Jacksonville Juvenile Arrest, Probation, and Florida Restitution

Jacksonville Florida JuvenileHas your child been arrested in Jacksonville, Florida?  If your child has been arrested in Duval, Clay, Nassau, or St. Johns County, he or she will be facing criminal charges in Florida juvenile court.  In Jacksonville juvenile cases, there may be some type of property damage connected to the Jacksonville juvenile arrest.  As a Jacksonville juvenile defense lawyer, I have represented juveniles for Florida criminal charges in St. Johns, Clay, and Duval County.  The most popular Jacksonville juvenile cases that involve property are criminal mischief (vandalism), burglary, theft (including grand theft and petty theft), reckless driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.  For example, if your child is accused of Jacksonville theft, the juvenile will be responsible for paying for the value of the item that he or she has stolen.  If your child is accused of Jacksonville leaving the scene of an accident, he or she (through the car insurance company) will have to pay for the damage to the other vehicle as part of the Jacksonville juvenile case.

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, under Florida’s juvenile delinquent laws, the Jacksonville juvenile’s parents can be obligated to pay restitution in their child’s Florida criminal case.  Florida restitution is normally the amount of money or value of the property that the alleged victim has lost due to the Jacksonville juvenile’s action.  In a Jacksonville juvenile criminal case, the parent and child can be responsible for paying for this loss, because the Florida court has jurisdiction over the parent and the child.

Florida Statute 985.437(2) permits the Jacksonville juvenile 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.”

In a Jacksonville juvenile case, it is important that Jacksonville juveniles not be required to pay an excessive amount of restitution.  When a juvenile is ordered to pay restitution in a Florida juvenile criminal case, the child is normally placed on probation in Jacksonville to pay the restitution or money owed.  If he or she is required to pay too much every month, then this could result in a violation of probation in Jacksonville.  The Jacksonville juvenile should be able to concentrate on school instead of paying restitution and Jacksonville violation of probation problems.   It is unreasonable to think that a child arrested for a crime in Jacksonville has the money to pay thousands of dollars back in restitution. If the juvenile has pleaded guilty in Jacksonville and has been placed on probation, the parent would be required to pay the restitution for the Florida crime.

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.”  If your child has been arrested for a crime in Jacksonville, contact a Jacksonville Florida Attorney for help.  A Jacksonville juvenile lawyer at 20 Miles Law can help your child through these Florida criminal charges.  Call a Duval County Attorney at (904) 564-2525.

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