• What if I damage someone else′s property?

    Date: 09.07.07 | by Judge Tom.

    If you damage property, it makes little difference whether it was a car, home, school, or business. And it doesn′t matter whether the act was intentional or not. The issue becomes one of accountability and restitution. If the act is intentional or malicious, it′s called vandalism, which is a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of damage. Otherwise, it′s called criminal damage.

    In 2003, 107,700 juveniles were arrested for vandalism. But most cases of property damage are accidental or careless. Some states set a limit on how much your parents have to pay for your acts of property damage, but it may be as high as $10,000. Other states have no limit, which means that you and your parents are responsible for paying for all damages.

    Photo by Chris Willis

    Defacing property means marking, scratching, or painting (tagging) property that doesn′t belong to you without the owner′s permission. For example, if you spray-paint graffiti on your neighbor′s car or fence, you′ve broken the law and are responsible for the repairs. Some cities are putting taggers to work removing or painting over graffiti.

    States with major graffiti problems have passed laws that have serious penalties. In California, a second offense carries a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. If the child is unable to pay the fine, his or her parents are responsible. Texas has a similar statute. Rhode Island limits the use and possession of spray paint to those over eighteen, unless approved by the parents. Graffiti artists in Florida may lose their driver′s license for up to one year.

    In January, 2011, police officer Cody Chapelle of Kentucky was suspended for 15 days for issuing a ticket to a 7-year-old boy. In October, 2009, the boy was playing in his front yard when his ball hit the officer’s personal vehicle. No damage was done but Chapelle yelled at the boy and accused his mother of being a bad parent. Then he gave the boy a citation for criminal mischief in the third degree. He stated his intent was to get the mother to discipline her son. After a lengthy investigation the charge was dropped and Chapelle was disciplined. “One of our greatest attributes we have as police officers is common sense. [He] showed absolutely no common sense,” commented Chapelle’s superior.

    On the lighter side, not all graffiti is bad. In February, 2008 the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. put on display four 20-foot-long graffiti murals as part of the Smithsonian’s “Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture” show. The underground street art of well-known taggers, Tim “Con” Conlon and Dave “Arek” Hupp exemplifies graffiti’s influence on modern art and that cultural expression doesn’t always have to conform to conventional norms. 

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    233 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • ernesto
      Fri, 18 Jan 2008 at 04:45

      Someone purposedly damaged my property(motorcycle) (no other vehicle was involved). The motorcycle was deemed a total loss because the repairs were more than the bike. If the insurance pays for the motorcycle (minus my deductible), can I still sue the person for all the damages, or can I only sue the person for my deductible. If the insurance does not pay the KBB [Kelly Blue Book] value of the motorcycle, can I also sue the person for the difference.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Hello, Ernesto. Under the laws of most states, as a victim of a property crime, which this is, you have a right to be made whole — that means to be put back into the position you were in before your motorcycle was damaged. You may seek recovery of all out-of-pocket exoenses, including the deductible, that’s needed to either fix the bike or replace it with a similar model. Check the laws of your state to see what court you file the lawsuit if necessary. Try reaching an agreement first, though, before going to court. Maybe you can negotiate a figure that satisfies both of you. Good luck.

    • Dianne
      Mon, 16 Jun 2008 at 08:45

      I let a friend put his furniture in my home while I was fixing it up to live in, He now is suing me because he says I got paint overspray on his antique dresser. The dresser has a smashed mirror and is hardley worth $1800.00 that he is asking for , Can he do this when there was no agreement just my kindness letting him have a place to store his stuff. He knew we would be painting in there.

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Since he has filed a lawsuit against you, it will be up to the court to decide the merits of the case. Be prepared to present your side of the story in a clear, calm manner. You asked “Can he do this . . .? and the answer is yes, anyone may file a lawsuit and the court decides whether it’s frivolous or not. Good luck.

    • Lee Ann
      Sat, 06 Dec 2008 at 12:50

      If you are divorced and your ex has the primary custody of the child but you both have legal custody, who is responsible if the child damages someone elses property or hurts someone? Can the non-custodial parent be held financially responsible for it or is the custodial parent the one that is financially responsible. This would be for the state of Arizona

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Under Arizona law, the legal parents may be held responsible for the acts of their child up to $10,000.00. It doesn’t make any difference which parent the child lives with if both share legal custody. Each state differs in the limits for parental liability and custody, making it necessary to check the laws where you live. Thanks for asking.

    • Peter Limswood
      Sat, 03 Oct 2009 at 10:07

      Me my friends were playing in a Harris Teeters and got in a shopping cart. My friend accidentally pushed me into the electric door and threw it off track and cracked the glass. Im asking a, and I responsible seeing that my friend was pushing the cart and b, what would the penalty be. Im a minor and have no previous record and the crime was a more a lasp of judgement rather than a malicious act.
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Even though it may have been an accident, you are responsible for the damage. You could reach an agreement with the store and pay for the broken glass, or the local authorities may choose to charge you with a crime. If that happens, the likely penalty may include probation, restitution to the victim, and/or community service hours. Good luck.

    • K Buzzell
      Wed, 04 Nov 2009 at 12:42

      My 15 year old while waiting to get a coke at a coke machine in his High School while at a volley ball game was standing infront of a cork board with masks made by other students. He hit at one of the face masks and put a dent in it and it fell of the cork board. The school saw in on a video the next day and now has given him a NO Trespass Notice for the entire year except to be at school from 8am to 3:30pm. No after school activities – he is a good student and plays sports. I want him to want to go to school. The principal said she could charge him with vadalism of school property. What is the criminal aspect? And how can they give a no tresspass for this?
      Judge Tom’s response:
      Since the school has him on video damaging the mask, they could refer this to the police who may seek vandalism charges. Under the trespass laws of your state, telling him to stay off school property unless he’s there for classes only, may be a lawful order. It’s not unusual to trespass someone if caught damaging property or causing a disturbance [at the mall, for example]. You may ask for a hearing before the school board to challenge the discipline. Check the school district’s rules and policy regarding student discipline. Good luck.

    • Christine
      Thu, 19 Nov 2009 at 02:06

      Hello I live in Florida and my neighbor has a sprinkler system that uses well water the water is hitting my house and making rust marks that I have to clean the neighbor says they lowered the pressure of water but it still isn’t good enough to stop the water from hitting my house. He is so rude I asked that he shoot the sprayers towards his house instead of mine and he laughed said it would cost to much money well it cost me time and money to clean I need your help
      Dear Christine: Your question is beyond the scope of this web site which deals with general information and the law as it relates to teenagers. You might check with Legal Aid or your local court – they may have self-help services or a pro bono attorney available for consultation. Good luck.

    • Jamichael
      Mon, 04 Jan 2010 at 04:10

      Is it even possible for a person to sue you, for one thing an assumption that u did it and for another person’s property damage?
      Dear Jamichael: It’s always possible for a person to file a civil claim or suit in court, but whether that claim will actually get very far in court is another matter. First, every court has a filing fee to file such claims, so for small claims or where the value of the item damaged is minimal, a person may choose not to file the claim to avoid having to pay the fee. The person filing the lawsuit (the “plaintiff”) will have the “burden of proof” requiring they prove their case to an established level of certainty, which is done through the presentation of evidence.

    • Maddie Tyson
      Tue, 19 Jan 2010 at 11:23

      Hello,My Name Is Maddie Tyson I Go To A School In Ohio.Well This Morning Our School Was Closed Because Some Idiot Slashed Two Tires On Every Bus In The Schools Parking Lot,They Have Yet Been Caught But There Are Police Cars Everywhere And They Have A Video Of The Crime.Each Tire Is 200 To 300 Dollars And The School Has 33 Bus’s That Would Be About 20,000 Dollars Worth Of Damage…Would That Mean Would The Parents Of That Student Who Vandalized The Schools Bus’s Would Have To Pay For Repair?Would The School Have Too Pay For New Tires Or Would The Insurance Cover It? Also,Would The Child That Is Responsible For This Crime Be Sent To Juvie Or Jail Or Would They Just Pay For The Damage??
      Dear Maddie: You have described what may be charged as property damage. Depending on the laws in Ohio, because of the amount involved, it is likely a felony crime. Some states set limits on parental liability for the acts of their children – $10,000 or $20,000 for example. You’ll have to Google this for Ohio for the specifics. What happens to the responsible person depends on his or her age, criminal history, and a number of other factors. The court will decide the penalty based on community interest and protection and what’s best for the defendant.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • theresa
      Fri, 12 Feb 2010 at 04:50

      hello.. my daughter and me live alone. the house is on a end block. although its council property i was allowed to put a fence up.we have had loads of trouble with kids from other estates.. coming into out estate causing trouble. numerous times ive had no choice but to call the police. but they never do anything . its a no win situation. febuary 9th 2010 my daughter and me were watching tv. blinds were closed. 4 girls were shining a lamping tourch through our window continuosly. the one girl in question is forever causing trouble in the neighbourhood.police dont do anything though. my dog was going mental. barking ,i went to the door to ask them to stop. only to get blinded by the lamp they shone in my eyes. then the abuse started. it was awful.my daughter went over to them but didnt no this one girl who is really bad news and enjoys fighting. the 2 girls jumped on my daughter. kicking and punching.. as a mother i could not stand by and watch this, i parted them. then as i walked away.. called her a low life. she is 18years old i am 42years old. i have never got in trouble ever. the boy who was watching and apparantly related to this girl.came and kicked my fence in.what a mess. i rang police and they came out..coutioned they.lol wow. council say there,s not enough funds to put me a fence back up.im a single parent and carnt afford it either, this boy is getting away with it. helpppppp seriously what can or should i do now?
      Dear Theresa: Thank you for writing us. However, Askthejudge is an educational web site for teenagers about the laws that affect them. Consequently, we are unable to provide any adult or teen with specific legal advice. We suggest you contact a local lawyer or legal services organization that may be in your area. You may be able to obtain a free consultation for the first half-hour or so. You could also ask your local public library about legal services in your area. Good luck.

    • Jolene
      Sat, 20 Feb 2010 at 09:06

      My son was with 2 other teens, caught doing donuts in high school parking lot.The constalbles let them go to their parents with a warning. Later they were turned in by another teen for damaging the baseball field and the football field with a truck. The police were at the school and questioned the 3 teens, and it is now turned over to the DA…what kind of charges is my son facing? He was not driving, only a passenger. My son is 16,and we live in Houston, Texas.
      Dear Jolene: Even though he wasn’t driving, he could be charged with criminal property damage, trespassing, or as an accomplice to the incident. It depends on your state laws and the exact facts of the situation. It will be up to the police and prosecutor to file specific charges against those responsible for the damage at the school. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Marvetta
      Wed, 21 Apr 2010 at 10:03

      My daughter’s hair was pulled out by another student
      this left a bald spot the size of a half-dollar on the
      side of her hair by her ear very noticeable. It took
      almost 10 years of her hair to grow to past her chin on
      that side. We are wanting to go to small claims court
      and sue for either 300 dollars for special hair products to help her hair grow back faster or receive
      $45 every week for the next 6 months to take it to get
      professionally conditioned. The school does not give
      out addresses. We are wanting to press charges. The reason why our daughter didn’t defend herself is because she said if she would have hit her she would have put her in major pain so she just cried and told the teacher. She is in the 4th grade what are our rights here in Oklahoma and who should we talk to about this.
      Dear Marvetta: If you are interested in pressing charges or filing a claim in small claims court, perhaps you could speak to a local attorney who handles civil matters and similar cases involving small claims. Keep in mind that every jurisdiction has a “statute of limitations” which are the time requirements for filing charges or civil claims. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • John
      Thu, 17 Jun 2010 at 04:20

      A lady’s daughter crashed into my parking gate. I own a condo in California. After three months, my HOA finally repaired it and isn’t going to pursue the lady or her daughter in small claims because she says it isn’t worth the effort. The lady claims that she will only pay damages within reason, but after three months has gotten no estimates on her own.
      1) Do I or the Association need to wait for her to give us estimates before we get work done? Or don’t we have the choice on estimates?
      2) Can I take the person to small claims court if my HOA already pays for the damages? Or would my HOA have to do it? Or could I go representing my HOA?
      Thanks.
      Dear John: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for teenagers about the law. Consequently we’re unable to assist you. We suggest you check with your local small claims court to see what their jurisdiction covers. Most courts have a brochure or handout explaining to the public their function and monetary limits for filing claims. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Monica
      Wed, 07 Jul 2010 at 06:36

      a couple months ago, my aunt was visiting and im not sure what happned but she ran upstairs to my room pulled me off my bed and just started trying to grab my phone and break it. i had to stand up for myself so i faught back because she wouldnt let go of me so i pulled her hair until she did. in the midst of this she grabbed my 500 dollar hp laptop and broke the screen which would cost more than its worth to fix. how can i get her to pay it back?
      Dear Monica: We’re sorry to hear about this incident. Since a few months have passed and everyone has had a chance to cool down, maybe you and your parents can speak with her about what happened. She may understand your need for the lap top and her possible responsibility in damaging it. We say “possible” because there’s always two sides to every story. Otherwise, your parents might want to consult a lawyer about taking legal action. It’s usually best to avoid a lawsuit because of the time involved, expense and aggravation, but the courts are there to settle disputes. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • demitry
      Mon, 19 Jul 2010 at 12:53

      what if some old teen i know did small damage how do i sue them if the person doesnt wanna give me their info ..will police make him give me their info if i call
      Dear Demitry: Yes, by calling the police and reporting the incident, you may obtain a copy of their report with identifying information included. You can check with your local small claims court about filing a lawsuit and how to go about it. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • niki
      Sun, 15 Aug 2010 at 01:32

      My 11-year old son had his friend over at my house for the afternoon, and the friend ran into my sister’s parked car in my driveway while riding one of my son’s bicycles, causing $1200 damage to her car. I didn’t witness the accident, though the friend has admitted causing the accident. Who is responsible? The friend’s parents think I didn’t properly supervise and that I share 50% of the blame. I believe the friend’s parents have full responsibility; however, as a goodwill gesture I had offered to share the cost before they later blamed me (I’m feeling less motivated now, I must admit). Both homeowner policies, ours and theirs, have a $1000 deductible.

      Thanks for the help.
      Dear Niki: In most states parents are responsible for the acts of their children. There are exceptions depending on the specific laws of your state. Google the name of your state and “parental responsibility” for details that may apply to you. A reasonable resolution, as you mentioned, would be by splitting the deductible. That may possibly be the judge’s decision if you were to take this to small claims court. Always best, when possible. to resolve conflicts without resorting to legal means. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Marcos
      Thu, 19 Aug 2010 at 11:09

      Today me and my friend we were playing soccer, kicking the ball against the wall of this warehouse(which is a county owned warehouse for storage which is LOCATED IN A PARK), which has no windows or anything that could be damaged,its just a plain concrete wall,as we were playing a park officer pulled up in his car & told us that we could no longer play there because he said that was “defacing county property and that we could get arrested if he was a police officer and that he would just let us go since hes nice (which he wasn’t because we have played in that spot for years and no one has ever told us anything)” , so my question is, if we are just kicking a ball against a concrete wall could that be defacing county property? if so, in what way? (remember there’s nothing that could be broken its just a solid wall)
      Dear Marcos: The definition of “property damage” or “defacing property” may include what you and your friends are doing. If it’s a county building it must be on county land, so if you’ve been told not to be there you could be charged with trespassing if you return. If playing ball against the wall of the building leaves any marks or chips the block, that may constitute damage. It may be best not to press your luck and find another place to play. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • tyron
      Fri, 24 Sep 2010 at 01:34

      i damaged a friends laptop , the screen is cracked but it still works, i wanted to buy a new laptop of the same kind and give the new laptop to the friend and keep the damaged one. but the friend wants the new laptop and the damaged one. who would keep the damaged laptop
      Dear Tyron: Your friend is under no obligation to give you the damaged one just because you’re replacing it with a new one. You might see what a new screen costs to replace – it may be less than buying a new one. Check with Data Doctors, the Geek Squad at Best Buy or a similar retail store for an estimate. Otherwise your intention to replace the broken one is the right thing to do. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Aunty Jen
      Fri, 15 Oct 2010 at 07:56

      I have a 12 year old nephew. He and another boy are constantly arguing and fighting. Well yesterday my nephew had had enough of the name calling and the rude gestures, and so he took the other kids’ glasses and broke them in two. I was very shocked to hear what he had done. He is normally very shy and harmless. I am now worried about him. What can happen to him? Will he get kicked out of school? What type of charges can be brought up against him? We live in North Dakota.
      Dear Jen: There are several possible outcomes here. First, if this happened at school, the administration may take action. If he broke a school rule he may be disciplined by an in-school suspension or possible expulsion depending on his discipline record and other factors. If this is reported to the police they may send it on to your local prosecutor. He/she may file a property damage charge against him or whatever criminal law applies to the facts of what happened. The other boy’s parents may also look to your nephew’s parents to pay for the broken glasses. You could also contact a local juvenile law attorney for more information. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tamika
      Tue, 19 Oct 2010 at 02:50

      While my daughter was sleeping over at a friends house, she swapped at a fly and in the process accidentally knocked over a vase which spilled water onto her friend’s laptop. Am I responsible for the damaged to the PC? My daughter explained that it was inadvertent and that the laptop was carelessly placed in a room full pf romping teens. The girl (homeowner) and her mom had stepped out of the house to pick up pizza for the sleep over and when she returned my daugther told them what happened. The girl tried to dry the laptop with a hair dryer, which caused further damage. Can this be covered by homeowners insurance? if not, am I liable as the parent for the damage?
      Dear Tamika: Although this was an accident, based on your description, you may be financially responsible for the laptop. Every state has what are called “Parental Responsibility Laws.” These set a dollar amount for which parents are required to reimburse victims of acts of their children. In some states the maximum amount a parent can be required to pay is $10,000. In other states it’s higher or lower than this figure. Google the name of your state and the words “Parental Responsibility Law” for the details that would apply to you. Whether this is covered by homeowner’s insurance depends on the terms of the insurance contract. Read the policy or call the insurance company to see if coverage exists for this incident. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • olivia
      Tue, 09 Nov 2010 at 11:16

      Hi. My name is Olivia and I am not a minor but I’m pretty close and I do have a pretty general question that I need an answer for. Two nights ago my car was broken into, before I even found out about it I was given a phone call by a police officer letting me know it had occured. It turns out they caught the guy right after he had broken my window and walked away with my ipod and fm transmitter in his pocket. The police retrieved my property from him and he was arrested. I only had to come outside to answer a few questions and there I was left with a broken window at 4 in the morning. The officer who helped me that night told me I could ask for restitution for the window from my insurance company. A few hours later I called them and reported the claim. They told me I would have to pay for the window since it was below my deductable of 250 dollars (the window replacement being 200). I told the insurance agent on the phone about what the police officer had told me and she abruptly said it doesn’t matter whether it was vandalism or if there was/wasn’t a guilty party, I would still have to pay the deductible. If I wanted my 200 dollars I would have to be responsible for going after the guy who broke my window. I am a 22 year old college student who does not have anywhere near those funds to be spending on a window that I did not break. 200 dollars is half of my monthly rent! Am I in the right? Is it my insurance company’s responsibility to go after restitution if there is a guilty party determined in the situation?
      Dear Olivia: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances. Some states will include restitution as part of the plea agreement so that the defendant has to pay restitution to the victim as part of his/her sentence. You could try contacting the prosecutor’s office who is handling the case and provide them with copies of the estimate to have the window repaired. You could also try speaking to another person like a supervisor at your insurance company to confirm whether the information provided to you is correct. Best of luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Sabrina
      Mon, 15 Nov 2010 at 04:57

      A few months ago a so called friend stole my ipod and lied to my face about it saying she had no clue where it went. Now just a few days ago she told someone that she had stolen it and showed them it for proof. It has my name engraved in the back of it. If her parents won’t cooperate they cops aren’t aloud to question her or look for it. So my friend is going to go steal it back for me today. But we have reason to believe that she has drawn on it with sharpie and vandalized it. If so can I go to the cops? What will they do? Can I get it fixed or get a new one from her just like my old one that she stole?
      Dear Sabrina: If the phone is returned to you and you know for a fact that it is your original cell phone and it’s damaged, you can report it to the police. Let your parents know about this so they can attempt to resolve it short of going to court. Your parents are likely aware of small claims court which should be the last resort. Maybe the police, you and your parents can approach the alleged thief and her parents and discuss this. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Paul
      Mon, 22 Nov 2010 at 01:11

      My mother broke my wife’s family expensive camera. My wife’s parents purchased the camera which cost around $1,000 so we would have a nice camera to take pictures of our children and my in-laws grandchildren. My wife was teaching vacation bible school and our son was in the class. When my mom came to visit my wife asked my mother if she wanted to go to vacation bible school because our son and the rest of the class were learning songs. My wife had been asked to take some photographs of the vacation bible school class for the church bulletin. My wife had her camera inside of her purse and her purse was in the classroom. I called my wife’s cell phone and when she answered her cell she left the vacation bible school room because she didn’t want to have a phone conversation while the children were learning songs. She told my mother “it’s Paul I’ll be right back stay here and enjoy watching Paul (our son).” My wife walked outside into the church parking lot to talk to me on her cell phone. My wife tells me “I gotta go because your mom just walked out into the parking lot and dropped my camera.” My wife told my mother to get into the car so she could take my mother to the Camera Shop a couple blocks away from the church. My wife wanted my mother to know how expensive the camera was my mother had broken. At the camera shop my mother was talking on her cell phone and my wife told the camera shop worker “wait for her to get off of the phone because I want her to hear this information … can you believe she is talking on the phone … wouldn’t you be upset if someone just broke your camera and they weren’t paying any attention.” My mother got off of her cell phone and asked the camera shop worker if the camera could be fixed. The camera shop worker told her no, and, my mom asked the the camera shop worker if my wife could tape the camera back together. The camera shop worker said no. My mother inquired how much it would cost to replace the camera and the camera shop worker told her around $1,000 but she was selling her old camera for $500.00 and her old camera would be an adequate replacement for my wife’s camera. My mother asked about fixing my wife’s camera and the camera shop worker said it would cost $70.00 just to have my wife’s camera that my mother broke put into the shop and it would be a waste because the camera was damaged beyond repair. My mother wrote a check for $70.00 made out to the Camera Shop. My wife told my mother her mom and dad purchased the camera to take pictures of our children. My wife’s dad asked my mother about the camera when they got back home. My mother said it was an accident. My wife, myself and my wife’s parents asked my mother why she took the camera out of my wife’s purse. My mother said she was afraid someone would steal it. To this we replied that no one knew the camera was in my wife’s purse and if someone stole the camera and / or my wife’s purse it would be my wife’s responsibility. My wife told my mother how she told her she would be right back and to stay inside and enjoy watching our son. At no point did my wife tell my mother to watch her purse or camera. We questioned my mother several times why she took my wife’s camera out of her purse, and, told her she had no right to take anything out of my wife’s purse. My father-in-law said he didn’t have the money to go out and purchase another camera and if he did he would because he said he could tell my mother was angry we were telling her she is responsible to replace the property she damaged beyond repair. My mother says she isn’t responsible for the camera because she didn’t mean to drop and break it. My wife and her parents tell my mother it doesn’t matter if breaking the camera was an accident she is still responsible to replace the camera. I’m very embarrassed and ashamed my mother hasn’t done the right thing and replaced my wife’s family camera. My question is, is my mother responsible for replacing my wife’s camera she took out of my wife’s purse, walked with outside, dropped on the pavement, and causing the camera to break beyond repair? Or is my mother not responsible because my wife left her purse inside the vacation bible school classroom giving my mother the opportunity to get her hands on my wife’s camera? Please tell me how to convince my mom she is responsible to replace the camera since her actions damaged the camera beyond repair. Or, tell me if my mother isn’t responsible for damaging my wife’s camera because it was an accident and my wife walked outside without her purse. If my mom is responsible for replacing the camera she damaged by taking out of my wife’s purse without permission, walking outside, dropping the camera on the pavement breaking the camera please tell me how to convince my mom she needs to do the right thing and replace the camera she broke.
      Dear Paul: Askthejudge is an educational website for & about teenagers and the law. As such, we don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. Your issue deals with personal property law and legal responsibility for damaging another’s property. We suggest you attempt to settle this without resorting to legal action. The camera, even at $1,000, may not be worth the hard feelings and possible estrangement among family members if lawyers and a court become involved. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Lino
      Fri, 03 Dec 2010 at 09:50

      I’m the manager of a shoe store. Yesterday, this couple came in and the lady was trying shoes and damaged one of them. We told them they had to at least pay for half the shoe price before we continue providing them service. They didn’t want to pay for the damaged shoe but said that it was illegal to refuse service. Any advise on a situation like that? Where could I find the laws that rule a retail business so next time I’ll know if they’re taking advantage of the store? Thanks!
      Dear Lino: Askthejudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you contact a local business attorney about this situation. Some lawyers provide a free consultation for the first 30 minutes. Ask about this when you call. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Laurie
      Sat, 08 Jan 2011 at 06:31

