Can I Be Held Financially Responsible for My Child’s Crime in Arizona?

by on November 19, 2013

In the state of Arizona, parents can be held financially responsible for a child’s negligent acts, such as a teenager stealing their parent’s car keys and driving through a neighbor’s yard.  Or a teen involved in a burglary who steals property or breaks a window. However, Arizona does limit the amount at $10,000.  This cap is set for “malicious or wilful misconduct” by a child.

What if I’m a single parent?

If you are a single parent, your child’s other parent is also responsible for helping pay the damages.  Oftentimes, a parent’s insurance policy will not pay claims arising from the intentional act of a person insured by the policy.

Liabilities of Parents or Legal Guardians for Malicious or Wilful Misconduct of Minors in AZ

Arizona law, A.R.S. 12-661 states:

A. Any act of malicious or wilful misconduct of a minor which results in any injury to the person or property of another, to include theft or shoplifting, shall be imputed to the parents or legal guardian having custody or control of the minor, whether or not such parents or guardian could have anticipated the misconduct for all purposes of civil damages, and such parents or guardian having custody or control shall be jointly and separately liable with such minor for any actual damages resulting from such malicious or wilful misconduct.

B. The joint and separate liability of one or both parents or legal guardian having custody or control of a minor under this section shall not exceed $10,000 for each act of negligence by the minor. The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any liability otherwise imposed by law.

C. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, nothing in this section limits the right of an insurer to exclude coverage for the acts of a minor imputed to their parent or legal guardian pursuant to this section.

I didn’t know my child’s intentions, why am I to blame?

Arizona law does not judge based on if you knew what your child was doing or if you were completely oblivious to their behavior.  The main concern here is that you are financially responsible for up to $10,000 of the damages your juvenile caused.  Parents can also be held criminally responsible for their child’s crime if they help engage in the behavior that contributes to the delinquency of the minor.

If your child has been charged with a crime in Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, or another AZ city, the juvenile crimes lawyers from JacksonWhite can help reduce their charges and protect their future. Get the help your child needs today by dialing 480-818-9943 to schedule a FREE and private consultation with dedicated JacksonWhite juvenile defense attorney, Jeremy Geigle.

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