Section 985.437(2) permits the court to order a juvenile to pay “restitution in money, through a promissory note cosigned by the child’s parent or guardian, or in kind for any damage or loss caused by the child’s offense in a reasonable amount or manner to be determined by the court.” If the court orders restitution, “the amount of restitution may not exceed an amount the child and the parent or guardian could reasonably be expected to pay or make.” It is important that Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Defendants not be required to pay an obscene amount of restitution for a couple reasons. First, when a defendant is ordered to pay restitution, he or she is normally placed on probation to pay the restitution. If he or she is required to pay too much every month, then this will certainly result in a violation of probation. Second, it is difficult for adults to find employment right now. It would be ridiculous to believe that a juvenile could find a job that would pay enough to cover tens of thousands of dollars in restitution. Thus, the parent would be required to pay the restitution.

Florida law does provide for an exception to the rule that a parent can be required to pay a Jacksonville Juvenile Criminal Defendant’s restitution.  Under Florida Statute Section 985.437(4), a parent may avoid such responsibility if the court finds “that the parent or guardian has made diligent and good faith efforts to prevent the child from engaging in delinquent acts.”

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