      Hi. I live in Va. I just bought and built a house onto 11 acres of land right beside my fiance’s 2 aunts, uncle and nephews, all on one side. We bought the land from one of the aunts. The problem we are having is with the 16 year old first tresspassing, taking down the fence we built twice (the last time was today! after we talked to his parents and him!) and took his truck and distroyed the road they made driving their trucks back and forth. The parents won’t do anything. What should we do? Like I said its family we don’t want to resort to charges and we talked to them all over and over. Thanks!
      Dear Laurie: If you don’t want to involve the police and make a formal complaint, then you will have to continue trying to work out an agreement with the teen and his parents. Perhaps you could try sitting down with all of you and discussing the matter and reach an agreement. Also, you could consider contacting a local attorney who handles property issues to find out what your rights are under your state’s laws. The attorney may be able to write a letter to the family, which could result in the teen respecting your requests. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Aroush
      Tue, 11 Jan 2011 at 10:48

      Is this damage or any form of law breaking.
      Accidental leak of period blood on the school chair.
      Dear Aroush: It would depend on the specific laws of your state or country, but it’s very unlikely that criminal charges would be filed for this type of accident. However, if the school requested money to replace or repair the damaged property and the money was not provided, the school could attempt to press charges by complaining to the police. It would still be up to the police and the prosecutor’s office whether or not to file charges. Most states have specific laws concerning the value of the property that was damaged. For example, if the value of the damaged property is less than $250, it may be considered the lowest level misdemeanor offense if charges were filed and it would be likely that a diversion program would be offered. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • martin
      Sat, 22 Jan 2011 at 01:07

      Me and my ex gf had a huge breakup. She wouldn’t talk to me for weeks even after I had repeatedly tried to get my valuables back (ipod and others). She made a claim that I had been living there and they couldn’t pay the rent so I made an agreement with her aunt to swap 200 dollars for my stuff. Later, I find my ipod is cracked in half and that was my most expensive item. I didn’t notice until after the exchange or I wouldn’t have done it. She claims it was “given” to her but its under my name and I have documented receipts prooving this. Is this enough to take to court for property damage considering its an Ipod and worth almost 300? Or will I be laughed out of the court room?
      Dear Martin: You won’t be laughed out of court but you may not win either. Unless you can prove how the iPod was damaged and who is responsible for the damage, you don’t have a case. If you decide to sue in small claims court and you lose, you may be ordered to pay her court fees. So think long and hard before taking legal action. You may have to bite the bullet on this one. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Wanda
      Thu, 27 Jan 2011 at 03:16

      My car was parked in the parking lot where I work and someone vandalized my car by breaking the window and damaging the window frame. The company work van was also vandalized, and our office was broken into with a significant amount of property taken. When I parked my car in the office parking lot my supervisor knew my car would remain in the lot until I could make arrangement to have some mechanical work done. My car was on the property for approximately a week and a half when the vandalizm and break in occured. I have been told by our company’s insurance department that they are not responsible for my damages and I will have to file it on my insurance. The police investigaters believe all damage inside the building and the parking lot where done at the same time by the same offenders. Is the the company insurance responsible for paying to have my car fixed since they allowed me to keep my vehicle on their property without a waiver or anything.
      Dear Wanda: AsktheJudge is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. In your situation it will be the terms of both your insurance policy and that of your employer, along with the property damage laws in your state that will be the basis of a liability determination. We suggest you speak with an accident lawyer regarding your rights in this matter. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Kevin DeChiico
      Wed, 09 Feb 2011 at 09:12

      My son and several friends without my knowledge egged two cars in our neighborhood. They called the police and gave the name of the car the kids got into after the incident. The police contacted the kids and told them they needed to return to the home and clean the cars. While they cleaned the officers came back by and told the kids there would be no further action. Our son and friends did not tell us about the incident. 2 months later I recieved a call from a female office, (the orignal officer who spoke to the boys the night of the incident was male), who informed us that there had been damage to both cars totally $5400.00. That the owners of the vehicle did not want to have contact with the parents or kids directly, but that she was attempting to avoid formal charges being made against the boys by getting us to pay for the damages. She stated that we would give her the money and she would give it to the families. (Total of about $600.00 per kid). Our fear of our son being charged with a Felony class 6 in VA, having a permanent record and possible jail time has convinced us to consider this seriously, but does this not seem strange to you that the officer is negotiating this deal? What prevents the family from still pressing charges later on? What type of documentation should we get to protect ourselves? Would you advise to not make this deal? Our thinking is $600 is probably cheaper than getting an attorney and going to court.
      Dear Kevin: We suggest you discuss this with the officer’s supervisor or another police officer and/or a lawyer before taking any action. We cannot provide you with legal advice but your concern is justified. Good luck. Let us know what happens.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Robin Weaver
      Wed, 16 Feb 2011 at 02:49

      My son is 13 and he was picked up for curfew violation on Jan. 9th 2011. The day after Martin Luther King Day we got a call from a police detective wanting to interview my son. We had the flu and she decided to interview him over the phone instead of in person so she did not risk infection. Apparently the night he got the curfew violation he was the “look out” for his friends that were breaking into cars. The detective told me that he was being charged with 2 counts of 2nd degree burglary. I was told the DA would send me an intake letter and I’ve not received anything. His court date for the curfew violation is Feb. 24th… could they charge him then for the other two crimes? If not… how long does the DA’s office have to file charges against him?
      Dear Robin: Your state’s “statute of limitations” applies here. That means every crime has a time period for formal charges to be filed. Usually a misdemeanor has one to two years for the DA to file and longer if the crime is a felony. When he goes to court for the curfew ticket he could be served with papers then regarding the burglary incident. On the other hand, he could also be served personally at home or receive the papers in the mail. Don’t miss any court hearings or an arrest warrant can be issued by the judge. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Ann
      Wed, 16 Feb 2011 at 03:29

      I have been borrowing my boyfriends tv until I can afford to get my own. Recently i was trying to move it into the living room when i hit it against another piece of furniture and it cracked internally (its a plasma). Its a goner and I cannot afford to buy a new tv so what I wanted to know will my renters insurance cover it because in my papers it says it covers “Damages to others’ property for which you may be liable” … i want to know before i file a claim ( I do have full replacement also)
      Dear Ann: As in any contract, what’s covered or not depends on the terms spelled out in the document. Check the fine print or definitions included in the contract. If you have a question about coverage, call the insurance company and ask if the damage to the TV is covered. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Juan
      Sat, 26 Feb 2011 at 03:03

      I broke into the local library what will happen to me? I’m 13
      Dear Juan: The possible consequences depend on a number of things including the circumstances of the incident, your state’s laws and whether you have a criminal history. If you’ve never been in trouble and if nothing was damaged, it’s possible that you may be offered a diversion program. If this happens and you complete the terms of the program, the charges would be dismissed and the case closed. Otherwise you may be facing probation with community service, payment of a fine/restitution and attending a class or counseling. Time in detention also may be an option, but if nothing was damaged and if this is your first offense, it’s not likely. Remember that the penalties will get more serious for additional offenses so we hope you learned from this incident. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Stacey
      Sat, 26 Feb 2011 at 03:08

      My 14 y/o son and his friends were playing around out in the street throwing snow balls at each other when some older boys (16 y/o) showed up. My son threw a snowball at one of his friends and it missed and hit one of the older boys. The older boy got mad and started to chase my son. My son turned to run and didn’t realize there was a parked car right behind him. He ran into the car face first and his tooth hit the small area of metal that runs between the front windshield and the side windshield causing his tooth to break in half and a smaller than a pea size chip in the cars paint. Our neighborhood has an ordinance that cars are not allowed to be parked on the street. The car parked on the street in front of a neighbors home while attending a holiday party at the neighbors house. Although this was definitely an accident and we accept our responsibility, I feel that the older boy who chased my son as well as the neighbors who were having the party, are also all since my son was being chased AND the neighborhood ordinance prohibits street parking. The owner of the car has sent me a certified letter w/an estimate attached and has stated that she wants me to pay her $500 deductible to have her vehicle fixed. I feel that this amount is excessive and that she should get at least 2 more estimates. Secondly, I feel that whatever the cost is, that the home owner as well as the parents of the other child are also all liable for damages. What are my options?
      Dear Stacey: We’re sorry to hear about you and your son’s situation. AsktheJudge provides information concerning teens’ rights and the laws that affect them. Your question concerns a civil matter. You could try contacting a local civil attorney in your area for more information and advice as to whether you should pay the requested amount especially considering your neighborhood ordinance. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation at which time they would meet with you briefly. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Justin
      Sun, 13 Mar 2011 at 11:06

      Hi, i just want one question answered.
      How long does one have to file… Criminal Charges against a juvenile, because the have he said she said evidence against 2 dents in their car, the “accuser” says that two people did it, but one had not done it… thats besides the point, but they threaten after… ide say 6 months give or take a few, that they were going to be taking one to court… w/o paying for the damages yet, there just going to get an estimate from a car repair shop & use that?
      Dear Justin: Most crimes have what is called a “statute of limitations” that specifies the maximum time for filing formal charges. For example, shoplifting charges can be filed up to one or two years after the incident. To find out the time period in this case, Google the name of your state and “criminal damage.” Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • carly
      Fri, 18 Mar 2011 at 10:23

      Hi, recently I vandalized someones car. I wasstartidng a new medicine, and after two glasses of wine, I dont even remember what happened really. Come to find out from my doctor, I had a reaction in which I did not mix well with the medicine for it can cause serious irrational and violent behavior. The night it happened I fully took responsibility and signed to cover the damages. Charges were not pressed against me. Devastated the next morning after what happened I was beside myself because in my right state of mind I would never ever do something like this! The neighbor (at an appt complex) knew me and we were always friendly for atleast ten months! I got a note in front of my door explaining I had 10 days to pay her 7,000 dollars!!! ( THAT I DO NOT HAVE, yet might be assumed because I drive a lexus and so does my fiance’) A few days later, I was able to knock on her door. She acted afraid of me and barely opened the door explaining that she was too uncomfortable. I was devastated, tears flowing. I even showed her my medicine, I said a doctor can testify to you if you need, and really opened up to her about some things and was truly so sorry. I validated her feelings and explained how awful it must have felt and how its now a pain for her to have to deal with this! I asked her if she could go through her insurance because I DO NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY. I am 22 years old, and NO the bank will not give a loan, especially in this economy. She was also judgemental about tehe fact that my mother or father werent going to give me 7,000… She made me feel like she was digging in trying to find some kind of reason why they wouldnt! My parents love me to death, but they arent going to give me 7,000. No one understands why, after I was so sorry, no sleep for days, and formally apologized to her, WHY she would still want to pretty much make me BROKE, for actions I did not mean malicously. She told me she had to think about it and would get back to me. Now keep in mind, she said with the appraisal that I could make payment directly to her! RRRIIIIGGGHHTTTT.. like Im going to give someone 7,000 (IF I HAD IT TO BEGIN WITH) so they can pocket 6,000 and go through insurance. If it comes down to it I will put it on a CC DIRECTLY to the place of repair.

      What do you think?
      Do you think she should go through insurance? Do I HAVE ANYYYYY options???? How can i convince her to understand it was not malicious and I am more than sorry?
      Dear Carly: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you speak with a lawyer about this if she decides to take legal action. Your legal options will be explained to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Maria
      Tue, 22 Mar 2011 at 03:06

      ok my brother was convicted of vandalism penal code 594(a)/(b)(1)oc m possession device for vandalism or graffiti 594.2(a) PC m and he didnt comply with the courts request. the truth is my mother was diagonsed with cancer and has been in and out of the hospital we have been taking care of her. i know this no excuse for him not take care of his is there any way or something we can prove to the court this is the reason he didnt comply? please help? i dont want to see him in jail? thanks so much
      Dear Maria: We’re sorry to hear about your Mom. Your brother should contact his probation officer or whoever he dealt with at court and explain the circumstances. A letter from your Mom’s doctor could help but he’ll still need to follow the court’s orders. He can ask for additional time to comply. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michelle
      Sat, 26 Mar 2011 at 08:35

      My 15 year old son was arrested for crimianl damage to state funded property. A 16 year old licensed driver (who did not get into trouble) let him and two other kids driver her car at our city park. They drove on the grass and caused minor damage to to the grass. Someone that saw it called the police and they were arrested for criminal damage to state funded property, according to the police officer. The officer let us know that juvenille probation will call us and let us know what to do next. He said he will have to go in front of a judge and probably just have to do community service. I have heard that this may be a felony because it’s a city park? Do I need a lawyer?
      Dear Michelle: Whether the offense can be charged as a felony depends on the laws of your state, but if the damage was minor, it is likely that it will be charged as a misdemeanor. You probably don’t need an attorney at this point as you can wait for the first court date at which time you will find out more about what he’s being charged with, the penalties and his options. If this is his first offense, he may be offered a diversion program. Upon successful completion of the program, the charges would be dismissed and the case closed. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Katie
      Mon, 28 Mar 2011 at 05:42

      My neighbor had his privacy fence spray painted in August 2010. The guys/company he hired got overspray on our two vehicles. We incurred over $500 of out-of-pocket expenses and our insurance company covered the additional $500+ cost to remove the paint. Our neighbor thinks this is funny and is not responsible, although this took place on his property. The company he hired has not responded to our insurance companies numerous letters. Can I sue the company and neighbor in small claims court? Can the neighbor be held responsible for the damage to our vehicles that were parked in our driveway?
      Dear Katie: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      We suggest that you contact your local small claims court and inquire about their jurisdiction. They more than likely have information about the cases that can be filed there, whether you need a lawyer (probably not) to file a lawsuit, etc. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mayra
      Thu, 31 Mar 2011 at 02:16

      18 yrs old man vandalized my home. Destroying personal and dwelling property worth over $20,000. Can I go after his parents for financial restotution? This happened in NY.
      Dear Mayra: If he has been arrested and charged with a crime, let the prosecutor know about the extent of the damage. Most prosecutor’s offices have a victim’s assistance person who can see that you are protected and advised in this situation. You have rights as a victim to ask the court for restitution. Otherwise you can talk with a lawyer about filing a civil lawsuit for the damage done and restitution. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Matt
      Sat, 16 Apr 2011 at 06:23

      I carved a small message onto a school lab table in my high school in New Jersey. I was caught and my teacher informed me that I will be reported to my school administration for defacement of school property. I’m a 17 year old senior. What will most likely happen to me? Will this affect chances of college scholarships? Will my parents still have to informed even if I have the money to compensate for damages if under $250? Will I have any sort of record because of this?
      Dear Matt: Your school may choose to discipline you (detention, etc.) and ask that you pay for the damage. Whether or not the administrators will choose to tell your parents will be up to them and your school’s policies. You could ask the school officials to take care of this on your own, accept responsibility and pay for the damage. The incident could be reported to the police in which case you probably would receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. Otherwise, if the school handles the matter without notifying the police, you will not have a record and it probably will not affect your chances for a scholarship. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Qureshi
      Sun, 24 Apr 2011 at 10:44

      I put dirt on the dean’s car after school. She says the repairs will cost $1000. I was just being stupid and want to avoid a stigma on my record. I am 12 and live in Nevada. What could my punishment be?
      Dear Qureshi: If you and your parents agree to pay for the damages and repairs, then the matter may be handled with your dean and not with the court’s involvement. However, if your dean chooses to press charges and report the incident to the police, then you could have to appear in court. Otherwise, your school could discipline you through detention, suspension, etc. Talk to your parents about the incident and perhaps you and your perhaps could sit down with the dean to discuss what happened and how you could take responsibility for it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tyler Huang
      Thu, 28 Apr 2011 at 03:50

      My parent’s are going through a divorce, but are not yet legally separated. My step-mother is threatening to press charges against me for vandalism, because I removed a door that separates the living room from the rest of the house. Their are no legal documents that divide my house.
      Can she press charges of vandalism against me even though it is within our house? I am 18 years old, living in Washington state.
      Your response will be much appreciated.
      Dear Tyler: If your stepmother’s name is on the title to the house or she’s a co-owner of the property, she may have a right to see that the home is properly cared for. Discuss this with your Dad so you can work something out rather than going to court over this. As far as criminal charges against you, it depends on the laws in your state. You can Google “Washington property damage laws” for information on this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Deb
      Thu, 05 May 2011 at 07:21

      I have an 11 year old girl who was caught writing on playground equipment a small heart was the only thing she drew. Police brought her home told me and a few weeks later a detective calls and said we have to either go to a juvenile hearing done by the town or Family court for this is a misdermenor. I do not want this on her record as she is a young child. Never gets in trouble. How do I get this off her record and do they (police) have to charge her with this? Is it up to the police chief?

      Thank you for an info.
      Dear Deb: The decision to file charges, whether formal or informal, is up to law enforcement (the police and local prosecutor). Your daughter will most likely be offered a chance to participate in a diversion program. When she completes the terms of diversion, the case will be dismissed and she shouldn’t have a record. Considering her age, she will probably be talked to about what she did and that will be it. Or she may have to write a paper about the incident and what she’s learned from it. It all depends on the court’s policies in your area. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Carrie
      Sat, 14 May 2011 at 12:45

      I was at work and using a pen on the touchscreen. I was doodling with it and evgraved it into the touchscreen. It then the screen broke, they have me on surveillance, I talk with the owner tomorrow, What are some possible outcomes for me? Will I lose my job, go to jail, etc? I am fine with paying for it and also, can I quit if they don’t fire me. I am 15 and live in Canada..
      Dear Carrie: Explain what happened and that you didn’t vandalize the screen intentionally. If it was truly an accident tell your boss and, as you suggested, that you’ll pay for the damage. If you’ve been a good employee up to this incident, there shouldn’t be a problem. In order for criminal charges to be filed, the police would need evidence of intent to damage. This sounds like an accident that you can make right with your employer. If it goes the other way and charges are filed, speak with a lawyer who will advise you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sean mayfield
      Sat, 21 May 2011 at 04:59

      I. have been tagging alot all of my school. and I got caught and arrested there charging. me with vandalism and graffiti what penalties would I be faceing?
      Dear Sean: What consequences you are facing will depend on the amount of damage and your criminal history. If this is your first time being charged and going to court, you may be offered a diversion program. You may be ordered to clean up and repair any damage you caused, complete community service hours and/or pay a fine or restitution. Remember that the penalties will increase for additional offenses, so we hope you learned from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Michael
      Fri, 03 Jun 2011 at 12:27

      What would be the most efficient and civilized process to recoup my repair cost if, say, someone maliciously or unintentionally damaged my laptop in a public setting (i.e. a Starbucks)? I know it sounds so basic but Im thinking I would have to get their contact information as a starting point, no? Any guidelines would be greatly appreciated!
      Dear Michael: We suggest starting off with a simple request in person or writing. As you stated, his or her contact information is necessary. If the matter can’t be resolved amicably, you may want to speak with a lawyer or consider small claims court. However, the additional time, effort and expense of this may not be worth pursuing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ty
      Thu, 23 Jun 2011 at 02:54

      Hi I am 14 and I was with some friends who sprayed weed and grass killer on a neighbors lawn and he found out it was us what kind of punishment could I get in even if I did not spray any of it
      Dear Ty: If the neighbor chooses to get the police involved and knows that you were present, it’s possible that charges could be filed against you. If there is evidence that you were there and assisted in any way like being the lookout or supplying the weed killer, etc., it may not matter that you did not actually spray any of the weed killer, but this may depend on the specific laws in your state. If charges end up being filed and you have to appear in court, you may be offered a diversion program if this is your first offense. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jeri
      Mon, 27 Jun 2011 at 08:23

      I have a son who is 14. He and one of his “friends” found a can of spray paint and painted in our school bus barn. The other child painted the name of a neighboring town and discharged a fire extinguisher on a bus. My child painted an x and stood there and watched the other kid. This is first and better be last offense, he has good grades, does well in school and never in trouble there. Police notified me yesterday they have this on camera. We have a meeting with police scheduled. We live in Oklahoma. What should I expect?
      Dear Jeri: In this situation, the police have several options. They can refer the case to your local county/district attorney to file charges against your son. Or they can decide to resolve the matter with you and your son without going to court. He may be referred to what is called a “diversion” program where he’ll be required to complete some community service (removing graffiti, etc.) and then the case will be closed. If formal charges are filed, you’ll be notified of a hearing date and the legal process will be explained to you when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Daniel Sponaugle
      Sun, 17 Jul 2011 at 03:12

      Hi, my name is Daniel Sponaugle… If a house was broken into and vandalized and the vandalizers were caught.. but the house was sold can charges still be pressed?
      Dear Daniel: Yes, charges can still be pressed as it’s ultimately up to the police and the prosecutor’s office to file charges and not the individual homeowners. Although the homeowners usually make the complaint to the police, the police and prosecutors take over the investigation and the initiation of a criminal case from there.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Nick
      Wed, 27 Jul 2011 at 11:10

      If a person pastes up biodegradable posters on walls and public property, are they liable for vandalism? They aren’t using paint or pen to graffiti, so is it an issue? Are they guilty of Public Mischief?
      Dear Nick: Whether this would be a crime or not depends on the local laws about vandalism. You need to read the language defining these acts. If not a “crime” it may constitute a civil infraction much like some traffic offenses resulting in a fine. Better to find out first before plastering your area with the posters. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Erik Neagle
      Thu, 18 Aug 2011 at 03:48

      Ok, so it is the 2nd day of school, I have to ride my bike where i want to go for it, beacuase I can not afford a car. i hook my bike up to a metal hand rail (principle said to) and i leave to get lunch. 10 minutes later I come back and my back tire is bent to heck. that night me and my dad try to fix it, and almost did it. so on the 3rd day of school i push off for a class about a mile away, and it bends to beyond repairs. i’m pretty sure who did it, because we have a “history” together. can i sue for vandalism, or property damage, or what?
      Dear Erik: Before you go to court, you need to know for sure who is responsible for the damage. Suing “on a hunch” will cost you and your Dad time, effort and expense. Think about a meeting with this suspect and his or her parents to resolve this. Many times, it’s advisable to attempt a settlement of disputes first and save the lawsuit until it’s absolutely the last resort. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kristen
      Tue, 13 Sep 2011 at 03:51

      Just curious on my possible rights… we live in PA and I received a phone call today from the superintendent of our school district stating that she has video of my 7 year old son pushing a cart in the school gym which resulted in (per her words) “unintentional damage” and she is stating that I must pay for to have to floor repaired. Is this really true? Do I have to pay for something that was an accident of a 7 year old… if it even was my son that caused the markings on the floor. They are stating that this happened in mid August, but have just notified me today, September 13th. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!
      Dear Kristen: Every state has a parental responsibility law holding parents civilly responsible for the acts and torts or damaged caused by their children. Try Googling your state’s name adn “parental responsibility law” to find the specific law in your state and the dollar amount a parent can be held liable for when their child causes damage to someone else’s property. Since you are just now learning of this incident, you may want to ask for a meeting with the principal to review the videotape. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • lucia
      Tue, 27 Sep 2011 at 07:56

      My boyfriend broke my phone and vandalized my car..from which he got a ticket for but now hese in jail for domestic violence..im wondering if and when i have to go to court to ask for restitution cuz all the case info is private now online…who can i ask???
      Dear Lucia: If he’s been charged with offenses against you, the prosecutor will be notifying you about his court hearing. You have rights under your state’s Victim Rights laws including notification of all proceedings. If he pleads not guilty to the charges, a trial will be set and you’ll be subpoenaed to appear at the hearing. The local prosecutor’s office may also have a Victims Assistance program where someone is assigned to your case and whose job it is to keep you posted on case developments. Contact the prosecutor and ask about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Betty
      Tue, 27 Sep 2011 at 09:16

