Restitution Orders for Minors – When, How, and What Amount Are Minors and Their Families Held Liable

One of the many serious consequences for a minor who commits a crime in California, whether a felony or a misdemeanor, is the potential to be found financially liable. If a minor is found to have committed a crime, he or she may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. For minors, restitution is governed by Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6. Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6, the Court must order the minor to pay restitution to a victim unless there are compelling and extraordinary reasons why restitution should not be ordered. The restitution ordered must be limited to losses that can rationally be attributed to the minor.

Welfare and Institutions Code Section 730.6

California Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6 states in pertinent part that: “(a)(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that a victim of conduct for which a minor is found to be a person described in Section 602 who incurs an economic loss as a result of the minor’s conduct shall receive restitution directly from that minor.”

California Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6(b) provides that the Court has the authority to levy a restitution fine and order restitution to the victim or victims. The fine and restitution amount levied is subject to the minor’s ability to pay.

How is the Restitution Amount Determined?

Any restitution ordered must be for loses that can be rationally attributed to the minor’s criminal conduct. The victim has the burden to adequately prove the amount being sought. If the amount is in dispute, the minor has the right to a restitution hearing, pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6(h)(2). The restitution amount is capped at an amount of $20,000 per tort, pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 742.16(n).

Will the Minor’s Parents Be Financially Liable?

Pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.7, the minor’s parents or guardians are presumed to be jointly and severally liable. Financial liability is subject to the parent’s or guardian’s ability to pay. There are limits to what a parent or guardian may be liable to pay. California Civil Code section 1714.1. In determining whether to hold the parent or guardian jointly or severally liable, the Court will consider the parent or guardian’s ability to pay. However, the parent or guardian has the burden of proving to the Court that they cannot pay. In making the determination, the Court may consider the parent or guardian’s present income and future earning potential. A parent or guardian may also appeal an adverse ruling regarding whether they are held liable for a minor’s restitution obligation.

How is the Restitution Order Enforceable?

A Court’s restitution order is enforceable in the same way that a civil judgment is enforceable. California Welfare and Institutions Code section 730.6(I). Furthermore, the restitution order is still enforceable after the minor is an adult and the termination of the court’s juvenile jurisdiction.

If you or a family member has a minor who has been charged with a crime and is facing felony or misdemeanor charges out of Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, or Ventura County, it is imperative that you hire the best attorney that you can to explore all options available. Attorney Michael Kraut has extensive experience defending clients in criminal cases and litigating contested restitution amounts to secure the absolute best result.

For more information about juvenile court and restitution, and to schedule your free consultation, contact attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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