Restitution for Minors Convicted of Crimes

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What is Restitution?

When a minor (someone under 18) is convicted of a crime, the court may order the child to pay restitution to the victim as part of the judgment.  Restitution is payment for destroyed property, stolen items and other damages that result from the crime.

Is Money the Only Way to Fulfill the amount Owed in Restitution?

Because children often do not have significant incomes, the court may require the delinquent child to perform community service in the place of monetary payment.

Do Parents Have to Pay Restitution for their Delinquent Child if the Child Has Little or No Income?

Parents or legal guardians may be required to pay for restitution damages if their child cannot pay.  This varies from state to state, and may depend on the severity of the crime committed by the child and the ability of the parents to pay.  If the court orders the parents to pay or contribute, they must do so or face being found in contempt of court.

How Long is the Child Responsible for the Judgment against Her?

When a monetary judgment is given against a child, the child is held responsible until the whole amount is paid. Juvenile courts have the power to collect money from the child until they reach the age of 21, at which time such power is transferred to another court. But turning 21 without paying the judgment does not mean that the minor can get away scot-free.  If the judgment is unpaid at 21, the debt will be transferred to another court to enforce collection.

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Last Modified: 05-30-2012 03:54 PM PDT

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