      My 11 year old son tried to throw a rock across the street on his way to school and it hit a 2007 chevy impala the guy yelled at my son took his name and grade then met him in the office the sro officer wrote out a report in the report it said damage under $400 the guy ran and got two estimates one was 1,200 and another was about 1,100 I called to set up at meeting with the man my son threw the rock at to see what kind of damage this rock caused he claims the rock bounced 4 times but in twice on the arm paneling of car then to mirror then to the side of car door the scratched I told him I wanted him to go and get 2 more estamates and this time of only the spot my son caused because the whole car had scratches and dents in it and in the estamate it has the whole right side from front bumper to rear right tail light including right rear window removed and replaced so basicly he is wanting the whole rt side of his car painted and fixed since then he has drove by my son yelled his name also made faces and when my son told me I started walking him to the cross gaurd and brought it to her att. and the next day he stops in the mid. of the road and ask if I was his mother ( why does he need to ask her that) he met me I shook his and and took pictures of his car when we met.. I called him to settle also asked him for the other estamates and also told him to stop harassing my son or I was filing a police report he agreed to take $50.00 I told him I would call him after I got off work and we would meet upo at city hall to get a public notary to sign off on a release of all liabilty of is car he agreed as soon as I got off work his phone was cut off I tried calling several other times and its still cut off tonight the 9/27/2011 my son was arrested and put in cuffs for vandalisim of $1,200 dollars worth of dammage and I had to wait by the phone for juvinile to call and tell me when I can come and get him what can I do if theres anything I can do
      Dear Betty: Since your son has been charged with a crime, he’ll have a court hearing soon where he’ll be given an opportunity to explain what happened. He may first meet with a court or probation officer and if this is his first offense, he may be eligible for what is called “diversion.” Once he completes the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed and he won’t have a record. If he pleads not guilty, he’ll be assigned a public defender and you can explain everything to him or her. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ashley
      Sat, 01 Oct 2011 at 07:16

      I had a group of teenage boy vandalize vehicles on our street last weekend. I was awake and caught them in the act of damaging my car and ended up getting the driver’s license plate. We are only able to press charges on the driver of the vehicle because he will not give up the name of his friend who actually did the physical damange to our vehicle. Is the driver of the car equally responcible to the damage of our vehicle? We live in Texas.
      Dear Ashley: It depends on the property damage laws in your state and may also depend on the conspiracy laws. However, if the prosecutor’s office cannot identify who the driver was and the defendant is unwilling to talk, they may not be able to prosecute him. Click here to see the criminal mischief law in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melissa
      Mon, 03 Oct 2011 at 06:56

      My son and a friend both 17 were charged with criminal damaging and reckless op for allegedly driving through an empty field. we have yet to go to court or plead anything but we are from a small town where we have had some “issues” with school officials (unrelated to this)and one of the officers who is from our town and friendly with the officials i spoke of told my son he was going to be sure to tell the school about this incident, which he did and now these school officials are causing problems for my son on his athletic team. My question is does this officer have the right to discuss this case involving a minor with ppl other than those directly involved? isn’t there some kind of confidentiality policy for law enforcement?
      Dear Melissa: It’s not uncommon for schools to find out when their students are facing criminal charges as the penalties imposed may involve the school on some level. For example, keeping grades up and above a certain average may be part of a juvenile’s probation. However, if you believe this officer is telling other people not involved in any way, you could try contacting the police department and ask to speak with a supervisor or bring it to the judge’s attention when you go to court. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Penny
      Fri, 14 Oct 2011 at 12:13

      my daughters boyfriend took her truck and was driving down the road slowly and they stopped him and then they had words and the man tried to get him out of the truck to beat him up and his wife opened up the passenger door and hit him in the head with a bat and then busted the windshield and put a big dent in the side door and also did some other minor things to her truck,can we do anything to make them pay for the damage, I live in Texas..
      Dear Penny: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teens and the law. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you speak with a lawyer and/or the police about this situation. It is possible that criminal and civil sanctions may apply to what happened here. A lawyer can assess all the facts and advise you on how to proceed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Elizabeth
      Sat, 15 Oct 2011 at 01:52

      My 14 yr old son and his friend were screwing around and lit a t-shirt on fire which then caused the building they were behind to catch fire and it totalled it on the inside. We just found out about this yesterday My son was questioned and immediately confessed. It was unintentional but he still did it. What can his dad and I expect to happen. He was the one who lit the shirt and we live in Minnesota.
      Dear Elizabeth: The possible consequences will depend on your state’s laws, the amount of damage involved and your son’s criminal history. He may be placed on probation and ordered to pay the restitution (cost for the damage), complete community service hours and may have to attend an educational class or counseling. When you go to his first court date, you will find out more about the court process and the possible consequences he’s facing. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • darren
      Sun, 16 Oct 2011 at 11:18

      Hello. Im darren. I lived with a distance relative while studying at college and at college last week her son had sadotaged my laptop and had wiped the hard drive clean leaving the laptop useless and me being kicked out of college as I had no work as it was on the laptop. The laptop was valued at arround 450 pounds with months and months of work stored to it. Is there any legal action I could take? Thanks for the help
      Dear Darren: It will depend on the laws of your state or country. In the U.S., you can always file a civil claim against your relative’s son for the damage he caused, but it’s not always worth the time and court costs involved. You may want to speak with a local attorney in your area who handles civil matters and claims in small claims court to discuss your best course of action. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melissa
      Sun, 16 Oct 2011 at 12:52

      My teenage child was accused by a passerby who called the police of causing minor damage (tire tracks)to a yard that is private property and is being charged with damaging. My question is that since the citation specifically says damaging on private property and the land owner is not interested in pressing any charges would a statement from him affect or keep these charges from going forward or is it the law enforcement that presses charges regardless? Thanks
      Dear Melissa: A statement from the land owner could certainly help persuade the prosecutor to either dismiss the charges or offer your child some type of diversion program. However, it is ultimately up to the prosecutor’s office whether or not to continue moving forward with prosecuting a case. Good luck to you and your child.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Betty
      Mon, 17 Oct 2011 at 10:09

      Hi there my name is Betty I have an 11 year old son we live in TN, My son was walking to school and he picked up a rock an decided to throw the rock it hot a 2007 Chevy impala the guy stopped and yelled at my son and took it to the principal and SRO attention the SRO put in his report estimated damaged under 400 dollars but the guy ran and got 2 estimates done on his vehicle and they was over 1000 dollars worth I called and we met up he has alot of previous damage to this car all around it. In the estimate he has the whole right side of his car being repaired I asked him where did the rock hit his car he claims ir ricochet 4 times once on the window pillar than about 6-7 inches above it then over to the mirror then down along the side where the car door meets with the rt. fender I told him this was impossible with just one rock and to please go get another estimate done of just the damage my son caused I would be willing to pay for the damage just my son caused his wife agreed my husband and I told him we would contact him in a couple of days he said ok well I tried to call him 2 days later and he had his phone cut off so I tried to contact him. In the mean time he would stop and yell at son on his way to school just yell his name or just slow down and give my child some evil looks I did let the crossing guard and the SRO officer know aware of it. the remainder of that week same thing that monday I finally got a hold of him and he claims he was out of town I asked him if he had the estimate and he says no I also told him that he needed to stop harassing my son this was no longer between him and a 11 year old it was between him and I the SRO officer and I both told him that I would file a complaint with the police dep. if he cont. harassing my child. 2 days later my son was arrested on a felony charge of vandalism the police showed up at my house @ 8:30pm and arrested him we go to court nov. 7th the estimate of the damage is incorrect and I feel that my son being arrested on a felony is as well what can Is there anything I can do now don’t get me wrong yes I believe in if you do the crime you must do the time but I think my son has done more time than he deserved he was spanked, grounded for a week, his bike got taken away he was harassed by the alleged victim and then he was pulled out of bed at 8:30 at night slapped in cuffs put in juvy., I think that was a little over board for an 11year old But what can I do I am a bit overwhelmed and need to know kind of what to be expecting Thank you Betty
      Dear Betty: When you go to court on November 7, you will meet with a court officer, possibly a probation officer. He or she will explain the legal process to you. Your son may be appointed a public defender to represent him. You can also speak with a lawyer before the hearing for information and advice about how to proceed. Some courts provide free legal advice to the public by local lawyers who volunteer their time. Contact the court you have to go to and ask about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • James
      Mon, 17 Oct 2011 at 09:14

      Me and a friend were walking around my apartment complex and vandalized a few walls and the sidewalk, what can happen to us?
      Dear James: If the owner of the property wants to press charges against you, he could report this to the police who will investigate. You could be charged with criminal damage, vandalism or a similar crime depending on the laws in your state. If you are charged, the penalty may include a fine, restitution to the victim or probation with specific terms you’ll have to follow to avoid further consequences including juvenile detention. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lee of NC
      Wed, 19 Oct 2011 at 10:24

      A neighbors kid in the same neighborhood but different apt building scratched up my car. Though I didnt see it, I did see his foot on my car and when I asked him to remove it, he got an attitude. Apparently when I walked away he used his bike to scratch up the car. I had walked outside to check my car since something told me to check since he was very snappy and rude and sure enough there it was. I went to the next door neighbors house since his daughter was out there at the time and openly admitted to me he did use his bike against my car after I spent 5 min trying to get the info from her and once she heard cops, she talked.I dont care about money. You would be stupid to think in 10 years a car would not have atleast 5 scratches on it. Its the principle of the matter that he not only disrespected me to my face but then did something worst to get back at me for telling him to quit touching my property. So the possible 300 in damage isnt even worth a civil file. My question is, even though I didnt see him scratch my car, could I still file criminal charges against him? Do I need the witness to come forward with the statement? I was going to let him go with just a warning to his mom, but I still dont see how this helps others. If he did it to me, he will possibly do it again since he did get away with it without even paying time or a penny. Everyone is telling me to file a report, but since he lives in the neighborhood, I dont need more trouble, then again he may come after me anyways since I told the landlord and his mom. Torn between what I should do.
      Dear Lee: This is your decision to make. We understand your dilemna especially with the boy living nearby. A report to the police may or may not result in the filing of formal charges. That’s up to the police and local prosecutor. If you report it, the police will tell you what’s needed to make a case against him (affidavit from witnesses, etc). They may consider this a case where a firm talk with the boy is appropriate since you’re not interested in restitution.The principle of the matter is a valid guide in determining what to do. Your reporting may spare future victim’s of this boy’s actions. Plus you’ll have the satisfaction that you did the right thing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Christina
      Wed, 19 Oct 2011 at 05:55

      At 14 years old (just under 14 actually) some friends and I randomly decided to vandalize this girl’s house that we knew. We did NOT break windows or cause any serious harm that needed money to be fixed; a weird food mixture was wiped on some windows, washable children’s paint on the back deck, and random vegetables (along with a bag of dog poop) on the front porch. A little elbow grease and some soap and water was all that was needed. Anyways, we were caught weeks later and charged with juvenile mischief. The police detective said something about a “lecture and let-go” (this was a while ago so I can’t remember it perfectly) and said that it was considered a paper arrest. We were not put on probation and never had to make any sort of court appearances. Well, now I’m going to be 18 in a few days and I’m swamped with college applications. One of the questions on these applications is:
      “Have you been convicted of a felony or have you engaged in behavior that resulted in injury to person(s) or personal property?”
      Obviously the felony part is a no, but in regards to that second half, will I have to answer this with a yes? My mom talked to the county clerk and he said that it’s VERY dependent upon how the question is worded. The only thing that makes me believe I may be able to answer no is because it states “injury to personal property,” and I don’t think what we did could really be considered “injury” because nothing was destroyed and there was no money involved.
      Also, once I turn 18 will my juvenile record become sealed from colleges/etc, or will I have to hire an attorney and get it fully expunged?
      Dear Christina:If you didn’t see a judge, plead guilty or be placed on probation you don’t have an official record to be concerned about. The “lecture and let go” was a break for you – much like a diversion program for many first-time offenders. As far as answering the question about property damage, we can’t tell you what to do, but if you’re comfortable with your interpretation of “damage” then you can answer accordingly. We don’t mean to skirt the issue here, but it is a personal matter that depends on your integrity and how you read the question. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michelle
      Sat, 29 Oct 2011 at 09:01

      I received a petition for my 12 year old (he had just turned 12 – for a Class 6 Felony vandalism. My child openly admitted that he and a 16 year old went to the location and the 16 yr old began damaging the property with a machete, kicking walls, etc. My 12 year old admitted to breaking a glass window and rummaging through stuff at an abandoned house, and breaking a passenger window on an abandoned vehicle. The 16 year old did alot of damage, himself over several weeks. Orginally, the 16 year old parents invited my 12 year old over to their house to play xbox (since my son didn’t have one). The father of the 16 year old instructed the boys to go and “Check Out” this old house. Evidently, the other family had the intent to destroy the property as the 16 yr old and his family destroyed several other properties in the area (that I wasn’t aware of before hand) and then they left in the middle of the night. Now, my 12 yr old is being charged. I have no idea what to do in this situation. We would pay for any damage my 12 yr old caused, but we shouldn’t have to pay for damages caused by others over several weeks. However, my 12 yr old is the one being charged. They haven’t found the 16 yr old or his parents because they skipped out.
      Dear Michelle: You can handle this situation by speaking with a criminal defense lawyer now or wait until you go to court with your son for his first hearing. If he pleads not guilty, the court may appoint a public defender to represent him. Either way, the court will ultimately decide the consequences including the amount of restitution your son is responsible to pay. Under the laws in your state, parents may also share in any restitution ordered by the court. A lawyer familiar with both criminal and juvenile law will be able to answer your questions and represent your son. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Christopher Reagan
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 08:58

      My roommate called the police on my for hitting his car it had put a small dent in it….. well i got it fixed for 60.00. he went to try and drop the summons charge for me to go to court he had also received a statement in the mail saying he needed to turn in an estimate of damage for what i did he didn’t turn anything in and went and tried to drop the charges but the city court said it was too late that i needed to show up at court. so will this case just get dismiss when i go to court or what do you think will happened.
      Dear Christopher: It’s ultimately up to the prosecutor’s office whether or not to dismiss the charges. Even though your roommate (the victim) is asking for the charges to be dropped, the prosecutor can choose to continue prosecuting the case. If your roommate provides some sort of proof that the matter has been resolved and that you have repaired any damage, the prosecutor may be more willing to dismiss. Be sure to appear in court until you hear differently otherwise a warrant could be issued if you fail to appear. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Laura
      Thu, 10 Nov 2011 at 07:51

      My 11 year old son recently confessed to me that he and another 11 year old “tagged” up to 15 garages, businesses, and a privage school. This happened over a year ago, and it is my son’s first offense and probably the friend’s first offense as well. My question is this. Should I go to the police or to each individual residence, business, and school? I want my son to take full responsibility for his part, whatever that means. What is the best way to proceed?
      Dear Laura: We’re glad to see a parent step up and do the right thing. Although a year has passed since the incident, a valuable lesson may be had by facing the music now instead of taking no action and letting your son think he got away with this. He’s already shown character by fessing up to you. We can’t tell you what to do but approaching the victims individually with your son alongside to personally apologize should be considered. Judge Tom had this experience when he was ten (shoplifting) and now, at 64, has never forgotten it. Good luck.
      Let us know how you handle this.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brittany
      Mon, 14 Nov 2011 at 01:32

      Hi my names Brittany and I am 22 years old. A few days ago I got in a really big fight with my boyfriend. He said a lot of things like he always does and this time I had, had enough, so I took his phone and while walking home I decided to throw the phone, leaving it damaged. He has threatened to file a police report, but does not know for sure that I had taken the phone, he is assuming since he can not find it. I have tried to talk to him and he won’t talk to me unless I tell him where his phone is. I want to pay for the phone and should have the money within the next week or two. I want to tell him what I have done and that I will pay for the phone, but I’m not sure if I should or not? I really don’t want to have to bring the cops into it or anything. He has broken multiple things of mine in the past and I have never taken action. I just want to do the right thing and pay him for it as soon as I have the $ I just don’t know if I should tell him about it and risk a police report and things getting bad or if I should just get the $ and give it to him when I have it??
      Dear Brittany: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for teenagers about their rights & rsponsibilities under the law. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you speak with a friend or your parents about how to best handle this situation. Accepting responsibility for the damage and paying for it is certainly right but how to do this and avoid criminal charges is another matter. Those closest to you may have worthwhile advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Greg O
      Tue, 15 Nov 2011 at 07:58

      My Girlfriend had my $300 ipod touch when we were hanging out together and i let her take pictures on it then i asked for it back but she wouldnt give it back so i told her i had to go and i wanted it back after class. when she gave it back the screen was cracked beyond use. she claimed it was a accident out of anger at something that made her jealous in it, is she responsible for the damage if i sue?
      Dear Greg: Under the laws in most states, if she damaged the iPod she would be responsible for either the cost of fixing or replacing it. Rather than going to court over this, which will involve additional expense and time, try to work this out peaceably. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nicole Rainsberry
      Mon, 28 Nov 2011 at 11:18

      We were staying with friends over the Thanksgiving break last week after our 5 year old had a heart surgery in the city they live in. The evening that our daughter was released from the hospital we arrived at our friends’ home & our 13 year old & 10 year old boys were in their basement where they were going to be sleeping. This is also our friends’ kids’ playroom & their children are all 5 & under. All of the kids ended up down there, which was their 4 girls, & our 4 kids (our two boys & two girls- 5 & 8). Our boys found a couple of soft squishy balls & were playing underhand tossmw/them while the younger kids were playing amongst themselves. Apparently, our friends’ 3 year old had been watching our boys playing toss & decided to switch things up & started being silly & throwing toys at them. The other kids noticed this & of course all joined in. In the process, a plastic piece of fruit, throw by our 5 year old, accidentally hit the screen of their 2 year old LCD TV & ruined the screen & now the TV is apparently completely broken. It is unfortunate that it was our child’s toy that ended up hitting their screen and we do feel they have a large responsibility for retribution. But my first question is are they 100% responsible or the fact that their 3 year old started the throwing to begin with & then all of their children joined in too give their children responsibility too? They purchased the TV two years ago for $600. My second question is what is the fair and right thing for us to do for retribution? It was a 2 year old TV so do we give them a prorated sum of money to go towards buying a new TV or could we share the cost of purchasing a comparable used TV?
      Dear Nicole: Askthejudge.info is a site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We suggest you discuss this with your friends and reach a fair agreement about replacing the TV. Since all of the kids joined in whatever was happening in the basement, it would be difficult to assign blame on any one of them. It’s “retribution” you want to avoid while making “restitution” for the damaged TV. Your share of the replacement cost would go far in extending and solidifying your friendship. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • John Sheehan
      Sun, 18 Dec 2011 at 09:46

      My 13 year old son was seen playing on the roof of his old elemantary school. There is a ladder and also there are no signs indicating that you cannot trespass. A teacher saw him climbing up the ladder and took photos of him climbing on the roof. She procided to moniter his actions on the roof (no photos of him causing any damage). He jumped of the roof and he and his friend continued to play around in the playground. Now they are saying we owe $3,300.00 in restitution for damage he caused to he roof. He is diligently denying doing any damage. He told the principle and the superintendent that he has first hand knowledge of who caused the damage and that there have been at least a dozen kids on the roof. The school has not investigated or spoken to any of the parents of the children they were told had also played on the roof. They are asking us to cover all the damages because our son happened to be the one who was seen on the roof. Does the teacher who allowed him to get on the roof have any responsibility for not stopping him? It seems she was not concerned about his safety, she just wanted to get them in trouble.
      Dear John: We suggest you speak with a lawyer about this situation. You have a number of concerns that need to be considered under the applicable laws in your state. AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for teens and we don’t provide legal advice to teenagers or adults. Google the name of your state and “parent responsibility laws” for information regarding your liability exposure. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kelsey Wilson
      Sun, 01 Jan 2012 at 03:17

      So me and my husband leave a New Years Eve party to go with a friends to his home, we get to his apartment and his neighbor that lives beside him is in the living room with his room mate. His Neighbor has a bloody nose and has obviously been assaulted. Come to find out there had been a altercation with the down stairs neighbor which resulted in a police report being filed. Well the night goes on and his neighbor leaves and we all eventually go to sleep. We get up to go home in the morning and find three of our tires had been slashed and the neighbor down stairs tires had also been slashed which leads me to think that our friends neighbor who lives beside him did it to be spiteful towards the downstairs neighbor. Now I have no proof that he did it just seems highly likely that he did. I filed a police report and when the police went to his door to question him he would not open it and talk to them. How would I go about filing charges on him with out proof? I have insurance but my deductible is high and it wouldn’t have been worth filing a claim, so I had to take my rent money and buy some tires which in turn has caused me to incur a $100 charge.
      Dear Kelsey: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teenagers and the law. You cannot file charges against a person. It’s ultimately up to the police department to do their investigation and determine whether there is enough evidence for charges to be filed. You can file a claim against a person in small claims court, but without any evidence or proof, it may be a waste of time and money. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lisa
      Tue, 03 Jan 2012 at 07:05

      My sons friend had a party at his parents house while they were gona and my son sat on and broke a $40.00 table.Now the mother wants me to hire a carpenter to repair it which will cost at least 4 times the amount it was purchased for.What are my responsibilities in this matter.Wouldnt I only be responsible for the purchase price?Is her son at all responsible?
      Dear Lisa: Many states have what are called “Parent Responsibility Laws” that impose limits on a parent’s obligation to reimburse or pay for damage done by their minor children. This may apply to damage at school as well as anywhere else. On the other hand the victim must be reasonable in asserting their right to have the situation corrected. If you can’t reach an agreement with the mother, she may take you to court and that process may cost you more than meeting her terms. Google your state’s name and “parent responsibility laws” for information about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Terri
      Wed, 04 Jan 2012 at 12:13

      Will a liability wavier (if signed by both juvenile and parent) be enough to protect me from a lawsuit should the juvenile be hurt while cleaning off the egg he threw at my two story house? I will not be suppling the ladder and no police report was filed for property damage but he has admitted responsibility to his parents and me. His father has assured me that his son will clean the egg off of the house but I am worried about the liability that may put me in. We live in Ohio.
      Dear Terri: We suggest you contact your homeowner’s insurance company and ask about this. As you know, there is the “fine print” in any policy that creates loopholes for insurance companies to avoid certain responmsibilities to the insured. A waiver signed by the boy and his mother is a good idea, but not necessarily fullproof. There are no guarantees that they wouldn’t sue you if he is injured during the cleanup and the waiver, under the laws of your state, may not be a defense to the suit. You could also speak with a lawyer about this and get some advice based on the laws in your state. It’s too bad that this is the state of the world today, at least in the U.S. Back in Norman Rockwell’s era, this boy’s willingness to right his wrong would be the accepted and admirable response.
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Steph
      Wed, 04 Jan 2012 at 10:44

      We have kids who walk up and down our street and linger after school nearly everyday. They are not with any adults and their loitering is unsupervised by any adult or parent. While it’s great kids play outside, we have noticed some of our Christmas decorations were damaged and broken recently. This made me suspicious, so I kept an eye out on the kids when they came down. I saw them throwing stones at our property and kicking one of our snowmen decorations. When I opened my front door, they stopped. I was going to approach them to ask them what they were doing and they walked away.

      Soon after, I drove down the street on my way to work and they were throwing stones elsewhere. I was also told by my daughter that they threw another kid’s brand new bike in the woods and hid it from him. He was looking for it for several days before he found it. She told me she heard this news on the school bus, I do not allow her to hang with this crowd.

