Parents Paying The Price: 3 Ways You Might Be On The Hook Financially For Your Child’s Crime

If your child is charged with a crime, they will have to navigate the juvenile justice system and pay for their crime if they are found guilty. While being charged with a crime will be very stressful for your child, it will be equally stressful for you, if not more so. In addition to carving out times for meetings with your lawyer and court dates, your child's crime might also hurt you financially. Following are three ways you might be on the hook financially for your child's crime. 

City Ordinances and Fines

Some municipalities have ordinances that allow cities to punish parents if their children are caught doing something illegal, such as violating curfew. If you live in a city with a similar ordinance, you may receive a warning letter on the first offense and be required to pay fines and/or attend parenting classes on subsequent offenses. These fines and penalties are in addition to those that may be levied against your child. 

Civil Lawsuits and Financial Liability

In most states, parents are held liable for damages caused by their child and can be sued by the victim in what's called a civil lawsuit. Examples of successful civil suits include cases where a minor takes the family car and causes property damage. Vandalism is also a common crime that parents have to pay for. In today's world of technology, parents may also be held financially responsible for cyber crimes that are committed on the household computer. 

Restitution and Housing Costs

Parents may also be on the hook for housing costs in some states. In such states, parents have to reimburse the state for taking care of and providing for their child while they're in juvenile detention. Additionally, some states require parents to pay the state restitution if their child commits a crime. Parents may have to pay up to $10,000 under some restitution laws. 

What's more, you may even be charged criminally for your child's actions if you are found negligent. If evidence proves that you contributed to the delinquency of a minor by supplying alcohol or encouraging the crime, you might be charged. 

There are several ways your child's crime can affect you both financially and criminally. Since laws vary from state to state, the actions taken against you will depend on the statutes in your state. To learn about your responsibilities as a parent under juvenile law, talk to an experienced lawyer from a firm like Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices