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Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution  

By Colorado Juvenile Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – H. Michael Steinberg

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution Obligations may seem obvious applying a common sense approach  – but the law is – well “complicated.”  While it may seem natural to hold parents financially liable and otherwise responsible for restitution owed to victims as a result of the criminal acts of the children of these parents – it is not so..

The analysis of when a parent is legally liable for the criminal restitution of their child is explained below.

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution

 In a nutshell – here is the most relevant provision in the law:

If (after a restitution hearing) the court finds, after the hearing, that the juvenile’s parent has made diligent, good faith efforts to prevent or discourage the juvenile from engaging in delinquent activity, the court shall absolve the parent of liability for restitution under this paragraph (b).

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution – The Colorado Laws That Govern This Area – CRS § 19-2-919(2).

[HMS – My analysis of the law is in brackets….]

§ 19-2-919.   Sentencing – requirements imposed on parents 

(1) In addition to any of the provisions specified in sections  19-2-907 to 19-2-918, any sentence imposed pursuant to section 19-2-907 may require:

…..

(2) In addition to any sentence imposed pursuant to section 19-2-907 or subsection (1) of this section and regardless of whether the court orders the juvenile to pay restitution pursuant to section 19-2-918, the court may order:

(a) The guardian or legal custodian of the juvenile or the parent allocated parental responsibilities with respect to the juvenile to make restitution to one or more victims pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in this subsection (2);

[HMS – The following section sets the total CAP FOR ALL LIABILITIES FOR PARENTS at $25,000.00 for the guardian or legal custodian of the child – And see restitution cap below].

…except that the liability of the guardian or legal custodian of the juvenile or parent allocated parental responsibilities with respect to the juvenile under this subsection (2) shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars for any one delinquent act.  

[HMS – Right To A Hearing – Proof Of Diligent Parenting – The following is the precise statute that specifically provides an “escape hatch” for holding parents financially responsible for the criminal acts and resulting restitution of their child or children]

If the court finds, after a hearing, that the guardian or legal custodian of the juvenile or the parent allocated parental responsibilities with respect to the juvenile.has made diligent, good faith efforts to prevent or discourage the juvenile from engaging in delinquent activity, the court shall absolve the guardian or legal custodian or parent allocated parental responsibilities with respect to the juvenile of liability for restitution under this subsection (2).

[HMS – The following law sets the MAXIMUM of $25,000.00 RESTITUTION for EACH delinquent act of the subject child}

(b) The juvenile’s parent, so long as the parent is a party to the delinquency proceedings, to make restitution to one or more victims pursuant to the terms and conditions set forth in this paragraph (b); except that the liability of the juvenile’s parent under this paragraph (b) shall not exceed the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars for any one delinquent act.

[HMS – The following provision mandates that the parent has a right to a restitution hearing and repeats the test for parental liability “escape hatch language as to “the juvenile’s parent.”

Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection (2), the court may not enter an order of restitution against a juvenile’s parent unless the court, prior to entering the order of restitution, holds a restitution hearing at which the juvenile’s parent is present. If the court finds, after the hearing, that the juvenile’s parent has made diligent, good faith efforts to prevent or discourage the juvenile from engaging in delinquent activity, the court shall absolve the parent of liability for restitution under this paragraph (b). For purposes of this paragraph (b), “parent” is defined in section  19-1-103(82) (a).

[HMS – This final law allows for the collection of the restitution using the same collection tools available to collect a civil judgment]

(3) Any order of restitution entered pursuant to this section may be collected pursuant to the provisions of article  18.5 of title 16, C.R.S. 

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution – The Right To A Meaningful Hearing For The Parent Or Legal Guardian

A Colorado case that discusses the parental restitution hearing rights is In re J.L.R.,

In Re: JLR states that the following three requirements must be met to make a restitution order valid:

1) the person required to pay restitution must be given notice that the victim or the victim’s family are claiming damages;

2) there must be notice of the amount of restitution requested; and

3) the person obligated to pay the restitution must be given the opportunity to challenge (controvert) the victim’s claimed damages…

If the parent can show – at the RESTITUITON HEARING – that they “made diligent, good-faith efforts to prevent Elijah from committing the delinquent acts, the court may decide to absolve them of liability for restitution.”

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution – The Right To Present Evidence

§ 19-2-703(4) specifically allows a parent of a juvenile delinquent to present evidence concerning efforts made to prevent or minimize the child’s delinquency as a means of avoiding payment of restitution either in part or in whole, the concept of notice becomes even more compelling.

Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution by Denver Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer H. Michael Steinberg.

The Law Offices of H. Michael Steinberg, in Denver, Colorado, provides criminal defense clients with effective, efficient, intelligent and strong legal advocacy. We can educate you and help you navigate the stressful and complex legal process related to your criminal defense issue.

H. Michael Steinberg, is a Denver, Colorado criminal defense lawyer who will provide you with a free initial case consultation to evaluate your legal issues and answer your questions with an honest assessment of your options.

Helping Clients To Make Informed Decisions On Colorado Criminal Defense Legal Issues..H Michael Steinberg  provides solid criminal defenses for clients throughout the Front Range of Colorado and will explain to you the law on Colorado Parental Responsibility For Juvenile Restitution.


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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