      How do we handle these children? They are ages anywhere from 5 years old to 15! That is a large age span and I’m surprised the parents allow the young children to hang out with much older teens and walk even when it’s dark outside.
      Dear Steph: Consider reporting these incidents to the police. They will investigate and possible interview the kids if you can provide some identifying information. Regardless of age, property damage is vandalism that shouldn’t be ignored. It may only get worse. There may not be much you can do about unsupervised children in the neighborhood unless they’re violating a law or local curfew ordinance. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • quenton savado
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 07:37

      hello my name is quenton and im from Chicago,IL and i have been out of town for almost a month and my landlord just accused me for damaging his apartment after i had my cousin to check on my apartment which i live below the unit that is above and when i spoke with my cousin he say all my property was outside of my unit i was not never served by the courts or anything i would like to know is it possible for him to accuse me for something i didn’t do?
      Dear Quenton: It is always possible to be accused of an act you didn’t do. If this turns into a court case where your landlord files formal charges against you, you have a right to defend yourself. You can speak with a lawyer about this now or wait until you have to appear in court and request a lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • matthew
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 10:09

      me and my friends accidentlay (yes ACCIDENTALY!) broke a toilet seat at school. I go to school in england. what is the worst punishment we can get if found?
      Dear Matthew: It depends on the rules and policies of your school as well as the laws in your area. If your school has some sort of Student Handbook, check that first and see what it says about property damage of school equipment. Typically, if a school believes a student or several students are responsible for the damage of school property, they may simply ask the student and his parents for restitution or reimbursement for the cost of repair or to replace the item. It’s unlikely that criminal charges would be brought for such an accident and especially if you agree to pay for the damage. You and your parents also could ask for a meeting with a school administrator to discuss the matter and find out whether the school is going to take action. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Gohan
      Wed, 11 Jan 2012 at 10:37

      Ok my friend broke a door at school. I was with him but i didnt do anything. Whats going to happen to me? They said i could go to jail if they press charges. I go to school in NYC.
      Dear Gohan: If you didn’t do anything or have any part in the damage done to the door, you’ll have a chance to defend yourself if charges are filed. Discuss this with your parents. They may want to speak with a lawyer about this or at least be prepared if you have to go to court. You have the right to plead not guilty, if you’re charged with vandalism or property damage, and make the state prove you caused all or part of the damage. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Gilbert
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 11:04

      I just got caught doing graffiti and they are charging me with criminal damage. Im 18, and I want to know if can be my first offense. When i was 14 I got caught as well, but then i did a program and got it expunge. So is it my first or second offense? I now live in Arizona. That other situation happened in California. Let me know.
      Dear Gilbert: That’s a good question. If your name was entered into a national database in California, this recent incident may be considered your second offense. You still may be offered a diversion program even though you completed one earlier. It depends on the court you’ll be in and their policies. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • stepmom
      Sat, 14 Jan 2012 at 07:53

      My 13 yr old stepchild got in the vehicle and drove thru the neighbors fence. I offered to pay for damages but the neighbor insisted she would sue my stepchild. The police did not issue a citation, only a warning but the neighbor warned she was going to persue legal action towards the minor. Can there be worse consequences under Arkansas law?
      Dear Stepmom: Perhaps your neighbor will calm down after a little time passes. She may find out that it is not worth her time and money to file a claim in court especially since you are willing to pay for the damages, which most likely is the best she is going to get in court. Since the police already declined to issue your stepchild a ticket, it sounds like you don’t have to worry about criminal charges. You could contact a local attorney who handles civil matters in small claims court to see what can be done to try to settle the matter without having to go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • ConcernedParent
      Mon, 16 Jan 2012 at 04:06

      I teach automotive at a high school. While I was assisting another student, one student was involved in horseplay that resulted in damage to my vehicle. I have witnesses and the student admitted to causing the damages. Should the school have insurance to cover such damages or do I take the student to small claims court? Thanks!
      Dear Parent: Askthejudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you check with the school’s insurance carrier to see if this incident is covered. If not, you may be able to resolve this with the student’s parents before considering taking it to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice)

    • celeste
      Mon, 16 Jan 2012 at 11:07

      If I return a tv to rent a center and its broken can they press criminal charges
      Dear Celeste: That depends on the laws in your state and the terms of the rental contract you signed when you rented the television. If you’re responsible for the damage to the tv, you should offer to pay a reasonable amount to either replace or repair it. Otherwise, you may be sued in small claims court. Criminal charges have to be based on breaking a criminal law, such as property damage, and that usually requires intent. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Linda
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 11:56

      I got into an argument with a teenager and her friends outside my house, and one of the kid said something to me like “You don’t want to mess with someone like me, I will mess you up.” and this morning, my car was vandalized. Is there a way to put them at fault and make them pay for my repairs?
      Dear Linda: You need to call your local police department to report the vandalism. They will come out and investigate the matter. Tell the police about the encounter with the teens. If they find enough evidence to file charges against one or all of them, they will let you know. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jason Scites
      Sun, 22 Jan 2012 at 06:54

      I attended a birthday party at a friends house. We were playing football in the homeowers front yard, as we have done for the past years. I was pushed into one of the guests vehicles by that same guests child, casusing a dent in the door. This person has a $1,000 deductble, and feels I am responsible although his child pushed me into the vehicle. Who is responsible?
      Dear Jason: It will depend on the specific laws in your state. If you are a minor, you could try looking at the parental responsibility laws to see what the language is concerning property damage, however, usually these laws concern intentional acts, which was not the case in the incident you described. Otherwise, you may want to contact a local civil attorney who handles small claims to find out more information concerning the laws in your state. It would be best if you can work out an agreement without taking the matter to court which costs time and money. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Borna
      Sun, 05 Feb 2012 at 10:31

      I was trespassing in an abandoned building in northern California. My friends started crashing windows and vandalizing property. As i ran away to leave, we all got caught. I got charged for vandalism. Is there anything I can do to prove I was innocent of Vandalism?
      Dear Borna: When you go to court for this, the legal process will be explained to you. If you plead not guilty, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you. Or your parents can speak with a lawyer before you go. Tell the lawyer about what happened and what you did or didn’t do. The lawyer will know how to represent you and be able to discuss the case with the prosecutor. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jessica
      Thu, 09 Feb 2012 at 11:33

      My children ages 14 and 15 were at a school basketball game. They went outside in the parking lot and drew with their fingertips in the dust notes and pictures on a friends car. They were punished in school and made to wash the car the next day. It has been more than a week since it happened and I now have the police calling to discuss damages to the car. Apparently there are scratches in 2 places that they drew. What could the charges be and punishment?
      Dear Jessica: Possible charges against your kids depend on the laws in your state. They could be charged with criminal damage, vandalism, property damage, etc. It all amounts to the same thing and the possible penalties include restitution to the victim, probation for a pweriod of time, classes, counseling, etc. When you speak with the police, you could suggest resolving this outside of the judicial system through a meeting/discussion with the victim. Your kids may also be eligible for “diversion” if this is their first pffense. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • drew davis
      Mon, 13 Feb 2012 at 10:06

      I punched a netbook worth $420 and it was the schools. They are going to charge me with vandalism, is it a felony or a misdemeanor in west virginia?
      Dear Drew: Laws are often changed by state legislatures. Depending on the limits set by the law, it could be a misdemeanor or a felony. We recommend that you check with your local library for the current law on vandalism. West Virginia has laws on the subject relating to caves, cemeteries, private property, etc. Make sure you read the most current law. You’ll also know once you’re charged since the degree of the offense may be stated in the documents you receive. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michael
      Fri, 17 Feb 2012 at 10:09

      Can a parent get in trouble for destroying a minors personal property?
      Dear Michael: You’ll have to look to the laws in your state about this. Google the name of your state and “vandalism” or “property damage” for information. You could also check with local law enforcement to see if there are parent responsibility laws that apply to a parent-child relationship. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • koya
      Tue, 21 Feb 2012 at 09:03

      My son and his friends damaged another friends car, the Parents only got one estimate, and They want all parties to pay them after they fix they car themselves just in case It cost more. How is this really suppose to work? Are we to ask for more than one estimate and only agree to pay the lowest amount reguardsless If they want extra Things done ?? I feel they are trying to get extra stuff done …
      Dear Koya: It would be best to meet with all the parents involved and the parents who own the car to discuss this calmly. Hopefully a reeasonable agreement can be reached. It would cost all of you far more in court costs and attorney fees if this ends up in court. It’s not unreasonable to obtain several estimates for the repairs. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • karla
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 08:06

      hello, I have a cincern about my 19 year old autistic son, ge gas mood swings and has recently been under a doctors care, and we have adressed the issue with the doctor, he recently unintentionaly broke a light bulb on my neighbors car, thank fully there was on damadge and I told my neighbor about the incident, the unfortunately, a week later he threw an egg on her car, i have no idea why he did this and it was his first time , there was no money involved, I spoke with my son and tried to apologise to my neighbor, it wont happen again I spoke his doctor about mood swings and he is on new medicine, I tried to talk to my son and help hin understand never to do this, what could the law do or charge be, lease help
      Dear Karla: Hopefully your neighbor continues to understand your son’s condition and that, with help, he’s trying to control his behavior. Otherwise, she could notify the police and press charges for property damage or vandalism. Again, we hope common decency and compassion prevail. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Fiisher13
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 05:07

      Ok, here’s the deal. well my naighbor’s 13 year old little girl and her freind went up the street and jumped on these people trampoline. Then they got the idea of going inside so they did. They didnt break and or take anything but they dumped food every where.(They didnt have gloves. they left finger prints.) they feel really bad now but dont know what to do can you tell me the consequence and or what they should do. they want to go and tell the people they did it but there to scared cause they dont wanna go to jail please help me ASAP thank you!!!
      Dear Emily: Situations like these are best solved as early and as straightforward as possible. By that we mean, the girls should go with their parents to the home where this happened. They should admit their deeds and offer to clean the place up or pay for any damage done to the property. This is the right thing to do and a valuable lesson for the girls. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hieldeen
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 01:26

      My daughter and her friends where taking pictures and while doing so, the phone fell and broke the phone, while on she was taking the picture. Am I liable to pay for it? Even though it’s an accident? The phone has its insurance , the dad is just an #@$%^&* and doesn’t want to use it.
      Dear Hieldeen: Accidents don’t excuse someone from being responsible for damage. Hopefully you can work out an acceptable reimbursement with this dad. He’s not required under the law to use his insurance although that may be the reasonable course of action. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Francisco Lopez
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 12:00

      ok my friends went and spray painted our school buses the principal told them that they are suspeneded for 5 days and the superintendent might press charges and if the damage is above 2,000 dollars it can be a felonie charge they are 15 years old and this is their 1st time getting in trouble and being involved witht he police what is the worse that can happen if they are charged. tis is in the state of oklahoma
      Dear Francisco: If they are charged with vandalism or property damage, they will receive notice of a court hearing. They can speak with a lawyer before going to court if their parents decide that’s best. Or they can wait and speak with the Public Defender at court. They will have a choice of pleading guilty and then go to sentencing before the judge. If they plead not guilty, a trial will be set. The possible penalties include probation, community service, restitution to the victim for the damage, counseling, drug testing if appropriate and other consequences depending on their role in this and their records. Juvenile detention is also a possibility. Good luck to your friends.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jordan
      Sat, 03 Mar 2012 at 08:26

      So me and some friends were riding around are high school. Me and another friend decided to leave. As we were leaving we saw a window break. We didn’t see anyone do it as if it happend inside. When we saw it happen we ride down the hill as fast as we could because we got scared. When we were long gone we called are other friends and they said they saw a paint can inside that look like it broke it. Also there are security cameras bye here we were. Will they blame us for what happened if they didn’t see who did it???
      Dear Jordan: You shouldn’t be charged with anything if you didn’t do anything unlawful or participate with the others. If you end up getting a ticket or notice to appear in court, explain exactly what happened and what you did or didn’t do. It’s really just that simple. Speak with your parents about this – they may want to speak with a lawyer if you are charged with a crime. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Bob
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 06:04

      Me And My Fiends Thought It Would Be Funny If I Stuck A Pad On My Teachers Door. The Same Day, I Did Stick The Pad But It Was All Because I Never Really Liked That Teacher. A Week Later, School Counselors Asked Some Of Her Students If We Knew Anything. But About Another Week Later, My Friend Put A Note On Her Door And They Are Accusing Us. My Teacher Does Not Know If It Was Us But Everybody Says So. I Was Only Responisble For The Pad , Not The Note. I Had Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Note. And Now I Am Hearing My Friends Say That She Is Going To Charge Me And My Frined for Time In Jail, Sexual Assualt, And Vandalism On Her Door. I Am Only 13 And My Friend is 14. What Can Happen To Us?
      Dear Bob: You’ll have to wait and see what, if anything, is done by the school officials. If you are charged with breaking a school rule, first discuss it with your parents. They can schedule a meeting with the principal and teacher and hopefully work this out without going to court on formal charges. When you get in trouble at school, there are several ways to deal with it. The school can press charges in juvenile court and/or deal with the incident as a school matter (suspension, expulsion, etc.). Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jack
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 11:17

      I wrote on a $800 school baby in sharpie, I can get it off but what if the school tries to charge me, how.much trouble am looking at
      Dear Jack: If the school decides to press charges (vandalism, for example) you may be find yourself in court. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you finish diversion (community service, a class, paper or counseling), the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Hopefully, you, your parents and the school can reach an agreement and keep this out of the juvenile justice system. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • abraham
      Wed, 07 Mar 2012 at 06:43

      Hi my friend is 15 he decided to take his moms van on a joy ride lost control and crashed into a corner of one house and the garge of the other I was with him at the time what can happen to him and me I have. never had a problem with the law I asked the cop she said nothing would happen to me cuz I was a passanger and I ask my cuzin he is also a cop he said nothing will happen to me I live in california my friend has a court date now will I get one
      Dear Abraham: Since you weren’t the driver you may have gotten lucky this time and won’t be charged with any crimes. In some cases like this, the passenger is also charged as an accomplice if there’s evidence that he helped take the car or contributed in any way to the property damage. You’ll have to wait and see what happens. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brina
      Thu, 08 Mar 2012 at 01:12

      my boyfriend and his dad were fighting and his dad was pushing him and he pushed his dad back. His dad called the cops on him and said that my boyfriend punched a hole in the wall but the hole was already there to begin with. He was arrested on malicious mischief. They also tried to say he smelt like alcohol but he doesnt drink EVER and wasnt drinking. This is his first ever offense. We live in Pierce County in Washington state. How long would he be in Ramenn Hall for?
      Dear Brina: How long your boyfriend is detained with the juvenile authorities depends on the laws in your state, the juvenile court’s rules, what he’s charged with and the position of the prosecutor, the policies of the court, his attitude and his lawyer’s defense of the case. There are many factors that come into play when locking up a juvenile. He may have a hearing in the near future and his release or continued detention will be considered. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rebecca Ashton
      Sat, 10 Mar 2012 at 09:42

      My daughter has been bullied in school, and even tho we withdrew her, the harassment hasnt stopped. The kids come our house and yell and bang on doors and windows, well recently my van was keyed down one side, also they left a vulgar message on my voice mail, I have contacted the police twice, they keep saying its a school issue, and turn it over to the SRO. Which he does nothing, whagt can I do to get this to stop?
      Dear Rebecca: You might try speaking with a supervisor with the police department for help with this or at least an explanation regarding their inability to investigate the property damage to your car. Many law enforcement agencies have officers trained to investigate Internet crimes. You could also contact your state Attorney General’s Office about this. Or speak with a lawyer familiar with civil lawsuits. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marlena
      Mon, 12 Mar 2012 at 11:04

      I live in buffalo ny I’m 18 and my sister took a rock and scratched a car and even though I didn’t do it bt I watched her do it does tht mean I wil b arrested to??
      Dear Marlena: If you didn’t participate in any way during this vandalism, you’re not legaly responsible for the damage to the car. You’d have to look to the laws in New York regarding property damage for the specifics. If you acted as a lookout, you could be charged as an accomplice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • emerson
      Sun, 01 Apr 2012 at 10:53

      Hehi recently ran into my neighbors fence with my car,I offered to fix it, as it was only a 30 dollar repair at most, he had the sheriff come down an told the sheriff he didn’t think I really was going to fix it, so he’s pressing charges. Does it cost him to do this? And do I have to pay the restitution or do my parents. I’m 17
      Dear Emerson: Since you did the damage to the fence, it’s ultimately your responsibility to pay for the repairs. But since you’re a minor, your parents may be held responsible according to the laws in your state. If they have to pay, then you can make arrangements with your parents to pay them back. As far as pressing charges, the property owner can ask this of the police, but it’s up to them and the local prosecutor whether to actually file formal property damage charges. Since you’ve agreed to pay for the damage, they may decide not to take this to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • dani
      Fri, 13 Apr 2012 at 09:07

      Today my sister and her friend were in the bathroom at their school and anotht girl walked in with a thing of paint she apparently stole from the schools art class. The girl proceeded to paint on the inside of one of the bathroom stalls. When my sister and her friend realized what was going on they left but did not saying anything to an adult because they have had problems with this girl in the past and are fearful of what she might do. Someone who saw the girl take the paint from the art room turned hr in to the office. After the principal called the girl in for questioning the girl told the principal the my sister and her friend were there when it happened and now they all 3 have to go and scrub all the girls bathrooms in the school on the first day of their spring break. No parents ere called and no letters were sent home to notify parents of what happened. The principal also told the girls if they did not show up to clean they would all be charged with vandalisim. Can he do this? Shouldn’t the principal have handled it in a better way?
      Dear Dani: The principal has several options as to how to deal with incidents like this one and often times, there may have been a better way to deal with it, but ultimately principals have a great deal of responsibility and must impose consequences when incidents like this arise. As to whether your sister and her friend can be charged with vandalism, it will be up to the police and the prosecutor’s office. If they fail to appear when they are supposed to clean the bathrooms, the principal can forward the case to the police for review and to decide whether or not to file charges. Your sister and perhaps your parents could ask for a meeting with the principal to discuss the matter and give your sister a chance to explain her side of the story. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • kc
      Sat, 14 Apr 2012 at 09:45

      My neighbor hit my car a year ago,he said he would fix it but never did I live in Houston can I still sue him.
      Dear KC: You can always file a claim in small claims court or possibly in another court depending on the amount of damage, but that does not mean that you will be successful. Also, you need to find out the statute of limitations or time limits to file such a claim in your state. It may not be worth your time or money to file a claim, so perhaps you could try talking to your neighbor again and work out an agreement. You also could try talking to a local attorney who handles matters in small claims court. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tasha
      Tue, 17 Apr 2012 at 01:12

      I am 22 years old and from California. My boyfriend bought me a brand new iphone 4s this past Christmas. The phone was purchased in person with his debit card and the plan was put under solely my name. My mother happened to get ahold of my phone in the beginning of January, and out of spite towards my boyfriend, she withheld my cell phone from me until just a few weeks ago. She made up excuse after excuse to prevent me from getting my phone, saying the phone was not in her possession, which is another story in itself, but it was all lies. She finally let me pick up my phone after months of lies, because she “just so happened” to get it back. Well I picked it up without seeing her, and the whole screen was shattered. I immediately confronted my mother about this and she pretended to have no idea how it broke, and that it had “been broken already”, trying to insinuate that I must have broken it. After looking through the phone, I was quickly clued in to the fact that my 18 year old brother had been using it, by some blatant evidence left on the phone, as well as evidence that he had tried to remove all signs of use. Well I confronted her about him using it and accused her of lying to me blatantly for the past few months via Facebook messages, and she stated that “he used it to listen to music earlier the day you got it back”, though I had no music on it prior, and he had his music on it, meaning he had to have gone through the process of connecting it to a computer, obviously all without my permission or knowledge. There was other evidence that made it clear it was not just a day of use, like she claimed. We argued back and forth through messages, to the point where she got angry enough to message me “I just talked to your brother and he said he did break your phone on purpose because he hates you!”. My brother messaged me as well angrily admitting to breaking the phone on purpose out of spite and that he “doesn’t give a fuck” if I care.
      Well now I do not know what to do. Because they had my phone for the past few months, I was unable to pay the bills because I am a college student and can not afford the $100 payments for a phone I was not even able to use, so the phone is now temporarily disconnected until I can pay back my debt to the cell phone company. I want to report the theft and damage to the police, just because I can not and will not be able to afford to repair and turn it back on, so not only do I not have a phone, but my credit has been ruined. I just want my mother and brother to pay for the repair and debt, since he had been the one using the phone and they wrongfully withheld it from me after stealing it. After some research, I discovered the laws in California for malicious property damage are pretty strict, including up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine, let alone including the theft charges. I do not want to put my brother in jail, as much as he has hurt me and caused me a lot of financial hardship, because he is my brother after all, but I can not just go on without a phone, and what they did was very wrong. What would you suggest that I do? Is there a way to press charges without it meaning jail time for my brother? Is there a way I can just sue for the cost of repair and phone bills? Please help! Thank you!
      Dear Tasha: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you attempt to settle this within the family or, as a last resort, you can contact your local small-claims court to see what the process is to obtain recovery of your losses through the judicial system. Going through civil court does not involve the criminal justice system, so there’s no threat of your brother or mother going to jail. On the other hand, in the interest of family relations and future contact, you might consider letting this go and hoping they will come around on their own and do the right thing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jennifer
      Tue, 17 Apr 2012 at 05:13

      my son is 12yrs old playing in front of the school store accidentaly him and his friend ran into the store window and shatered the window now the owner is telling me im have to pay for the half of the cost of reparing the window when she said that the inssurance paid for it and fixed it what are my rights do i have to pay for the half of repair or the deductible outta pocket the owner had to spend
      Dear Jennifer: Under the laws in your state, you may be responsible for damage caused by your son up to a certain limit. Many states have parent-responsibility laws that go up to $5,000 or $10,000. Others have no limit at all. Since the store’s insurance covered the cost of repair, their premium may go up as a result of this claim. In the long run, it’s best to pay your half of the bill and put this behind you. Otherwise, you can speak with a lawyer about this and see if you have a right to refuse. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Allison Summers
      Wed, 18 Apr 2012 at 07:12

      An ex boyfriend of mine threw away a lot of my belongings and sent me pictures of him throwing them away in the dumpster. He never asked me to come get the things. Am I able to take him to court so he can pay for my things?
      Dear Allison: You may have a claim based on what you’ve described. Either vandalism, property damage, theft or another law where you live that fits this behavior. Speak with your parents, if you’re a minor. Otherwise you can contact a local lawyer for advice. Small claims court may also have information for the public about filing cases in that court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Morgon
      Wed, 25 Apr 2012 at 07:33

      I was walking in physical education and I girl I’ve never spoken to was mocking me and butting into my conversation, telling me what to do. I told her not to tell me what to do and used profanity(I called her the b-word). Later, about five or so minutes, she stood in front of me and told me to move. I put a hand on her shoulder to move around her and she slapped me so hard my mouth bled. She then grabbed my hair and began ripping it out, I punched her in the chest a couple times and she threw me to the ground and I hit my face, brusing my nose, forehead, and cutting the skin under my eyes. She continued to rip hair out of my head and I grabbed her behind the knee in attempts to off balance her. We are both suspended for ten days on policy of the school. My parents are looking to press charges on her for assault and battery and for pulling out my hair. I have three spots that are bigger than half dollars and several other smaller spots where I have no hair. I am aware I can face charges for hitting her back. But it was in self defense, I was just wondering if I can sue her/her family for damages(hair and facial damages). Also, if I’m missing about four inches of rooted hair that has a chance of not growing back because of folicale damage, how much can I sue her for? I am fourteen and living in Virginia. Thank you.
      Dear Morgan: You need to talk with your parents about this incident. You do have rights that should be discussed with a lawyer to determine what you can do and whether you can take legal action. If you have medical expenses due to the fight, you may be able to recover them through the criminal proceeding if charges are filed against her. If that doesn’t happen, you may be able to go to civil court and seek to obtain a court order for restitution. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Allie
      Thu, 03 May 2012 at 08:24

      I took someone’s ipod off of their set of speakers and now they do not work. Am I liable to pay for the unintentional damage?
      Dear Allie: Even if the damage was an accident or unintentional, you may be responsible if it was in your possession last and it worked when you got it. It’s a matter of doing the right thing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anonymous
      Tue, 08 May 2012 at 07:58

      I’m 13 along with my other friend. We we’re playing basketball at my house then here come 2 other kids that we know and they said “let’s go to the abandoned house” and me and my friend were curious at first so we said ok. But when we got to the house I started to regret coming here. then me and my friend got peer pressured into actually going inside. The 2 kids have been there before and they opened the door.so we all went in but after like a minute me and my friend went out side because we were scared but the other 2 kids where still in the house. So once we get out side we see a cop pull up and I was so scared because me and my friend have never gotten in trouble. He asks us if we were in the house and who else is in there then he asks all of our imformation.its been a month since that day and then a couple days ago me and my friends where racing on our bikes it was about 8:50 and a cop pulls up and says its past curphew and he asks for our names and when I tell him my name he said aren’t you the kid that went into the house and I said yes and then he said that I will be getting a phone call from him verry soon about the incident with the house. What will be my punishment I’m verry scared I’m not one of the kids that are troublemakers.
      Dear Anonymous: If you receive a ticket to go to court for trespassing in the house, tell your parents what happened. They will need to go with you to court. Since you haven’t been in trouble before, you’re probably be eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you complete diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Diversion usually includes some community service, possibly a class or counseling. We suggest you stay away from the other two boys you went with and not give in to peer pressure.

      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jake
      Wed, 09 May 2012 at 05:44

      Yesterday in gym class we went outside. I found an old tube sock on the ground and put it on my teacher’s car. She claimed the next day that someone put a sock on her car AND tore rubber off of her windshield wiper. But I didn’t do that part. I went to the administrator to tell her how I put the sock there, but didnt mess with the windshield wiper. Could I possibly get in trouble? If so, what would be the maximum penalty?
      Dear Jake: If all you did was place the sock on her car and caused no damage, you’re not responsible for anything done to the car by someone else. You’re guilty of poor judgment but hopefully you’ll learn from this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • kevin
      Fri, 11 May 2012 at 04:58

      well two days ago i got charged with burglary and Conspiracy.my friend didnt get charged with Conspiracy and all 3 of us did. we were stealing marijuana from someones backyard and got caught. is that burglary? i had 2 felonies and a misdemeanor before i got caught. in all i have 4 felonies and 1 misdemeanor. whats the worst thing they can do to me. by the way im a minor
      Dear Kevin: You have to look to the specific laws in your state to see what the penalties are for these crimes. Every state has its own criminal code and juvenile process for dealing with minors who break the law. You may be facing probation, intensive probation or time in juvenile detention or the state department of juvenile corrections. You may also be eligible for trial on these charges as an adult depending on the laws that apply to you. Talk this over with your lawyer and your parents. Time to wake up to the realities of life if you continue down this path. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • kevin
      Fri, 11 May 2012 at 07:22

      im the one that barley posted but i live in california, thanks for the help!
      You’re welcome. -ATJ.info

    • Amy
      Tue, 15 May 2012 at 12:05

      My son and 3 friends spray painted a neighbors house. The can was in my yard so my son got blamed. A police report was filed against my son. Do i have to pay for all damage?
      Dear Amy: That will be up to the judge that hears your son’s case. Many states have what are called “parent responsibility laws” imposing monetary amounts on parents for the acts of their kids. If you explain to the judge that others were involved, that may be taken into consideration. However, victim’s rights mean that the victim is entitled to be put back into the situation before the vandalism was done. It is possible that restitution may fall entirely on you and your son. Talk with his lawyer (public defender) about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tiffany Walker
      Tue, 15 May 2012 at 03:05

      2 weeks ago my daughter coat was taken from her by another student and thrown in the garbage, I spoke to the principal and he called the student mother who agreed to pay for the coat, she asked me the price and I told her the coat cost $820 but I am asking for $500 the coat was {BURBERRY} she asked me what kind of mother am I to purchase a coat like that for their child and she was not paying. Who do I sue the mother of the child or the school, for allowing it to happen?
      Dear Tiffany: Why do you think the school “allowed it to happen?” That will be difficult to prove based on what you’ve described. If the parent refuses to pay you for the loss, you can check with your local small claims court for the rules about filing a lawsuit. You may not need a lawyer to do this or you can consult a lawyer in your area for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • colombia
      Thu, 17 May 2012 at 09:37

      can someone press charges against someone if they have no evidence?
      Dear Colombia: It would be very difficult to file a complaint or press charges without evidence. The first thing the police would ask is what proof you have of the crime. Physical evidence or eyewitness statements would be necessary.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Elgine Frankenburg
      Tue, 22 May 2012 at 05:21

      My friend drives a pickup and 3 weeks ago she let a stranger borrow her pickup because they felt threatened and the stranger she doesn’t know drove through someones newly planted yard. She was not in the vehicle and did not have any damage done to her truck. She’s afriad they will lock her up or something of that nature. The talk around town is that the person calling it in got the trucks license plate number. Can she get in trouble for something she didn’t do?
      Dear Elgine: The answer depends on the laws in your area regarding responsibility and property damage. If she did nothing at all other than loan her truck to this person, she shouldn’t be held liable for what he did with the truck. If she knew what he was going to do and then loaned him the truck, she would be considered an accessory. Otherwise, she can relax and if contacted by the police, simply tell the truth. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Moses
      Wed, 30 May 2012 at 04:02

      hI Can i go to jail for destruction of property im 12 nd hve a clear record
      Dear Moses: It depends on the laws in your state, the policies of the prosecutor’s office and the judge assigned to your case. The amount of damage is also a consideration. As a first-time offender and considering your age, it’s unlikely you’d be locked up in jail or juvenile detention. You may be ordered to pay for the damage or given community service work to complete. When you go to court for this, everything will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Amanda Maanum
      Tue, 19 Jun 2012 at 10:44

      My 11 year old daughter was at a sleepover at her 11 year old friends house. Yhe two girls were allowed in a bedroom with the door shut to play with a 500$ labtop computer. My daughter accidently damaged the sreen of the computer while the two girls were messing around. I offered to order a screen off the internet and have it fixed for free. The mother of the other child declined stating that her warranty would no longer be valid if we did this and wants 165$ from me to fix the screen through her computer company. I feel she is responsible for half or all of the damage since she was not supervising them and it was an accident, not intentional. Who is financially responsible here? Me or the other mother?
      Dear Amanda: That depends on what exactly happened when the screen was damaged. If both girls were left alone when it happened, it’s their versions that matter. Hopefully both sets of parents can sit down and calmly discuss this with the girls so an agreement can be reached regarding restitution. It would be much better to work something out that’s acceptable to both families than have this escalate any further. Maybe split the $165 between you? Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Catherine
      Wed, 20 Jun 2012 at 12:37

      If a 12 year old doodled on concrete with sharpie beneath a public bench at a playground, what would the actual punishment be?
      Dear Catherine: If she was given a ticket or citation for property damage, the court will decide the penalty. It may be a small fine or the cost to clean up what she wrote or drew. Because of her age, she may be ordered to complete some community service work and then the case would be dismissed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • mark dangelo
      Sun, 01 Jul 2012 at 05:19

      if you are living with relatives and if they damage or caused your property to get stolen would they have to replace your property.
      Dear Mark: It depends on the laws of your state, but it’s possible that they could be responsible for repairing and/or replacing your property. You could try doing a simple Google search for “Illinois property damage law” to find the specific law in your state. However, it may be best to try to work out an agreement with them rather than trying to take the matter to court. If they don’t have the money now, perhaps they could give you payments each week or month until they pay you the full amount for the damaged/stolen property. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Zachary
      Sat, 07 Jul 2012 at 07:43

      Hello I live in Indiana and I had my car parked outside in a public street in front of my house and my neighbor’s child hit it with his bike and my mom saw the whole thing go down and woke me up. I talked to the neighbor and he won’t pay so I have to take him to court. I called the police and he made a report 20 min. after the fact and got an estimate for $950 the same day. If I take him to small claims for the damage is there a good chance I will win and how hard will it be to collect?
      Dear Zachary: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. You may want to contact an attorney in your area who handles civil matters out of small claims court for additional information and advice. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Also, you will want to look to the parental responsibility laws in your state which provide that a parent is financially responsible for their children’s torts (property damage, etc.). You could try Googling “Indiana parental responsibility law” to find the law in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • austin tyson
      Wed, 18 Jul 2012 at 05:48

      Last night me and my friends pranked a former teachers house. no damage was done and they cleaned it up before we could try to. i put peanut butte on the door handles and leaned a tiny bucket of water against the door so it the water poored out onto there feet and floor. they cleaned everthing up but called the police and the police found us. They have no evidence it was us except that they knew it was a red car. my car is red ha. anyway the officer questioned us at the spot and we all admitted to doing it. he never read us our miranda rights so thats another thing. Since no damage was actually done and it wasnt a malicious act. Will it even go through the court system. is it even considered a crime since nothing was really damaged?
      Dear Austin: It’s up to the police to decide if they are going to ask your local prosecutor to file charges. Depending on the laws in your state and the exact facts regarding what happened, they may be able to charge you with disorderly conduct, mischief and/or trespassing. You’ll have to wait and see. By the way, Miranda only applies to cases where a person is in custody of the police. Since you weren’t arrested or taken into custody, the police weren’t obligated to read you your rights. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • gerald alexander meraz
      Tue, 24 Jul 2012 at 10:42

      So I’m 14 lving in iowa and my friend was leaving another friends house, so I jumped onto his hood, as I did so my friend floored the gass and I jumped off, after so his windshield was cracked, his parents later showed up asking for my number and address, so I gave it too them, later my mom calls and says there are cops at my house, are there any charges that can be pressed, and who will end up paying? Shoudnlt it be split since my friend hit the gas as I was on it?
      Dear Gerald: Since, according to your version of the incident, the damage was caused by the two of you, it’s not unreasonable for the costs to be split. You could be charged with reckless behavior or property damage. It depends on the laws where you live. Reaching an agreement about the damage would be better than going to court to settle this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kyrah r.
      Sat, 28 Jul 2012 at 01:08

      I accidently hit the Kmart door and it detached everything fine just detached and I was looking then I saw it and left because I didn’t know what to do.. So I left I’m 12 and don’t need trouble so please tell me
      Am I going to get introuble. Help ..
      Dear Kyrah: You don’t have to worry if this was an accident. Plus, if the store doesn’t know your name or contact information, you shouldn’t hear from them. If you do, tell your parents and together you can get this straightened out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lisa
      Sat, 04 Aug 2012 at 08:08

      My 9 year old son was throwing rocks behind a tree at summercamp after he got tagged out of dodge ball. He threw eight rocks one after each other and the eighth rock hit the roof of a parked car and shattered other car windsheild. I quess the rock bounced off the first car since I only seen one rock over there. The camp director had the owners of the cars (camp counselors)to file a police report. I feel the camp should be responsible since he was under their supervision. Two hours after disputing with the camp director about who is finacially responsible I got a called that my son is suspended from the program. First incident at camp. First question am Im responsible and second was my son discriminated against because of my actions? He was throwing the rocks at a fence. No other children around. A counselor should have stopped him after the second rock was thrown, benefit of doubt third rock. NO one was supervising him. New York State
      Dear Lisa: Your responsibility depends on your state’s parental responsibility laws. These laws hold parents responsible for the torts of their children. Try Googling “New York parental responsibility law” for the specific law in your state. It sounds like your son was kicked out of the camp for his actions and not necessarily yours. However, if you want to dispute the camp’s decision or who should pay for the damage, you may want to contact an attorney in your area who handles civil matters. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Matt
      Sun, 05 Aug 2012 at 06:03

      I have some rural property that was vandalized. The property is fenced and the gate was chained close. The violators loosened the gate hinges in order to open the gate and I assume get a vehicle inside based on the amount of my property that was stolen. They positioned the gate back in it’s correct position, but able to be opened quickly and easily. My guess is they took the time to reposition the gate because they will be back for more and didn’t want passing vehicles to notice something wrong. I visit the property regularly and have to assume they can show up when I’m there. If this happens and I disable their vehicle (this could involve permanent damage) so that they could only leave on foot following a stiff warning, Could I be charged with vandalism to their property even though they are trespassing on mine?
      Dear Matt: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teenagers and the law. You should contact the police to make a report of the incident and you could ask them about disabling the trespassers’ vehicle. Chances are that even though the trespassers are breaking the law, you could be charged if you damage their vehicle. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Cellie
      Sat, 18 Aug 2012 at 06:17

      me and my friend were out front cleaning something and before we were at the park and we wrote something on a wood fence saying “mason likes men” they were laughing (mason and kane) and kanes mom came to my house and screamed at me and said iv been harassing her kids for a while and said she could call the cops even tho i havent been harrassing them and earlyer that day we have been helping her kids while they were getting bullied. she called my grandma and started screaming at her saying iv been in gangs and everything. what should we do?
      Dear Cellie: Rather than add fuel to the fire, it might be best to ignore this lady and don’t do anything further to irritate her. Disagreements can get out of hand leading to police involvement and possible charges. The higher road calls for self-discipline and not giving the other side the satisfaction of knowing they got the best of you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Abbi
      Sun, 02 Sep 2012 at 06:11

      Over the summer my daughters, 14 & 15, walked over to a friends (14) house in the adjoining neighborhood. Technically, unsupervised; we knew where the girls were going but didn’t know if they were going to be under parental supervision while over there. Now a group of three girls and quickly getting bored, the friend suggested riding a go-cart that her neighbor had. My girls said “sure.” They all three went next door and asked the neighbor child if they could ride the go-cart. The neighbor child (12 years old) said that would be ok b/c her uncle was inside. She gave them the keys. Now all 4 girls were riding the go-cart on the owners property. It wasn’t long before the go-cart gets rolled over and damaged. My 15 year old was the one who was driving.
      After I heard of the incident, my husband and I went over to their house to find out what had happened. We immediately offered to pay for damages. The owner said he was going to get an estimate the next day. The estimate we received was for $1054 in damages to a go-cart! We had also been made aware that this was not the first time the go-cart was wrecked. We immediately tried to settle and offered $500 based on the fact that there were several parties involved. They would not accept our offer. We even spoke with the parents of our girls friend who also stated that they would pitch in $250. They still would not accept this stating that our daughter was the only responsible party. Now they are threatening to take us to small claims court and file criminal charges on my daughters.
      I initially was willing to pay for charges but did not think they would have been any more than $300-$400. I get a bill on a go-cart for over $1000. The girls weren’t acting maliciously and didn’t leave the property. Whats going to happen if they take us to court? What rights do I have?
      Dear Abbi: If they end up filing a claim in small claims court, they may quickly find out that it’s not worth their time or money in doing so as there are filing fees and depending on your state’s laws, they may not be able to collect the $1000 from you as they intend. First, you may want to look into your state’s parental responsibility law, which holds parents liable for the torts or damages caused by their children. Google the name of your state and “parental responsibility law.” Next, you may want to see if you can get your own estimate for the damage. Finally, you may want to contact a local attorney who handles matters in small claims court and get some advice based on the laws in your state. The parents cannot “file criminal charges” on your children as they claimed they would do. The most they can do is make a complaint to the police who may then want to speak with you and your kids. The police could also say that it’s more of a civil matter. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Akaiya
      Wed, 12 Sep 2012 at 03:06

      My sons father threw a bottle at my car on a busy street, my boyfriend was driving and it startled us and he hit the curb. m sons father ran off. and we were stuck with a flat tire, my alloy was scratched up and i had two dents behind my side view mirror and my sideskirt was popped out a bit. I made a report and had him arrested.He has a court date. Cops never gave me any paperwork. Also what will happen at this court appearance? I got an estimate and it came to 1800.00? this will be his first offense ever. its really sad that i have to do this to him but my car is new only had it for a month in a half. Will he be required to fix my car
      Dear Akaiya: AsktheJudge.info is an education site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      Since this incident is now in court, talk with the victim advocate from the prosecutor’s office about asking for restitution for the damage to your car. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alicia
      Sat, 15 Sep 2012 at 04:00

      I have this chair thpat was given to me by a family member, this child that has a history of breaking other peoples property. I seen him break my chair. I witnessed him breaking it. I yell to him say im going to tell ur mom. They cussed at me. So there is no one watching the boy and his friends the police came by and did nothing. What should i do?
      Dear Alicia: Tell your parent what happened. If you’re under 18, they can speak to his parents for you and hopefully work this out. If you’re an adult, talk with the boy and/or his parents and see if they’ll admit what happened and pay for the repairs. As a last resort, you can consider going to what’s called small claims court where you live if it’s worth the time, effort and expense. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Karen
      Wed, 26 Sep 2012 at 02:13

      Hello, I live in NY. My son used his friends Quad with permission, while he was in the company of his friend (the owner of the quad). His friend rode the quad for 2 more days after my son did and now is saying my son broke it because he stalled it and that now he didn’t give him permission to ride it at all. The mother is expecting me to pay to get it fixed. It’s not a new quad, its 5 years old and was bought used. Am I responsible for paying to get this fixed?
      Dear Karen: Depending on the exact circumstances of the incident, you may be responsible for the damage & repairs. Parents, under state laws, are held responsible for the acts of their minor children. If you can’t work this out, she may take this to small claims court. If that happens, we suggest you speak with a lawyer for advice. AsktheJudge.info does not provide legal advice to adults or teens. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joyce
      Mon, 08 Oct 2012 at 06:43

      My brand new home had holes put in the wall, door knocked off the frame, trim work around the door ripped loose, the door itself has to be replaced. The person who did this the cops released to his mother and we were told we would be notified of the court date and never were. This person returned after being told by the Sheriff to not trepass on the property again. The last time this teenager came on our property he ended up hitting a 4 month old infant, was screaming threats of burning our home down when his uncle gets out of the state pen, pounded on the side of my home yelling and screaming, and had to be restrained to prevent more harm coming to the child until the Sheriff arrived, the Sheriff then released this teenager to his mother and when we went to the Sheriff office to find out why nothing was done to him, we were told we had to goto the juvinile division Tuesday. My question is this, what can be done by us to get compensation for the damages to our home and to keep this teenager off our property. What are our rights where this deliquent is concerned? What can we ask the state of Ohio to do when we goto the Juvinile Division tomorrow?
      Dear Joyce: It sounds like charges have been filed in juvenile court in which case restitution to you as the homeowners will likely be part of any plea offer. When you go to court, talk to the prosecutor handling the case. Explain that you want to be compensated and bring proof of the cost of any repairs or estimates if you have it. Part of the minor’s probation will likely be to pay you back and stay off your property of course. However, you could also talk to the prosecutor about whether or not you should petition for an order of protection against the kid. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Aimee Werley
      Tue, 09 Oct 2012 at 10:21

      OKay, so my daughter hates her dad so much because he is trying to ruin her brothers life by lying to the police and saying he tried to kill him and that he made terroistic threats. He didn’t. Her father was also never there for her growing up and she has so much anger in her now because of that. She is 13. While i was at work she went to the store and bought spray paint and went over to his house and spray painted his whole car with different colors. She also slashed his tires and egged it. What trouble do you think she is going to get it? I son’t know what her father thinks. I don’t talk to him because he is very abusive and has tried to kill me numberous times. He hasn’t seen her in 5 months. The last time was when she said “F*** off” to him. I had no clue she was thinking of doing this untilher brother tol me. I guess her father told him, because my son is in prison right now because of the lies their father told. She won’t admit to it either because she doesn’t want to get in trouble.
      Dear Aimee: Assuming your daughter’s father reports the incident to the police, they will follow up with an investigation and probably will want to talk with her. Depending on the facts and the evidence, the prosecutor’s office may then file charges in juvenile court. If this is her first time in trouble with the law, she may be facing probation with community service, counseling and have to pay for the damage/repairs. It seems like counseling may be a good idea no matter what happens since you mentioned your daughter has so much anger. Good luck to you and your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Cheyenne
      Sat, 13 Oct 2012 at 01:25

      I live in Escondido CA. and my friend was caught tagging on a wall while i was with him. We were both arrested and are both being sent to court. They had 2 pictures of a tag that they think I had done a long time ago. I took the blame for the 2 that they think I had done and he took the blame for more. Were only 16. What do you think will happen in court for the both of us? BTW it’s our first and they don’t have any pictures of us that we did any of it. Can they do something to me even when I wasn’t doing anything?
      Dear Cheyenne: Since you took responsibility for two of the tags, you may be charged for those offenses. You may be offered a diversion program and given the chance of avoiding a record since this is your first offense. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are and the possible consequences. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jose torres
      Mon, 15 Oct 2012 at 10:33

      While i was on the job at dominos pizza a customer was waiting outside for her order so i was kind enough to take it outside to her. when i handed her the pizza her bike just happen to fall on its side and i helped her pick ot up since she was holding her order. i appologized that her bicycle fell and i went back inside since it was busy. Minutes later she comes back and sais that i dropped her brand new bike which costs around 300 dollars and that she wants us (dominos) to pay for it. there was a camera recording that night and the angle of the camera is behind me, is there a chance that we might end up paying for her bike even though i did not drop it but the camera might seem like i did?
      Dear Jose: As you know, anything is possible. The video may help resolve this one way or the other. Your boss may want to reach an agreement with the customer rather than risk her filing a claim or a lawsuit. Everything depends on exactly what happened, the truthfulness of both of you and willingness to settle. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kylie
      Wed, 24 Oct 2012 at 05:41

      My ex was trying to get me to answer my door when we were fighting, so he went around back and was banging on my window and it broke. What kinda charges would he be facing and would there be jail time or would he just have to pay for the damages? If it helps we live in Oklahoma City, OK.
      Dear Kylie: If it was an accident when the window broke, he may not have committed a crime. If you report this to the police, they will assess the situation and determine whether to issue a citation or submit this to the prosecutor or not. Simply paying for the damage should resolve this now without the involvement of the judicial system. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nat
      Wed, 24 Oct 2012 at 08:20

      There were three of us with laptops on a kitchen table. I was not aware of the glass of water that was directly behind my laptop and it was out of my view. I turned my laptop so one person could see what was on the screen. It knocked the water over and the water spilled across the table and hit another persons laptop. He is trying to sue me for this. I don’t feel this is my fault. Does he have grounds?
      Dear Nat: This was obviously an accident that should be worked out without a lawsuit or anyone going to court. If you were responsible for damage to his laptop, you should pay for the repairs or replacement. Otherwise, if you lose in court, you may also be required to pay his court costs (filing fees, etc.) and your own. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lavonda
      Fri, 26 Oct 2012 at 09:59

      My husband and I have been married for 6 years and were looking into seperating. My husband says that he will smash and destroy all our electronics and he will not allow me to take anything that I did not have before the marriage including clothes shoes jewelry ect…… is he allowed to do that? Also if he does is he obligated to pay for those items damaged?
      Dear Lavonda: This website is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      We suggest you speak with a lawyer who specializes in divorce or family law. He/she will be able to advise you about your rights in this regard. Many courts across the country offer free legal advice to the public in family law cases. Contact your local court and ask about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jacob
      Mon, 29 Oct 2012 at 02:52

      Hey i threw a cartot at a car i ran but kid got out and said the car stopped working but i just threw it at window. He let me go but if theres real damage and he found out my name or saw me again what would happen to me i dont wanna get in trouble im sorry it was dumb im gonna pray about it. Thank you judge
      Dear Jacob: It sounds like you got lucky this time. We hope you learned from this as you should not throw anything at a car – not only could it cause damage, but more importantly it could cause an accident and hurt someone. If he got your contact information, he could report it to the police and then charges could be filed. But this is very unlikely since he already checked out his car and let you go. Plus, it does not sound like he got your contact info. Even if he reported it to the police, they would have to investigate the matter and the prosecutor’s office would have to decide whether or not to file charges. Since the police were not called to the scene when the incident occurred, it’s unlikely that charges would be filed.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • cecilia devia
      Wed, 07 Nov 2012 at 09:52

      Dear Judge Tom, my daughter accidentally cracked her classroom window..after lunch all the kids throw their lunch bags on the ground next to the classroom..unfortunately, hers hit the window and apparently cracked it. We meet with the principal, my daughter apologized and everyone knew it was not intentional at all..by the way she is in fourth grade. My daughter happily agreed to do “community” servic around school as a consequence. Now I get an email that “typically” the school as the parents to pick up the tab for this type of damage. Shouldn’t public school insurance pay for this? Secondly, we already agreed on how we would pay back.. the money they are asking would be a harship on my family. What should we do?

      Thank you for your help.
      Dear Cecilia: Ask for a meeting with the principal so you can further discuss and let him/her know what you have said here – you all already agreed to community service and that it would be financially difficult for your family to pay at this time. Who is responsible for the damage would depend on your state’s laws as well as the school’s insurance policy. You would have to check with them to see whether or not this type of damage is covered. Keep in mind that there are parental responsibility laws in every state which hold parents responsible for damage caused by their kids. If a meeting with the principal does not resolve the issue, then you could seek additional help/advice from an attorney in your area who handles school/education law. Many attorneys offer a free initial consulation. Good luck to you and your family. Please help us help more teens by voting for AsktheJudge to win a FedEx small business grant!
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Noemi
      Thu, 08 Nov 2012 at 08:31

      My 13-year-old nephew, whom I have legal guardianship of was questioned [more like harassed] by a city police officer on school grounds for wearing a U.S. Postal Services sticker on his shirt [a silly fad at the time]. Apparently, these same stickers had been seen stuck on school property. The police officer threatened to put him in jail or cite him for having “stolen property” in his possession [these stickers are available from any U.S. Post Office]. She also called him a liar repeatedly because he didn’t know the last name of the friend who had given him the sticker. Did the Police Officer abuse his power or authority and can this line of questioning be considered harassment? Thank you.
      Dear Noemi: We’re sorry this happened to your nephew. You would need to look to the police department’s rules and policies concerning contacts with minors and/or the laws to see whether the incident constituted harassment. Since you have concerns about the way in which he was questioned, you could make a complaint to the department, so there’s documentation about the particular officer. Her supervisor should know about any inappropriate questioning techniques. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.) Please help us help more teens by voting for AsktheJudge to win a FedEx small business grant!

    • Sam
      Wed, 28 Nov 2012 at 02:42

      I was at a party in someones house while they were out of town and a lot of damage(in the tens of thousands) occurred. They expect the full ammount of damages from me because their son wasn’t there even though I’m a minor and their son wanted the party to go on. Is my family covered by the parental liability act or can they go after a minor for all damages. They are claiming its vandalism if that makes a difference.
      Dear Sam: You have to take a look at your state’s Parent Responsibility Law. Most states have these and some set a maximum limit such $10,000 or $25,000. If the other boy gave permission for the party while his folks were gone, he may share in the duty to repay his parents for the damage. This is something the parents involved will have to figure out, with the help of what laws exist, insurance limits and other applicable laws. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Zane
      Sat, 01 Dec 2012 at 11:02

      When I moved away from home for college, my younger sister started driving herself to school. Since she started in August, a group of kids (their identities are not certain but we have a good idea since it is a very small school) has been drawing obscene pictures in the dirt caked on my sisters pickup. Other acts include spitting the juice from chewed tobacco on any items left in the bed. I have been doing research and from what I found this is technically considered vandalism, is this true? And if so what can we do?
      Dear Zane: It’s going to depend on the specific laws in your state, but it definitely may be considered vandalism. Your sister and your parents should report the incidents to the police so that a report can be made and they can conduct any follow up investigation. It’s possible that these kids are doing the same thing to others’ cars/property and that complaints have already been made. Your sister could also complain to the principal or other school administrators since it sounds like the incidents are happening at school. Good luck to your sister.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sonia
      Mon, 03 Dec 2012 at 03:43

      Hi my name is Sonia on thanksgiving my 7 year old was playing with a boy outside my Apt I was outside putting lights when my young child ask me something to drink I went inside then I seem their homework and I told my youngest to go get he’s brother like 2 Minutes later my boys come in crying and scared and this guy came saying my boy and the other boy where Throwing their bikes to cars and he said if their scratches on he’s Neighbor or he’s car he was coming to me they called office and cops telling them I was not outside then they came over to charge me for a scratch the guy Neighbor car I told them I was outside but I came inside but I told them why they just asking me when their was a other child doing it too. So we went to talk to the other parents but they saying no it was not their child now the guy who seen the boys is saying that he remember is a white bike that is my son so I told them I pay but now I’m having Second thought that it not Okay me paying when there was a other child Involved that it not my Responsibility and my child keep telling me it was not him.. What should I do? Should I call cops or Wait until the people come to charge me again?
      Dear Sonia: This website is for teenagers and it’s about laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you speak with a local lawyer about your responsibilities as a parent of a minor child. There may be some liability on your part if your child is at fault. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • TiChi
      Tue, 04 Dec 2012 at 08:45

      Ok! So like you have some good things on here but dont have what im looking for :( . So like something need to change on here because you dont have enought info. so change it before i not use this website anymore
      So like if you could be specific as to what you’d like to see on this site, we’ll be happy to consider your requests. Thanks.

    • Diana
      Fri, 07 Dec 2012 at 04:19

      I have an upstairs neighbor who has been harassing me for 12 years. The dwelling is a condo building and we are both owners of the condos that we live in. The harassment started simply as making early morning (6AM) or late night noise. The R & R’s of the condo association do not address and ‘quiet time hours’ or anything to do with disturbances of this nature. When this started I would let a few times go by and then knock on the couple’s door requesting that they not do whatever it is they were doing. The noise was not illegal but rather inconsiderate, such as running the washing machine or dish washer or vacuum. I repeatedly approached them in a civilized, friendly manner and they were very accomodating face to face but it did not change the behavior. After many years I notified the building manager and he spoke to them requesting a quiet time period from 10PM to 10AM. Things got worse with the noises now being intentional rather than just machine related. Examples: pounding the floor, slamming doors, bureaus, in addition to 6AM disturbances they now came in the middle of the night. After 10 years of this I finally stopped being as quiet as I could and responded in kind. The male party came pounding at my door, screaming at me. I told him several times to calm down and we should talk at some point but not in his current stage. I closed the door and he kept on screaming. Eventually he went away. The board of directors were notified and submitted a ‘courtesy request’ for quiet time ending at 8AM. From that point every morning at 6:30AM the male party would run the washing machine along with pounding and dropping heavy objects on the floor. This continued for 9 mos. The washing machine stopped at the early morning but now in the middle of the night loud noises (not illegal) were waking me up. In the earlier years, I did nothing but talk to them requesting a change. As the years progressed I pounding on the ceiling. I stopped pounding on the ceiling once I understood that even though I was responding to being harassed, my actions were also harassment. The middle of the night, early morning, late evening harassment continued with stomping, pounding, slamming, etc. At one point I pounded my walls in response and the male party was pounding on my door. I did not open the door but told him to stop all the early morning activity that has been waking me up. He started to say something and I cut him off repeatedly saying go away. This past week in response to more noise, I made my own noise and he came downstairs pounding on my door; I ignored him. He kept pounding on my door. The next day I went out and noticed a gouge in my door about the size of a quarter along with knicks all around the area of the gouge. It was apparent he has used an object to do this. I called the police. Gave them much the same history spelled out here and they told me that since I did not actually witness him in the act, there was nothing they or I could do. The very next morning the same pounding, stomping continued and I ignored it until it stopped at 9AM. What I did not know at the time was the Officer I had spoken with the day before was knocking at their door at approximately 9AM. The Officer interviewed the male party and he admitted that he went downstairs with a rock in his hand and that is what had caused the gauge and the knicks. The Officer called me later that afternoon and informed me of this and also said that the male party had put his own spin on it. The Officer also inspected the damage. But the Officer informed me that there was nothing I could do. And he filed his report and that was the end as far as he was concerned. I asked him what the male party said and he just said he had his own spin. I asked him what time of day did he visit him and he said he did not know. I told him about the yet again early morning pounding. He said he would file a report; end of story. Not being satisfied, I called his supervisor and his supervisor was going to talk to him. The supervisor did check the log for the day and told me that the Officer had indeed arrived at approx 9AM.(Sorry for the long narrative) What I want to know is why the police can decide not to proceed with charges even after the party as admitted doing this. Needless to say I am exhausted after 12 year of this and now exasperated that the police are condoning his actions by not filing charges. What are my rights here? Why can the police decide and why after a albiet, VERY VERY MINISCULE crime has been committed is there no recourse. I am also fearful of the male neighbor’s anger.
      Dear Diana: This website is an educational resource for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      You can speak with a local lawyer about your alternatives here or, if the harassment continues, seek a restraining order from a court that may mandate a quiet time that both of you would have to follow. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer to request a restraining order. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Susie
      Sat, 08 Dec 2012 at 10:54

      Yesterday I was carrying a large stack of laundry back to my room when my roommate talked to me I turned and the laundry bumped her full cup that she had set on the corner of our shelf. Water spilt onto the floor where she had thrown her bag, containing her digital camera thrown loose into the front pocket. The only damage it to the camera which will no longer stay on for long. She is demanding I replace it with a new one, and though I offered have it fixed or pay her some money, she wants to go through a more expensive company and me to replace it with a specific one. is this fair to me?
      Dear Susie: Accidents happen all the time and it’s best if these types of matters can be worked out between the parties. Worse case scenario if she took the matter to court and filed a claim against you, it probably would not be worth her time or money (filing fees) and she may not prevail. You’re on the right track by offering to pay part of the cost and helping her out. Perhaps you could contact a store to find out the cost for repair and tell her that you’re willing to take it there for her and get it fixed. Maybe if you’re willing to do the legwork to get it fixed, she’ll take you up on your offer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jon bardock
      Mon, 10 Dec 2012 at 07:51

      So say a 14yr old 9th grader blocked the path of a 6th grade on the bus and the 6th grader bumped through the 9th graders arms then lost balance for a moment catching themselves and sitting down to accuse the 9th grader of cracking their Ipod touch screen would they be able to take legal action or request that the 9th grader pay for it?
      Dear Jon: The situation has to be looked at to see who is to blame for the damaged iPod. If both acted together resulting in the damage, then the blame is shared and it wouldn’t be worth taking legal action. The cost of going to court (filing fees, surcharges, etc.) may be more than replacing the iPod. Try to resolve this outside of the legal system. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lorry brown
      Mon, 17 Dec 2012 at 06:35

      My mom and I both live in the same house and I’m 18. We had a fight last night and I broke her phone because that was the only way I could get her hands from pulling my hair i haven’t touched her up until now she has insurance so I’m guessing she’s covered and its value is about 50 bucks. During the fight she damaged my laptop intentionally and out of spite I got it as a gift from my grandparents it cost over $500 can i press charges against her? I need information as to how I can get back my laptop because she has no intentions of paying and she is going away for the holidays soon
      Dear Lorry: Sorry to hear about this situation with your mother. The best way to handle this is to let some time pass without further argument and then calmly discuss this with her. Wait a few days before bringing it up. Hopefully you can work things out. You may not get anywhere by reporting this to the police since it’s your word against hers. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andrew
      Mon, 17 Dec 2012 at 03:16

      I am 15 and I shot out windows 2 years ago, I was wondering if he knew it was me and never told the police am I still able to get punished for shooting out the windows. It was an old excavator that the dude was never going to use ever again since it had more rust on it then paint and had weeds knee high surrounding it. I’m not using that as an excuse, I know what I did was wrong, but I’m just worried because he was our homeowner and he is holding our last months rent, even though we didn’t stay for that month. So he now he is like.. “Oh yea I’m not giving it back since I’m STILL getting estimates for the window and it could cost thousands”. I am wondering if he can still hold our money after 2 years. We are in Michigan. Also we are more then likely going to court.
      Dear Andrew: Most crimes, including criminal damage which is what you’re involved with here, have what is called a “statute of limitations” (S/L). This is a period of time that law enforcement has to file formal charges against someone. Some crimes carry a one-year S/L while more serious crimes have longer periods. Murder and treason, for example, have no S/L. Those charges can be filed anytime after the incident. The S/L may also depend on the value of the property damage. Each state has its own laws in this regard. You can ask a local criminal defense lawyer about this to see where you stand. Or Google the name of your state and “property damage statute of limitations.” Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tabithareed kimmel
      Sat, 22 Dec 2012 at 10:40

      Dear Judge Tom,
      My son, who is 15, and his friends broke a neighbors window while throwing eggs, and when they heard the breaking of the glass they ran back to the home they were spending the night at. The neighbor called the police and the boys confessed to breaking the window. If this happen to my home and property I too would have called the police.

      I raised my son to respect others property. My sons action has disappointed me nd my son is being punished (grounded) and paying for the window with chores at home and when he does retain employment he will repay the loan we are making to him.

      The boys has aplogized to the neighbor and cleaned up the egg mess. The police is
      now stating my sonwho has never been in trouble before is receiving a fine and a summons. The police stated it will be the judges decision. Is this happening because the neighbor is pressing charges? My son is a good child and has never been in trouble before. He is an honor roll student and I do not want this to affect his background/record. Please advise the best actions I need to take. Should I contact a lawyer?

      Thank you
      Tabitha
      Dear Tabitha: Since your son has never been in trouble before, there is a good chance that he will be offered a diversion program. This means that upon successful completion of community service and payment of a fine, the charges would be dismissed. Therefore, your son would not have a record for the incident. Even though your neighbor made the initial complaint, it’s ultimately up to the police and prosecutor’s office to decide whether or not to file charges. You will find out more when you go to your son’s court date including what options he has. You can always decide after that initial court date if you want to hire an attorney. Good luck to your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Trevor Johnson
      Sun, 23 Dec 2012 at 08:37

      I was walking on the side of this big hill (it’s more like a cliff though) and i slipped on this pretty good size rock and it rolled down the hill and hit a car. It left a big dent in the side of the car. the driver of the car called the cops. I told the cop what happeded but i found out later that the cop thought i said that i kicked the rock. my mom said that there’s going to be a court hearing and that i might have a record of criminal mischief even though it was an accident. i am 15 and i live in PA and i dont have any record of doing anything. what is going to happen? will they think i changed my story because the cop wrote down that i kicked the rock? will i have it on my record for life and will it effect me getting into any collage?
      Dear Trevor: If you have to go to court over the matter, just be honest and tell the judge what happened. You may meet with a probation officer instead of a judge. If you’ve never been in trouble before, you may be offered a diversion program and given the opportunity of avoiding a record as long as you successfully complete the program. It’s unlikely that this incident will affect your college application process and educational opportunities. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Robert Tremel
      Sun, 30 Dec 2012 at 02:14

      Hi,

      My name is Robert, I’m 17 and trying to help my sister any advice would be greatly appreciated by us both.

      My 16 year old sister was arrested for vandalism because another teen (18) made a affidavit stating she was the one who committed the crime. My sister is in no way a trouble maker. She believe that because she was at one time friends with the kid who made the affidavit and their friendship breakup was not the best, that he is doing this to spite her. Now the girls car that got vandalized just happens to be the kid who made the affidavit, we believe they are just trying to get money from our parents. The affidavit is the only proof of this so called crime my sister did. She was arrested by the police just for the affidavit alone, and now will be in the paper, can they do that? Could we go after the person making up these lies, for defimation of character?
      Dear Robert: Your sister will have a chance to defend herself against these criminal damage charges. She should explain to her lawyer everything that happened in the past with this friend. Once the court hears the facts, a decision will be made. If your sister is acquitted, she can discuss with her lawyer her remedies against that person as far as her reputation or other personal losses in defending herself. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lee ann sanchez
      Sun, 30 Dec 2012 at 08:57

      my son is dating a girl that has an exboyfriend and a child with him. her ex is not happy with them dating. her ex decided to use her truck and hit my sons truck and took off ,my son saw him. a week later my son was visiting her came out of the house and his tires were slashed and his windshield and back window were shattered. He did not see him this time. The police were called and we are waiting for what ever they plan to do to him. The ex has also called and threatened him as well. my question is can he sue the man for damanges? it is his girlfriends truck that he used to hit my sons truck with.also what can the ex be charged with? we are waiting for the police to find him, I don’t know what they are gonna charge him with either. we live in texas
      Dear Lee Ann: Yes, your son can file a civil suit and sue for damages, but since the police are investigating the matter, there is a good chance that criminal charges will be filed. If charges are filed, then restitution to your son (payment for the damages caused) will most likely be part of any plea offer and/or resolution of the case. Any possible charges will depend on the specific laws in your state, but criminal damage, vandalism, hit and run are all possibilities. Your son should follow up with the police to find out whether or not charges are going to be filed. Good luck to your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • John Smith
      Wed, 02 Jan 2013 at 08:57

      Hey, If a group of guys came round to my flat for a night out, and there are 5-6 of us,2 of them are my best mates the others are just friends coming for a good night, we come back after the night out, and me and my 2 best mates go to sleep in my flat, the others sleep in the kitchen, and then a week later we find out that the other peoples rooms have been damaged, with graffiti and the kitchen was left in a mess. I am not legally representable for them as i did nothing and they chose to vandalise someone else’s property
      Dear John: That depends on the rental or lease agreement you signed when you took the flat. Take a look at your contract regarding your responsibility in taking care of the property. You may be held responsible since it’s your decision to allow others to be there and spend the night. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Charles Rivera
      Wed, 02 Jan 2013 at 05:51

      Hello sir,
      Somebody stole my cellphone inside my car, they broke the driver side of my car’s window in stealing my phone. Will the insurance company consider it as a theft or vandalism? Thank you
      Dear Charles: It depends on the terms of your contract with the cell phone service provider. It should be a theft although your car was vandalized as a means of getting to your phone. If you’re talking about your auto insurance, they may consider it an act of vandalism that led to the loss of your phone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Josh huber
      Tue, 22 Jan 2013 at 10:45

      Hi. Me and my neighbors driveways are right next to each other and are deprecated by a strip of grass about a foot long. The neibor claims that the grass is his. He has told us in the past not to shovel snow on the strip. I recently shoveled the snow on the grass and a little bit went on his driveway. He came out screaming and yelling taking pictures and videos of the grass and me saying he is calling the police etc.. Does he have anything and is it considered vandalism?
      Dear Josh: We suggest you take a look at your ownership documents when you purchased the property. There should be a “legal description” that you can refer to in determining the exact property lines. You can also go down to your local assessor’s office and ask them for the legal description of the property. As far as vandalism, you have to refer to the definition of such in your state. It may be trespassing as opposed to vandalism which usually means destroying another’s property. Throwing snow on someone’s land doesn’t usually cause any damage. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • AJ Patterson
      Thu, 24 Jan 2013 at 07:02

      I have a friend that came over to my house. I have a shelf with some pellet guns for display. Well when he came in my room he picked up the pistol, pulled the trigger( the safety was on and a Co2 cartridge was in it from last use), and hit my 40″ flat screen TV. His parents refuse to pay us any money until he admits it and he wont. So I was wondering if Me and my mom could take him to small claims court to receive reimbursement for it? He is 15 yrs. old and we live in the state of Florida.
      Dear AJ: Yes, you can file a claim for reimbursement in small claims court, but you may need to file against your friend’s parents. Every state has “parental responsibility laws” which hold parents responsible for the torts or property damage caused by their children. Check out this document for more information about it, the laws in your state as well as whether there are any limits to the parents’ liability in your state. Perhaps if your friend’s parents were aware of this and willing to discuss the matter with you and your Mom, they would be willing to pay for the damage rather than having to go to court over the issue. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • carolyn
      Wed, 06 Feb 2013 at 07:04

      I have a 17 year old son that damaged another kids truck, $1200 worth of damaged and was charged with vandalism. He has not lived in my home for almost 6 months. He has lived with his 21 year old brother. Will i be respponsible to pay this? I never got called when he was arrested. I would have known nothing about it had the owner of the truck not called me asking for the money.
      Dear Carolyn: You would have to look to the parental responsibility laws in your state, which hold parents responsible for the damage caused by their children. Since he’s been charged with vandalism, restitution (the money he owes for the damage) will probably be part of his case and sentence. Try Googling the name of your state and “parental responsibility law” to find the law in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brandon
      Mon, 11 Feb 2013 at 05:37

      Last night, while intoxicated, I broke the glass door to a bar. I wasn’t arrested, but I did get an “Uniform Complaint and Notice to Appear” for criminal damage to property. Until now, I had no record of criminal activity whatsoever. I had been back from Afghanistan for only 4 days and it was my first night drinking since before the deployment. I have talked to the owner and he isn’t disgruntled with me at all. I will meet him this week to pay for the damages and he said he would call the court house to tell them I have paid restitution as well as give me the invoice to take with me as proof. I do have to go to court though on February 28th. What do you think will happen to me? Should I plead guilty, not guilty, what? Do I need to get an attorney for this?
      Dear Brandon: First, thanks for your service and welcome home. We can’t give you legal advice since we are an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you take the invoice from the bar owner with you to court. Since this is your first offense, you may get lucky and be offered what’s called “diversion.” That means when you complete some community service, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record to follow you around. If you’re under 21, stay away from alcohol & non-prescription drugs – diversion is meant for first-time offenders, not repeat offenders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jennifer
      Tue, 26 Feb 2013 at 04:06

      My 14 yr old son was asked to do something that ended up in some damage to another persons belongings. Specifically – another boy – also 14 – took a soda for a young lady sitting nearby while she had stepped away from her things at school.He then asked my son to replace it by putting it in her purse. My son did so not thinking anything of it…when he realized the soda could spill, he waited there to tell her but she did not arrived before he needed to get to class. he left and of course she arrived to collect her belongings.Well the obvious happened – soda spilled and he is now being held accountable for not one but two ipods being damaged in her purse.We were told by the school that he would have criminal charges pressed against him if we did not pay for the damages – however the boy that initiated the incident is not being held accountable for any of the damages. Our son did not do this with intent, but we believe the other boy knew exactly what would happen and targeted him to do his dirty work.We agree that our son should have thought it through and made a different decision. we do not dispute that and we agreed to pay for the damages as they are evaluating the cost of the ipods based on their age, use and any physical damage done prior to this incident. Our son is a good boy and never would have sought out to damage another persons items… what we do dispute is the school not holding the child that initiated it responsible for half the damages, let alone having any involvement in it what so ever . what course can we follow to make sure that the second child is being held just as accountable ? we feel it is only fair as he was more involved than our son…he actually planned the entire thing and then used our son – “his friend ” to help him get the job done.And what is to be said for the young lady who walked away from her items – doesn’t she assume some risk of her items being left unattended ?
      Dear Jennifer: Perhaps you could request a meeting with the principal and even the other boy and his parents to discuss the matter. In the alternative, you could try talking with the parents of your son’s “friend” to let them know your son’s version of the story and find out if their son is willing to speak up and take some responsibility. As for the student whose property was damaged, assumption of risk is a possible defense if charges were filed; however, since this was an intentional act even though there was no intent to cause damage, it probably would not hold up in court. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Scott B
      Tue, 26 Feb 2013 at 04:04

      I was at a brithday party and i was riding my fourwheeler and one of my friends cousins car way near me and i did a wheely and fall off the foruwheeler and the fourwheeler hit the car and it did like 150-200$ in damage and we told to guy to come up to my dads work so we can fix it and it the guy do show up can he sue us
      if he dont show up can he sue us because i told him lots of time and he made a day off to come get it fixed
      Dear Scott: It depends on the exact facts of the incident and the laws in your state regarding property damage. If he does sue you, we suggest you talk with a lawyer who practices civil law for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Giovani Herrera
      Mon, 04 Mar 2013 at 09:26

      My brother bought a truck about a month ago while he was in school a guys with no reason what so ever scratch all of one side of the truck with his key while another guy was on the look out to see if someone was coming. But they were caught on camara and the police has the video they said the only thing they can do is arrest them but they cant make them pay for the repairs is that true and what can a do to make them pay for repairs.
      Dear Giovani: Since these guys have been charged with a crime, when they go to court you have a right to ask for what’s called “restitution.” In other words you can ask the court when they are sentenced to order them to pay for the damages. Contact the district attorney where you live and let them know that you’re the victim and you want restitution. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Bruce Cafferty
      Tue, 05 Mar 2013 at 06:13

      Yesterday I got pushed by my friend into a new painted white wall so I put my foot on the wall to stop from hurting myself and the wall had a black foot print on there and the workers cault me and took a picture o me and said I am in a lot of trouble and it was a accident I am 13 and I live in Perth what kind of trouble am I looking at ??
      Dear Bruce: If you are called to the principal’s office, explain exactly what happened. If you didn’t intentionally damage the wall, you shouldn’t be in trouble. If you don’t report who pushed you, the school may require you to repair or pay for repair of the wall. Discuss this with your parents. They should be with you when you talk with the school officials about this. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tom
      Sun, 31 Mar 2013 at 07:55

      I was out with a bunch of friends and we decided to go TP-ing. We hit 2 different houses and one of the house’s parents called the cops the fallowing morning. As far as i am aware there was no damage other than the the toilet paper in the trees and cat food on the driveway (don’t ask me why). The person said that we are being charged with The penal code 594 PC. We are in Missouri. If all i did was through toilet paper am i still at risk for being charged. Would love a fast response. Thank you.
      Dear Tom: It depends on whether or not the property owners press charges and the laws in your state. It’s possible for TP’ing to fall under under one of Missouri’s “tampering” statutes or another similar law. Although charges could be filed for TP’ing in many states, it’s not very common as the property owners usually don’t pursue charges especially if the TP’ers clean up the mess. Perhaps you and your parents could try talking to the owners to see if you and your friends could pay them back for the mess you created by mowing their lawn, doing other yardwork, etc. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • taylor
      Wed, 10 Apr 2013 at 08:11

      Hi, So over the weekend my car was vandalized, I filed a police report and I got 2 estimates at both $9,000. The girls who did it posted a picture on a social media site of them standing on top of my car. I sent everything to the police and said I wanted to press charges. I know it’ll take a few day before I know whats going to happen and when we will go to court, but what im wondering is what usually happens in situations like this?
      Dear Taylor: If there’s strong enough evidence to prosecute the girls, charges will be filed and they could be facing felony charges since the amount of damage is so high. In most cases, plea agreements are worked out between the parties rather than going to trial. Restitution (the amount of money owed to you for the damage) is typically part of a plea agreement when a case is resolved. The prosecutor will keep you notified of the status of the case as well as any offers made to the offenders.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tony
      Wed, 10 Apr 2013 at 08:46

      Hey so I have a 16year old friend in Washington state, and he was cutting across a field of someones yard and got caught by the owner. The owner made him give him his phone number, his address, and took his picture. But he had no intentions of vandalizing their property and was just trying to get home. Would he get in trouble if he did no damage to the property and had no intentions to?
      Dear Tony: Since the owner did not call the police at the time, your friend will probably hear nothing more about the incident. If the property owner wanted to press charges, he would have to contact the police and they would have to investigate and decide if trespassing charges should be filed. Again, it’s unlikely that he will hear anything more since the police were not called at the time and the only offense possibly committed was probably trespassing, which didn’t result in any damage.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • john
      Sat, 13 Apr 2013 at 09:04

      Hi i am a 16 year old who got tagging inside of a school bathroom. they caught me on video walking in and walking out. i got searched after and they found not exactly what was tagged in the bathroom with marker but they found 1200 crossed out and RPD crossed out in the paper on my drawing in my binder. and that was written on the bathroom wall with other stuff and that is why i am bring accused. But they did not find a marker on me. The police sent a file or complain or whatever its called to the district attoney because i crossed them out supposably. i have a clean record and im worried about this going in my permanent record and about what going to happen to me. i denied it was me to the police but i dont want to deny it to the judge because i have a feeling he wont believe it wasnt me and will get mad everytime i deny it. can you give me some advice and let me know what will most likely happen and happen to me please
      Dear John: When you go to court, you may meet with a probation or court officer who will explain the court process as well as your options. Since you have a clean record, you may be offered a diversion program and given the chance of avoiding a record so long as you successfully complete the program. Talk this over with your parents who can help you decide what to do. It sounds like you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes, which is good since some diversion programs require that you admit to the offense. Good luck
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sandy
      Wed, 17 Apr 2013 at 02:00

      My 13 year old daughter has been charged with graffiti for drawing on the bathroom walls of her middle school. The school administrator was “tipped” off to the fact that it may have been my daughter that committed the crime. She called my daughter in and had her take all of the contents of her backpack out. In the backpack were markers and drafts of the drawings which she did in the bathroom. Once presented with this my daughter admitted to doing some of the graffiti in the bathroom. The administrator then had my daughter write a statement to indicate that she had drawn the graffiti. At no point in this was my husband or I contacted to be made aware of what was happening. According to the administrator other people were involved and they were still working to find out who they were. The Middle School has a police officer on site. The police officer took pictures of the graffiti along with my daughter’s written statement and filed a case with the DA. Last week we received a letter from the DA stating that they had the report and would notify us in writing to let us know what action they plan to take. This week on Monday I received a phone call from a probation officer wanting to schedule a time to meet with me and my daughter. I was confused. He said that he had a message from the DA’s office to contact me in regard to my daughter’s case. Essentially the DA is offering a 3 month deferred probation with community service and other provisions provided that we sign a letter indicating that by daughter is guilty.

      I am unemployed and haven’t even checked on an attorney as I was hoping this would just disappear. In your opinion should we just sign the paperwork and get started on her deferred probation or is this a situation where you think an attorney could get the charges dropped on lessened. She is only 13 and has aspirations of being a Veterinarian one day. She is currently participating in a local program to prepare here to be a Vet. Thanks for your time and I appreciate the time you took to read about our situation.
      Dear Sandy: We cannot provide legal advice to anyone – teens or adults. If you want legal advice as to how to proceed and what to do, then you need to contact a local defense attorney who handles juvenile matters. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation consisting of 30-60 minutes. You daughter is being offered a diversion program which typically results in any charges being dismissed or not filed. Therefore, so long as she completes the program successfully, she should not have a record affecting any employment or educational options in her future. When you meet with the probation officer, be sure to attend with your daughter so you can ask these questions and confirm that the deferred probation will result in no criminal record. Good luck to you and your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • mj
      Fri, 19 Apr 2013 at 05:53

      Under Maryland law, can i sue my recently made ex, for the damage of my car window and my rear left tire, after we had a fight? Basically, we were in a physical altercation when eventually as I was trying to leave, he threw something at my window and broke it. He will most likely say I started it by hitting him, even though I weigh only 110 lbs and barely cause damage. Is it smart for me to take him to court for the damage considering the fact that we were BOTH physical?
      Dear MJ: AsktheJudge.info does not provide legal advice to adults or teenagers. We are an educational site for & about teens and the laws that affect them. You may want to talk with a lawyer about your chances of winning in this case under the laws in your state that would apply. Some lawyers provide a brief consultation at no cost and that may be all you need to help decide how to proceed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lacey
      Fri, 26 Apr 2013 at 07:43

      I cut down some bushes of my neighbor. My neighbor was renting the house but I asked permission from him if I could and he said yes. Now the owner of the house is thinking about suing me because I was the one who cut them down. Does she have the right to do that. Or is it the resposiblity of the renter at the time to deal with it because we was the one that said it was ok that I cut them.
      Dear Lacey: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. You need to speak with a property law attorney about this matter. It would be best to resolve the issue outside of court, so perhaps you could try speaking with the owner to reach an agreement such as offering to buy some new bushes for her. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Caleb
      Mon, 29 Apr 2013 at 05:53

      Dear Tom, I am 12 years old. I was going through Google trying to see what may happen if this goes through. I was with my buddies walking home from school. We were throwing coins across the street when i accidentally hit a red truck. The man stopped, i panicked and ran. Once i ran i stopped where he couldn’t get me. He pulled a knife out and said “What the @#$% do you think your doin” then i ran farther. After being scared half to death by his knife pulling i hid. He then found me, cussed me out, and said “I will find you.” What i want to know is will i do time for this, be fined, have the diversion opportunity, and details about how this is could play out. How much time? How much fining? Will i even get in trouble for this because it was unintentional. Please help
      Sincerly,Caleb
      Dear Caleb: First, to keep our site clean we edited one of your words. Now, as far as getting into trouble, since this was an accident and it seems a minor one, you won’t likely get into trouble. If this guy reports you, the police may come to your home for an interview if they know how to contact you. Tell the truth about what happened and that should be the end of it. You might consider telling your parents in advance so they’re not surprised if the police come knocking. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sandra
      Wed, 01 May 2013 at 11:56

      my new boyfreind and 17 yr old son moved into my home in oct 2007, on dec 26. 2007 his dad went to arizona, and left him with me. i just had surgery on dec 22nd and was bed riiden, his son took my keys and took my car without asking me. the next morning my mother took me to the store and noticed the right side of my car had been sideswiped all the way down it. come to find out his son had done it the night before and just parked my carand didnt tell me, i called my insurance and they said i would have to press charges against him. his father informs me he would have everything fixed. im still waiting what should i do?
      Dear Sandra: Askthejudge.info is an education site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you talk with a local lawyer about this. You may be too late to take legal action since over 5 years has passed since you discovered the damage. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • andrew nguyen
      Wed, 01 May 2013 at 02:48

      i play soccer on jv team and in between varsity half’s we r allow to play on the field well the half was about to end so i was dribbling my ball back to the side lines my team mate had took the ball from me and tried to kick it in the goal when i told him not to but he did any ways so i punched him in the arm and told him to quit and i punched him in the arm the next day his mom came up to me and told me that if i did it again she would sue me
      Dear Andrew: We recommend you don’t hit him again. The kid’s mother has put you on notice that she doesn’t approve of your behavior, so don’t continue to hit him. Under the laws in your state, she may be able to seek legal action against you or file a complaint with the police for assaulting her son. Talk with your parents about this. Maybe a meeting could resolve this so both of you can continue in sports without any animosity. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mitzi
      Thu, 02 May 2013 at 01:57

      my daughter was hit by a girl at school and they had a fight my daughter kicked the girls phone but we don’t know if it was broken then or before do I have to pay for it?
      Dear Mitzi: If the girl’s parents choose to press charges or file a complaint against your daughter, she may have to go to court. It would be up to the judge or jury to decide whether or not your daughter is responsible for the damage. It would be best to try to resolve this outside of court. Perhaps you could try talking to the girl’s parents to resolve the matter and work out a compromise. Also, we suggest you consider talking to your daughter about not fighting since assault charges could result in more serious penalties than property damage including a criminal record. Good luck to you and your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • ashley
      Thu, 02 May 2013 at 07:49

      My friend reported that someone put 3 gallons of water in her gas tank. She then drove for 2 days and then to the garage where it was purchased to have it checked out, where they discovered the water. she tried blaming several people for it happening. when she ran out of people to blame she decided that I did it. I told her that I did not do and I told her my where abouts that evening. she didn’t not believe me and harassed me for days. my boyfriend got very upset about it and told her that he would give her the money to fix it so that the drama would stop and she would leave me alone. NO he did not do it either. the total for the shop fees to fix her car was $25 in parts and $358 in labor costs. he agreed to pay that, and she said no “you need to pay for the gas that was ruined, the gas from the loaner car…etc” and he said no. she is now taking him to court. He is 17years of age and was 16 at the time of the incident. she has no physical proof that he did it(he didn’t anyway) or a motive to why he would do it. she then threated to beat me to death and have her father beat my boyfriend senseless. we have witnesses that know where we were, that weer with us that night and witnesses that saw and heard her say these things to us. what do you think will happen? this is his first charge of anything ever and she is 19.
      Dear Ashley: Since this is your boyfriend’s first time having to go to court, the prosecutor may offer him a deal to settle the case. He may be offered diversion, but if that is not an option, then he may be facing probation with community service, a fine/restitution (the money owed for the damage) and attending a class or counseling. However, your boyfriend may want to speak with a defense attorney about his case if one is not appointed to represent him. If he wants to fight the charges and take his case to trial, he will want the witnesses to testify on his behalf. Good luck to you and him.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melad
      Mon, 06 May 2013 at 01:44

      Ok so me and one of my bestfriends got together with two of my old friends that used to go to the same elementary school as me and I havnt seen him for 3 years. We went to this place with old sheds and we didn’t know it was private property because people always start fires in the camp fire places and spray paint on picnic tables. So we got there and my friend goes to the shed and pulls the door even though theres a lock on it. When he pulled on it the lock fell right off and inside was a bunch of bug sprays, spray paint, and lighter fluids. So my other friend gets it and pours some of it in a metal bucket and burns leaves with a lighter that my bestfriend and I had found on a bike trail months ago but never used. He also gets a spray and sprays the fire and it gets bigger. After awhile we wanted to stop the fire so I found this spray that was in a bottle that looked clear and had no smell to it so I thought it was water and I sprayed it in the fire and it kind of worked but then it ran out of fluid. Then we get sand and put it on the fire and it completely goes out. Then my other friend who opened the first shed wanted to open the other sheds so he got a brick and started hitting the lock. After awhile he couldn’t do it so I got the brick and just threw it at the lock. Then he takes the brick back and finally breaks the lock. We find more of the same sprays and axs. So my friend gets and ax and starts blowing up the sprays with the ax. Then the other old friend of mine gets an ax and breaks a picnic table that had spray paint on it already when we got there and he also breaks the last sheds lock but it didnt have anything but toys in it and i did hit the lock with an ax a couple times but my old friend was the one that actually broke it off. Then my bestfriend found some small lightbulbs so we all started throwing some of them at trash cans. Then we went home. We are all minors and I get good grades and I usually don’t do this stuff when I’m with my bestfriends I usually play with and we go to the sheds all the time and we got caught somehow and the damages weren’t even that bad. I just wanted to know what would happen to me and how bad the charges will be and if I just go on probation or get anything else. Thank you!
      Dear Melad: Depending on the evidence gathered by the police against you and your friends, you could be charged with trespassing, property damage, vandalism, etc. It depends on the laws in your state and the prosecutor’s position in this case as well as the victim’s position. You could be placed on probation if you admit what you did or the court finds you guilty of any of these charges. You may be ordered to pay the owner of the property for the damage done, given community service hours to complete or classes to attend. Think twice before doing this again. Any future misconduct could lead to lock-up in juvenile hall or even adult incarceration depending on your age.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Melad
      Tue, 07 May 2013 at 04:34

      Thank you so much and it won’t happen again!
      You bet! Glad to hear it. -ATJ

    • Charlie
      Thu, 09 May 2013 at 01:42

      Me and my mates were playing a prank on a friends car and as a result one of us managed to crack the windscreen by being careless and then admitted responsibility at the time but is now trying to get us to pay for the damage as well. I was wondering by law who should pay the person whose actions caused the damage or everyone?
      Dear Charlie: Who is responsible to pay for the damage is ultimately going to depend on the specific facts and circumstances as well as the laws in your area. If your friend pressed charges in the U.S., then it’s possible that all of you could be charged since you were acting together despite the fact that one person actually caused the damage. It could be considered accomplice liability. Since you and your friends playing the prank admit to damaging the windscreen, it would be best to work out an agreement as to how you are all going to pay for the damage rather than not paying and perhaps risking losing a friend and/or having him take you to court. Perhaps the person directly responsible could pay a little more while the rest of your chip in. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lauren
      Thu, 09 May 2013 at 07:06

      I have a younger brother with special needs who is being accused of damaging a hood of a car in a school parking lot. We are getting mixed stories that he jumped on the hood, jumped onto the tire and that he jumped off the hood of another students car and dented the car’s hood. The school claimed that he would get detention for the act but he never received it. Now the school is claiming there were witnesses to the act and want to charge us $575.00 for the repair of the dent. We have not seen any photos or reports of the incident. The high school claims that there was a police report but I thought police couldn’t write reports on private property. My brother is now 18 so we are no longer legally responsible for his actions. He has autism and does not a have job so he cannot pay for the damage that he is being accused of. We have not been presented any proof that he committed the damage and are worried that the blame is being put on him from someone else’s actions. He tells us that he didn’t do it. The school had a private meeting with him by himself and I believe he became scared and said he did it to leave the principal’s office. The school hasn’t made any type of meetings with our parents about the incident. This is happening in the state of Connecticut.
      Dear Lauren: Your brother and parents may want to request a meeting with the principal to discuss the matter and ask to review any evidence they have against your brother (the police report, etc.). You could also obtain the police report directly from the police department. By the way, it is very common for the police to write reports about incidents that occurred on private property. Also, your parents could try talking with the parents of the student who owns the car to see whether they have any additional information and if the matter can be resolved directly with them. Finally, if the school is not willing to work something out with your family and is not providing the evidence you are asking to review, then your brother and parents should consider consulting with an attorney who handles education law matters. Many attorneys offer a free consultation consisting of 30 or so minutes at which time your parents could receive legal information based on the laws in your state to decide how to proceed. Best of luck to your family.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lisabeth D
      Sat, 11 May 2013 at 05:14

      Me and my ex broke up in october of 2012, and after 2 months of harrassment, he keyed my car in the parking lot of the library. there is video proof and the damage was estimated to be a little more than $700. My ex has been charged with a local charge in will county (ciity of bolingbrook, il). my question is, does he qualify to be charged at a state level in illinois or is he only going to be charged in the town it occured? we have court on may 15th, and im confused about what he will get charged with exactly. also, if i was to take him to small claims court for the damage and money for a rental car, do i have a good chance at winning? thanks, Lisabeth
      Dear Lisabeth: It sounds like your ex is facing charges in your local city court or the county’s justice court. Typically, if the amount of damage exceeds a certain number, then more serious felony charges may be filed in the higher level court. You can try talking to the prosecutor about this and whether it is likely that you will be reimbursed the $700 for the damage. It is common for restitution (the money owed for the damage) to be made part of any sentence or plea in a criminal damage case. Therefore, it would not be necessary to take him to small claims court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mimi
      Sat, 18 May 2013 at 02:54

      My family is being harassed in a neighborhood where he population is white and you can guess we aren’t. There are teenagers and kids ages varing(5-13) that throw bottles at my house or garbage on out front steps. We got cameras b/c it wasn’t fair for whoever is doing this to keep so.and when we called the police they said no proof or evidence then we can’t press charges. Now we caught 3 teen boys taking our net from the basketball hoop and throwing it in some else yard. My parents called the police and “they said theres no charges we could do and its kids so kids will be kids he said..!@!! Is there anything we could do? legally I mean? now that we have proof we still can’t do anything?
      Dear Mimi: We’re sorry to hear about the situation with your neighbors. We would first recommend you call the police each time something happens, as you have done. If you can’t get any satisfaction from the police you might ask to speak with a police supervisor or someone who can advise you about your remedies. If you know who is harassing you and continues to come on your property, you can ask a local court to issue a restraining order against that person. You can also ask the police about the advisability of getting a court order so that you don’t make matters worse. Sometimes it’s better to ignore minor harassment than stir the fire by adding fuel to it. We sympathize with your situation and hope it improves.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marie
      Mon, 20 May 2013 at 09:49

      My brother, my friend, and I kicked a board that covered a small opening in a wall of the school. Which is closed off because of mold, snakes and spiders? and we were charged with vandalism. The board was cracked a little bit. Do you know how much trouble we could get in? I am fifteen and my brother is thirteen.
      I also live in Oklahoma…for my previous comment.
      Dear Marie: Several things could happen on account of what you did. The school may ask you to pay for the repairs and discipline you (in-school suspension, extra work, etc.). They could also notify the police if they decide to press vandalism charges. If that happens you could end up in court. If this is your first time in trouble with the law, you may be allowed to finish a diversion program. That means when you complete some community service, attend a class or counseling, the case is dismissed and you don’t have a record. Whichever way this goes we hope you’ve learned something from this incident. There are consequences to your actions, good or bad. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Janet Bice
      Fri, 24 May 2013 at 02:50

      My 17 year-old son was paid for and was issued a parking permit for an assigned parking place, My son says that most everyone parks where they want to, but my son does park in his assigned parking place. The other day when he came out from class he noticed a dent in his car door and going all the way to the passengers door. He reported it to the secretary and he told her who he thought was parked their at the time but wasn’t for sure (it’s a small school) She looked on the video that they had of it and my son was parked towards the back which she said made it difficult to see and that the truck had not parked very well, but she didn’t see that my son’s car was hit. My question is that should the school be held liable for not enforcing that the kids should be parking in there own parking places, rather then my son always having to watch and see who’s parking beside him and having to prove all the time who hit him when they don’t report it themselves? Thank you
      Dear Janet: First, you may want to check your son’s Student Handbook to see what it says about damage to students’ property on school grounds. You could also check the written rules concerning parking spaces. Perhaps you could ask for a meeting with the principal to discuss the matter and finally, you may want to consult with an attorney who specializes in education law. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Monet Waddell
      Mon, 27 May 2013 at 08:24

      I stay in North Carolina and wanted to know how can I make sure I get compensated for dents in my car from kids throwing rocks from a bridge. I called the police and the boys admitted to doing it but I don’t think the parents are going to pay with or without going to court. I’m not prejudice but they are Mexicans and one of the kids father ended up getting arrested because he had a warrant for his arrest. The kids are 10 and 11.
      Dear Monet: Talk with the parents of the kids to see if they’re willing to pay for the damage. If not, you can either let it go or go to small claims court. You don’t need a lawyer for this, but remember if you win you still have to collect. Winning a case in court doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get paid. If the families are without financial means to pay you, you just have a piece of paper that’s difficult to enforce. Maybe you can present your estimate of repairs to the families of the kids and ask that they split it and give them time to pay you. It’s usually better for everyone to settle these matters out of court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • John hang
      Wed, 29 May 2013 at 08:49

      2 times that kids age range from 5-8 toss a rock and hit cars that are at my property. Kids are different on each event it happen but they’re at the same house. The first time, the kid that hit my cousin cars (2x), he does not live at the house that he went and hide. Since its the first time and he’s still young, i give him a break, but ask the cop to give his parent a ticket. Second time, same house that the different kid went inside after hit my car. I call the cop again. The cop left to talk to them and didnt reply or call me when he says he’ll call me. Can i file a compliant to have city kick them out of the neighbor and yet fine them heavily?
      Dear John: The police don’t have the authority to evict someone from their home. If a court orders it, they can attempt to enforce the court order. Keep reporting these incidents and maybe the police will impress upon the parents that they need to control their kids. You can also try to talk with the parents, calmly, and try to resolve this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Don
      Fri, 31 May 2013 at 10:29

      Hi, I live in Ohio and my next door neighbor allows her children and all the neighborhood child play all types of ball on her front lawn which led to my bedroon window being broken by a ball. I warned her many times that my house was being hit with balls and a window would be broken yet she did nothing to stop it. I did not see which child broke the window so small claims court did not hold her responsible. I believe she is responsible because she was negligent in doing nothing when she was warned and the children were on her property which she allows. Is she in fact negligent and responsible?
      Dear Don: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      It sounds like you already have the answer from a court of law. Accidents happen – it’s one of those things in life we must accept. -Judge Tom

    • Malcolm Sanders
      Mon, 03 Jun 2013 at 09:39

      My brother in law was about to go on the run and hid his smart phone between my sons bed and it ended up broken can I be held responsible for him hiding his belongings in my home and it being damaged?
      Dear Malcolm: It’s unlikely you’d be held responsible since he left it with plans to “go on the run.” Is he going to call the police about it? You might reach an agreement where you split the replacement or repair costs if you feel you or your son contributed to the damage. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dana
      Wed, 05 Jun 2013 at 10:57

      What do you do when neighbor vandalized you car?
      Dear Dana: You need to call the police and make a report. Depending on the circumstances, the police may come out to your house to investigate the matter and charges may be filed against your neighbor. If charges are filed, restitution is typically part of any sentence meaning that any money owed to you for the damage would most likely be imposed by the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alicia
      Sat, 08 Jun 2013 at 12:19

      I have a question. I mistakenly left my purse at a friend’s house. He has a child & from time to time his child’s mom will come over as well. I have received my purse back but there has been some missing items. I know his child’s mother snoops around a lot and she also doesn’t like me. Am I wrong to suspect her of theft? And another question, is there any legal action that I can take?
      Dear Alicia: You can’t help having your suspicions, but at the same time, you truly don’t know what happened to the items you’re missing. As far as any legal action you can take, you could contact the police, but they may not do any follow up investigation based on the facts and circumstances and the value of the items missing. You could make a claim in small claims court, but it may not be worth your time or money (filing fees, etc.) since it sounds like you do not have any evidence that your friend’s ex took the items. It may be best to try to talk to her and/or your friend and try to get some answers. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • chris
      Sat, 08 Jun 2013 at 02:39

      I was backing up out of my friends driveway and i hit his brickmail box over and damaged my car bumper a lot. he told me i have to pay for his lawn to get fixed and to fix the mail box. He keeps asking for my insurance but i dont want to give it to him because i would rather pay for it myself in cash. Can they sue me for not giving them my insurance and wanting to pay for it myself? I dont want to give it out because my parents dont know about it
      Dear Chris: They could always file a claim in small claims court, but it would not be worth their time or money since there are filing fees. Perhaps you could try talking to your friend and write him a check or give him the money as soon as possible so he knows your good for it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Danielle Nicole
      Mon, 10 Jun 2013 at 11:48

      i let my friend borrow my ipod touch (screen was cracked in one corner) bc she got her phone taken away. she has had it for 4 months and i recently asked fr it back. but she broke it by using it in the shower and dropping it in the shower as well. i asked for 75 dollars in return bc before she broke it completely it was worth at least 100 ( i could of got the screen fixed for under 80) i originally paid over 200 for the ipod. she refuses to pay me for the damage and says its my fault that it was broke bc i let her borrow it. i told her if i dont get the 75 i will take her to court for damage of property . would this be the right thing to do? it had my info and things on it so i lost personal memories as well.
      Dear Danielle: If you are a minor (under 18), tell your parents about this so they could possibly speak with her parents and get the matter resolved. Otherwise, you certainly have the option of taking her to small claims court, but it may not be worth your time or money since there are filing fees and it could end up taking a decent amount of your time for no guarantee of getting the money to pay for the damage. You could continue to tell her that you’re going to file a claim to see if she’s willing to at least compromise and perhaps split the difference – pay you half of what you want. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • cathy ziegler
      Wed, 12 Jun 2013 at 07:10

      Judge, If a company hits my buisness fire wall several times while taking down the building next to mine, is that company obligated to notify me that they damaged my wall and try to come to terms on the repair of the wall? or can they pretend like they did nothing and do nothing? Does ignoring it or denying it make it criminal?
      Dear Cathy: As you now know, AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. There are plenty of other legal sites where you can post your question and have it answered by a lawyer, but we cannot refer you to a particular one as we do not have any information about these other sites. You could try contacting the company and asking to speak with a supervisor to get some answers about whether they are going to pay for the repair. Otherwise, you could try consulting with a local attorney. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation consisting of 30 minutes or so. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • James
      Thu, 20 Jun 2013 at 05:14

      So I recently found out a person vandalized my house worth about $8,000 in 2007. The person was 15 or 16 when they did it. Got a police report and everything. The person is now an adult. Is there any way I can sue the person or is it too late? I live in Missouri.
      Dear James: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you talk with a lawyer in your area to determine any rights you may have under the laws in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • mom
      Sun, 23 Jun 2013 at 09:56

      my 13 yr old entered a home that was already broke into by his friend,,,,there was some alcohol stolen and damage to the property, but not by my son is he still liable for anything other than trespassing
      Dear Mom: That will depend on the evidence the police have and what charges they file against your son. It may be trespass only if he had nothing to do with the stolen or damaged items. Either way, if this is his first offense he may be eligible for what’s called “diversion.” That means if he admits what he did the court may order him to complete some community service, attend a class or counseling and then the charges will be dismissed and he won’t have a record that will affect him in his adult life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • david
      Mon, 24 Jun 2013 at 02:10

      ok, so ive done quite a bit of graffiti in my small oklahoma town, but usually only in abandoned buildings. noone seemed to care until i got careless and tagged two trucks, two busses, several windows, the walls of a few mainstreet businesses, and a bank atm. i already confessed to the tagging, to try and get out of all the larger pieces which i thought would be more costly to restitute. its my first offense, but i had a minor with me at the time i was caught. i am 18, and they have every bit of evidence neccessary to press charges. what are my options regarding sentencing, any way i could get off with a fine and/or community service or should i start getting fitted for my orange jumpsuit?
      Dear David: Since this is your first offense, you can probably hold off on the jumpsuit. Of course, every jurisdiction, prosecutor and judge have their own policies about graffiti & punishment. You may be eligible for a “diversion” program which means when you finish some community service, attend a class or counseling, and pay restitution to the victims the case is closed and you don’t have a record. If diversion isn’t offered, and because of the extent of the vandalism you may be placed on probation for a period of time. Don’t miss your court hearing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • David
      Tue, 25 Jun 2013 at 10:59

      Some one was doing me a favor by giving out business cards on my behalf. Some of these cards were placed on some apartment complex doors and tape was used. Received a call from apartment complex.

      Initially they stated that I would be liable for painting all doors in the complex.

      Then as contested the number of the doors they dropped it to 48.

      The companies name and my name is on the business cards and a third person gave them out. Whose responsibility? To Pay.
      Dear David: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you talk to a local lawyer who practices property or landlord/tenant law. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • cris
      Tue, 09 Jul 2013 at 08:02

      A week ago my 5 and 7 yr olds were out inthe front yard playing while my dad was fixing something. The kids picked up pebbles and began throwing them onto the sidewalk. One of the pebbles inadvertently hit a passing car. The driver got out and proceeded to yell st the kids and called the police. When the cops showed up they were surprised to learn the kids ages. They questioned my kids who were hysterical crying and very scared. They asked the kids if they threw something and if they could go and apologize to the irate driver. There was a very small nick on the car and now the driver wants us to pay almost $300 immediately to fix her car. What time frame do we have for paying? Are we responsible for paying this and how was it okay for the police to question our kids without either parent present? We live in NY.
      Dear Cris: You need to look to the parental responsibility laws in your state. These laws hold parents responsible for the torts or any damage caused by their children. Try Googling “New York parental responsibility laws” for more info. You could try getting a second opinion concerning the amount of damage, but you may need a photo of the damage to get an estimate from a repair shop. As for the police questioning your children, since the police treated this as a civil matter rather than criminal, the Miranda warnings which include the right for parents to be present during a police interrogation, do not necessarily apply. Remember that you could refuse to pay or pay what you believe to be is reasonable, and then it would be up to the other person to file a claim in small claims court. It’s best to settle these matters out of court, so perhaps a calm conversation or even a letter may help negotiate a resolution to all of this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Fred
      Thu, 11 Jul 2013 at 09:04

      If my nephew, while attending a party with me, crashed a ORV am I responsible for damages? I am not his legal gaurdian and his parents were now at the party now did they give said permiss for their 14 year old son to ride the ORV.
      Dear Fred: Every state has parental responsibility laws that hold parents responsible for the damage caused by their children up to a certain dollar amount. You could Google the name of your state and “parental responsibility law” to find the specific law in your state. Whether or not you would also be partially responsible depends on the specific facts and the laws in your state. You could consult with a civil attorney in your area who handles matters out of small claims court for more info. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Nate
      Thu, 18 Jul 2013 at 12:58

      If my friends threw my phone in the pool and it breaks from water damage, can I get the police to make them pay?
      Dear Nate: You could involve the police by reporting what happened but it may be easier to talk with their parents first and work this out. If you’re a minor (under 18) talk to your parents who can help out. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kim Sparn
      Thu, 18 Jul 2013 at 11:22

      my 14 year old got arrested for putting a sticker on a stop sign it was the size of a drivers liscence now what
      Dear Kim: There should be a court date on the ticket and/or the amount of the fine. Make sure he doesn’t miss the court hearing so the judge doesn’t issue an arrest warrant. If this is his first offense he’ll probably be given a warning or the chance to complete some community service. Once he finishes the work-hours the case will be dismissed and he won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Karyn
      Tue, 30 Jul 2013 at 08:04

      My 9 year old neighbor who I don’t deal with him or his family,but his sister was walking by my house listening to her iPod.Her brother was way behind her and he was going by my house and he picked up some rocks,sticks, and started to hit the back of his sister. Some rocks missed her but one ended up hitting my truck and he ran to catch up with his sister. I heard it so I went out and checked out my truck and there was a dent from the rock he threw. What could I do about that? There is damage and I can’t talk with his parents because we had a fallen out.
      Dear Karyn: This is an unfortunate incident. Without speaking with his parents, there’s little you can do. If you reported it to the police it’s unlikely that formal action would be taken. They would advise you to approach his parents and request payment for the damage or let it go. He’s too young to be held responsible under the law for an accident. This may be the time to mend fences with his parents and resolve this amicably. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jacob
      Wed, 31 Jul 2013 at 01:24

      my friend completely ruined someone’s bike and know is worried about the punishment. he has never been in trouble with the law, and did it because the person refused to give back his shoes and expensive watch despite him asking for it back. how much trouble can he get in.
      Dear Jacob: If this is his first offense, he may be offered what’s called “diversion.” That means if he admits what he did and then completes some community service or attends a class, the case will be closed and he won’t have a record. He may also be required to pay for the repairs to the bike.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Don
      Sun, 04 Aug 2013 at 09:37

      My daughter parked her car in a designated parking spot at the sports complex where her team practices lacrosse in Sacramento. A player from another team, practicing on an adjacent field, threw an errant pass to a teammate. The ball left the field of play, bounced off a walkway, then hit and broke the windshield on my daughter’s car. The boy admitted responsibility for the thrown ball that caused the damage to the vehicle.

      Yes, it was an accident…but who is responsible for the damages? The boy’s father takes the position that an apology from his son should be sufficient restitution since this was an accident.

      I grew up in an era when liability was not such a big issue, and people routinely assumed responsibility for their actions, even for accidental acts of commission. The sports complex, as one might expect, does not assume liability for damages to vehicles parked at their facility.

      So, who should be responsible for the $316 windshield replacement on my daughter’s car?
      Dear Don: You’re right in thinking the boy and/or his parents should come forward with an offer to make good on the broken windshield. Accidents don’t relieve one of liability for personal or property damage. It would be best to settle this without having to resort to the legal system. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Yoli
      Mon, 05 Aug 2013 at 10:17

      Hi my 14 year old son is a group home because I am unable to supervise his behavior at home. While at the group home he put water in the staff gas tank. He wasn’t being supervised if he was able to cause this damage. Am I responsible for the damages cause the staff should have been supervising him.Charlotte, NC
      Dear Yolanda: Take a look at the documents you signed when your son was first placed at the group home. There should be some language about liability for property damage, personal injuries, etc. Also your state may have a law about a parent’s financial responsibility for the acts of their child. Google the name of your state and “parental responsibility laws” for information on this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Daniel
      Thu, 08 Aug 2013 at 09:25

      My daughter cleaned my car today at our local car wash and when she returned she explained to me that the vacuum machine stole her money so she was unable clean my car. Then she explained to me that she hit the machine a few times attempting to get her money back. Is this something I need to be worried about? I went and checked the machine and there was no damage but can the car wash still press charges against her?
      Dear Daniel: It’s very unlikely that the car wash owner would attempt to press charges. Even if he/she did report the incident to the police, they may explain that it’s a civil matter and nothing they can do depending on the specific facts and the laws in your state. Since there was no damage and your daughter simply hit the machine with her hands to get it working and/or her money back, it does not sound like any charges would be filed against her. Thanks for asking.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • joshua
      Sat, 10 Aug 2013 at 08:50

      i am 17 and i was caught doing graffiti and it is my first offense and the damage was low could i serve jail time if i can not pay the fees/
      Dear Joshua: Considering this is your first offense, you are not facing jail time for the incident. When you go to court, explain to the judge that you can’t pay any fees and request additional community service hours instead. They may be willing to work something out with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Nette
      Sat, 10 Aug 2013 at 11:05

      My 19 year old son was at a graduation party that was setup in a barn. There were a couple motorcycles also parked in the barn. My son accidentally bumped into one of the bikes and it tipped over. He picked it up and continued talking to friends. Later that night the owner of the bike came after him calling him names and telling he wanted $500 right then. My son apologized, told him that he was accountable and would pay for the damage. The young man continued to harass my son and several others had to hold the young man back until my son left the party. For two days after that the young man communicated thru texts changed the amount from $500 to $4400 to $5000. My son asked for 3 quotes of the damage, his insurance company, and a couple pictures of the damage. The young man provided 1 quote for $1700 and nothing else. When my husband reviewed the quote with the cycle company, they said the bike was 7 years old and was fairly beat up. Many of the items the young man wanted replaced, the shop felt had been worn out for a while. My older son who also has a motorcycle went to meet with the young man to see what we could do to help him. Unfortunately the bike hasn’t really been taken care. We wanted to get the bike back in the condition it was prior to it tipping over. The young man at one point wanted us to buy it. To end all the harrassment, we finally just told him we would give him $250 to fix what he needed done. He then said that he will be taking us to court and then sent a text saying $600 and he will drop everything. through this he continued with other degrading comments. Is there something else that we could do?
      Dear Nette: It sounds like you’ve done just about everything you can do at this point. You are doing the right thing by trying to take responsibility for any damage caused by your son, but at the same time not letting this guy completely take advantage of the situation. It’s always best if you can resolve the matter outside of court. Perhaps you can come back with one last counter offer since he originally asked for $500, you could explain that you’re not willing to pay beyond that. Although he could try taking the matter to court, he may not get any more money out of your son that way and could even lose money, but again, it’s best to try to settle the matter now. Best of luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Steven
      Sat, 10 Aug 2013 at 07:49

      I was in Walmart and I saw the spray paints, there was a wall with spray paint on it. So I sprayed some on it. When I was about to leave a guy took me in a room and showed me the video he said you won’t get fined. Will that go on your record?
      Dear Steven: If the police were not involved and you do not have to go to court, then you don’t have to worry about having a record. It’s possible that the store could keep a record for their own internal purposes, but that would not be a criminal record that any background check would reveal. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kim Butts
      Thu, 22 Aug 2013 at 12:25

      My son and I were helping my aunt move some furniture out of her condo. The water got left on upstairs and she’s blaming my son for the damage to the condo. Can she sue him? He didn’t leave the water on, someone else must have done it. How do I get this issue resolved? I can’t afford a lawyer, and kind find any free legal aid to help me.
      Dear Kim: Some lawyers offer free consultations for the first half-hour or so when you meet. We suggest you talk with a lawyer who practices civil or property law for advice. Your state may have a “parent responsibility law” that spells out the obligation of parents for acts done by their children. It would be best to settle this without going to court or being sued. Try to reach an agreement with your aunt. You can also contact Community Legal Services in your area for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • john
      Tue, 10 Sep 2013 at 02:12

      4-5 months ago someone started egging my window a couple times a week. Then I got off work at 2am one morning.I was getting ready for bed then I heard something hit my window and voices. By the time I got out side they were in reverse heading towards the only exit in my neighborhood then they turned around and headed towards the end of my road turned around then stopped in front of me a good 50- 60 ft and revved up the engine then accelerated at me and almost hit me if I wouldn’t have moved. And as I stepped out of the way I hit the hood with a piece of wood. I found out it was a ex and her friend. Her friends mom wanted me to pay 250$ out of the 500$ it would cost to get fixed(so they say) then her mom or her never returned my calls so we could talk about it then I got a text today saying that if I don’t give them some of the 500$ that they are taking me to court. The eggs that were thrown caused damage to the siding of my house(erodes it). I don’t plan on pressing charges. They mentioned a week after the incident that it began rusting. The incident took place 3-4 months ago and no cops were ever involved
      Dear John: You didn’t mention your age, but if you’re a minor, it will be up to you and your parents as to how to try to resolve this. It’s not necessarily too late to file a police report, but unfortunately, they may not be able to collect as much evidence since months have passed. You said that you don’t want to press charges, however, do you want to pay for something that ultimately was not your fault if in fact the act was due to self-defense? Even if they file a claim against you in small claims court, it ultimately will be up to a judge or jury as to whether or not you’re responsible for the damage. You can choose to not pay and take the risk of them actually filing a claim and then fighting it, ignore their demands or explain that you are going to file a police report and then follow through. You may want to consult with a local attorney about this. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lavender West
      Sun, 15 Sep 2013 at 05:49

      I’m 14 and I was riding in a car with my friends (16 and 18) and the 18 year old shot a back window of a truck on accident with a BB gun and i was in the passenger seat and had no knowledge of him even having the guns. Neither did the 16 year old, who was driving, and we got caught. What is the worst and probable thing that will happen to us all? This is in West Texas.
      Dear Lavender: It’s possible that you could face criminal charges for the incident. If it’s your first offense and first time having to go to court, then you may be offered a diversion program. This means that once you complete some community service hours, pay a fine/restitution and attend a class or counseling, the charges would be dismissed and you would not have a record. As for the damage caused to the window, all three of you (and your parents) may be responsible for payment to have the damage repaired if the guy who shot the BB gun does not fully take responsibility for the damage and depending on your state’s “parental responsibility” laws. These laws hold parents responsible for any damage caused by their children. Talk this over with your parents if possible and perhaps you can find out if the shooter of the gun is planning on paying for the damage. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mark Torres
      Mon, 23 Sep 2013 at 10:07

      A couple of friends and I egged a house. The owner of The house told local police and we were charged with vandalism. They are taking us to court over damages ($400 and under). They were also egged the next day, and have been egged before. If they can’t prove that WE did the damages, can they still get us to pay for the damages?
      Dear Mark: When you go to court, you will have an opportunity to see what evidence the state is presenting (the police report, any witness statements, etc.). Then it will be up to you and your friends to either take the deal the state is offering or go to trial. Whether or not the state can prove their case at trial beyond a reasonable double that you and your friends did it is the big question that you (and your lawyers) will have to consider. Many criminal attorneys offer a free initial consultation, which is something you can look into if you decide to contact one. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jenny Hale
      Thu, 26 Sep 2013 at 02:55

      Hello, I have a nice property and a new neighbor as of 3 weeks. Last week he decided to come onto my property and cut down ALL Of my heirloom deutzias, mock oranges, honesysuckle bush (not vine), and a 10 foot long boxwood shrub that gave my home privacy. He did all of this without asking and when I confronted him, he said they blocked his view and that is not the case at all. My other 3 neighbors never complained and loved them. I told him this and he said I needed to suck it up and that there is a “new sheriff in town”.. While cutting down bushes he also broke out my cellar window and tore wood off of my front porch and broke my bird bath. I hate to drag this to court but am I crazy for wanting too??? Thanks in advance!! Jenny
      Dean Jenny: We certainly understand you being upset about the situation. However, AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. It’s always best if you can resolve a dispute outside of court, so you may want to start by confronting him about the damage and ask him to cover the costs or write it down in a letter. If that doesn’t help, then you could talk to an attorney who handles property law matters. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation and perhaps a letter from an attorney’s office will lead to a resolution. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Dawana
      Fri, 27 Sep 2013 at 12:54

      i have a 15 year old son that ran away. unbeknownst to me he gained entry to the empty apartment behind mine and vandalized that apartment by shooting the mirrors/walls witha bb gun. am i gonna be held accountable for that?
      Dear Dawana: You have to look to your state’s “parental responsibility” laws, which hold parents responsible for the damage caused by their children. If your son is charged, a fine/restitution for the damage will most likely be part of a sentence. He would be ordered to pay it, but ultimately, it often falls on the parents to pay when their children don’t have a job or any money of their own. You can Google your state’s name and “parental responsibility law” for the specific laws in your state.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • cindy
      Sat, 28 Sep 2013 at 12:39

      Can someone that is 18 years old sue an adult for breaking an ipod?
      Dear Cindy: Ultimately, it will depend on the laws in your state. The minor’s parents may have to be the ones who file a claim in small claims court. If you can resolve the issue outside of court, it’s always better. Perhaps you could try talking to the adult and work out an agreement for replacing the iPod. Otherwise, you could contact small claims court and ask about the process for filing a claim. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mark Clark
      Sat, 28 Sep 2013 at 05:16

      I had a motorcycle stolen and recovered by the pd in texas, but the vandalism caused to the bike made it hardly worth getting it out of impound due to the vandalism caused, the pd said a Juvenile had been riding it around. The case is still under investigation and I am not sure if anyone will be prosecuted. Do I need to get it out of impound before the fees mount up for any compensation if they are prosecuted?
      Dear Mark: You need to speak with the police and/or the prosecutor’s office about this. If someone ends up being charged, the police may keep the motorcycle as evidence while the case is pending. So you may want to first speak with the officer or supervisor responsible for this investigation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Regina Jones
      Mon, 07 Oct 2013 at 06:41

      I live in Texas. My 9yr old kid along with a few neighborhood kids around his age were pitching rocks. Someone’s car window was broken. Being that my kid is new to the neighborhood. All the other kids gained up against him and said it was his rock that had broken the car window. Policemen were called and I was told by the policemen that criminal charges were to be filed against my kid. I asked the officer how can you pin point one kid out of the rest that were involved. I was given no options. Could charges be brought against my 9yr old kid? For something like this.
      Dear Regina: It is possible for charges to be filed against your son. Every state has its own laws regarding crime and the minimum age a person can be held responsible. If your son is charged, there’s a good chance he’ll be offered diversion. That means if he admits what he did, if he thinks he could have caused the damage, and then completes a class, counseling or some community service, the case will be dismissed and he won’t have a record. If you end up going to court over this, the legal process will be explained to you at that time. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Demar Gunter
      Sat, 19 Oct 2013 at 08:55

      Hi. I was with my friends the other day in a public shopping place when one of the girls I was with started writing things in sharpie on things. She wrote on a table in an ice cream shop, the side of a movie theatre, and the side of a building. Could I get in trouble for being around her while she was doing this? We weren’t caught but I’m afraid we might have been seen on video camera.
      Dear Demar: As long as you didn’t participate in what she was doing there shouldn’t be a problem. If you didn’t encourage her or assist in any way, your presence alone wouldn’t ordinarily constitute a crime. Criminal laws include words like “accomplice” and “accessory” that may bring you into your state’s definition of vandalism but you’d have to look to those specific laws. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mandy Johnson
      Wed, 06 Nov 2013 at 12:17

      Judge Tom,

      My 16 yr old son was caught egging on 10/31/13. He and a friend egged a mailbox. After driving several miles down the road, the homeowner pulled them over. The cops were called and a citation was written for both kids. We have court Jan. 2014. Do I need a lawyer? This is my sons first offense. I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea to take my son over to apologize to the homeowner.
      Please advise.
      Thanks
      Dear Mandy: Whether you hire a lawyer for this is up to you. It may not be necessary right now. When you and your son go to court for his hearing, the legal process will be explained to you. Since this is his first offense he may be eligible for a “diversion” program. That means if he admits what he did and then completes some community service, a class or brief counseling through the court, the case will be dismissed and he won’t have a record. If he decides to plead not guilty then he may need a lawyer to represent him at trial or the public defender may be appointed if you qualify for such.
      As far as apologizing to the homeowner, there is definitely something to be said for accountability and taking responsibility for one’s actions. When I was 8 my parents marched me down to a hobby shop to apologize after shoplifting something I wanted. I’m more than a half-century older now and have never forgotten that incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Chris
      Mon, 30 Dec 2013 at 12:04

      Me and a group of friends went into a building and we saw a bunch of hay bills and we were messing around and one of the hay bill tipped over we then left and then the next week police came and asked me some questions I came clean and said I was guilty but I am worried what will happen to me. (I am 16 and live in minnesota) please help me?
      Dear Chris: The possible consequences depend on whether any damage was caused inside the building and whether the owners want to press charges. If charges are filed, then you would receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. If this occurs and this incident is your first offense, then you may be offered a diversion program and given the opportunity to avoid a record so long as you complete the program. Otherwise, you might have gotten lucky this time and not hear anything more about the incident. Keep in mind that just entering a building that is private property or off limits to the public could result in trespassing charges. We hope you and your friends learned from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Maribel Arista
      Sat, 04 Jan 2014 at 03:27

      My neighbor’s daughter scratched my boyfriend’s car on purpose and she is making false accusations about my boyfriend; saying things like he is yelling at her and telling her to stay off our side of the apartment. Her mother also says she is not taking full responsibility of the damages and has told us that she will press charges against my boyfriend if he looks at her daughter. Is the mother responsible 100% for the daughter’s actions? She is only 12 years old, and can we sue her for threatening us and emotion distress she has caused us?
      Dear Maribel: Many states have what are called “parent responsibility” laws that set maximum amounts they may be liable for when their son or daughter damages property or causes injury to another person. Google the name of your state and “parent responsibility laws” for information on this. We are an education site and, as such, we don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • John Smith
      Wed, 22 Jan 2014 at 09:44

      I am a minor and am charged with egging. It is a misdemeanor A because the vehicles we hit were moving. One was a police car. There was little to no car damage. What is the worst punishment I can obtain, if I wasn’t the one who threw the eggs?
      Dear John: You may get lucky and have to do some community service or attend a class about the laws and criminal activity. Otherwise, if the judge finds you guilty of participating in this incident, you could be placed on probation for a period of time (six months, for example). Discuss this with your parents and possibly a lawyer – that’s up to your parents. Good luck and learn from this experience.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Samantha
      Wed, 22 Jan 2014 at 11:32

      This girl from my school is claiming that my boyfriend drove by her parked car and rocks flew up and scratched her paint on her car and a rock flew up and hit her friend in the face when they were standing outside. Can my boyfriend be billed for a rock hitting her car not intentionally
      Dear Samantha: Your boyfriend cannot just be billed for the damage and required to pay. However, if the girl from your school insists that he caused the damage to her car and took the matter to small claims court by filing a civil claim, then your boyfriend and possibly his parents would be required to answer the claim and appear in court to tell his side of the story. It’s likely that the girl will drop the matter as it’s probably not worth her time or money as there are filing fees to file a civil claim. Also, if a compromise can be reached outside of court, that is always best. Good luck to your boyfriend.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melanie carter
      Sat, 25 Jan 2014 at 02:41

      I have a ? my son who is 9 years old and another boy 8 years old where throwing rocks at the the guy next doors enclosed trailer.My son trough one rock and the other boy who is 8 trough several rocks and damaged the trailer. Now my son is being charged with a felony and the other boy is not being charged with anything. My son is also has disability’s they said they cant charge the 8 year old because of his age so why should my son have to take all the blame for this and what are his rights.
      Dear Melanie: If felony charges have already been filed against your son, then he should be appointed an attorney to represent him if you cannot afford one. Talk this over with the attorney and let him/her know about all of the circumstances including your son’s disability and anything else you believe to be relevant to his behavior and the case. All states have different laws concerning age limits and the court’s jurisdiction over a minor. It sounds like the age limit in your state is 9 years old, meaning that a minor younger than that cannot have the required mental state or intent to know right from wrong under the law. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bina
      Sun, 02 Feb 2014 at 10:31

      My boyfriend did a mischief 8 years ago by buying a house without saying he was a realstate. Can he be charged for that after 8 years? No claim were never made it?
      Dear Bina: Whether he can still be charged depends on the statute of limitations for the offense. If criminal mischief is considered a misdemeanor in your state, it’s unlikely that he can still be charged. If the offense is considered a felony, it’s possible that charges may still be filed. You can try Googling the name of your state and “statute of limitations for ……(criminal mischief or whatever the name of the offense is in your state). Thanks for asking. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bill stewart
      Wed, 05 Feb 2014 at 04:24

      Im a minor 12 years old to be exact and i accadentily dropped a school laptop of all very top keys all came off will i be charged with destroying school property
      Dear Bill: It depends on he school’s policy about property damage. Since this was an accident, you may not be charged with the cost of repairs or replacement since the school’s insurance may cover it. Your parents can speak with the principal about this and find out if you have to pay anything. Good luck & be careful.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mary
      Mon, 17 Feb 2014 at 10:16

      Will insurance pay if you choose not to press charges for teen vandalism?
      Dear Mary: It totally depends on the policies of your insurance company and the terms of your coverage. We suggest you call and speak with an agent or review the terms of your contract. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mary
      Thu, 20 Feb 2014 at 08:55

      Question – Dec 2012 my son, 15 yrs old was given a ride from his friend, 18 yrs old from school to home – my son threw his cell phone into his friends cars windshield and cracked it. Who is liable for damages?
      Dear Mary: You’d have to check the laws where this took place. But, generally, when someone (including a minor) causes damage to someone’s property, they or their parents are responsible. Most states have parent responsibility laws that set monetary limits to their liability. You can google the name of the state and “parental responsibility laws” for the details. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Bev
      Wed, 05 Mar 2014 at 11:11

      My 15 year old is causing minor property damage at our own house when he gets angry or when he’s being ridiculously careless- kicked and dented bottom of dishwasher and put a scratch along car are two examples. We live in Florida and I am unsure of what recourse I have in dealing with him right now.
      Dear Bev: While calling the police to report such damage is always a possibility, whether or not charges would be filed would depend on the specific facts as well as the laws in your state. Rather than possibly getting your son tied up in the justice system, you could contact the juvenile probation department in your county and find out if a probation officer could talk to him about your son’s behavior and the possible consequences he’s facing. Sometimes a serious talk about the legal consequences can get a teen’s attention to change behavior. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Danielle
      Thu, 06 Mar 2014 at 01:06

      Someone damaged my vehicle (egging). They were caught and arrested. I reported the incident to my insurance company. They said I would have to pay my $500 deductible. The police station told me to file a small claims against the person for total damages which is about $2,100. Can I get the $2100 from this person and only pay my insurance the $500 deductible to get it fixed?
      Dear Danielle: You can try. It will depend on the terms of your insurance contract and the willingness of the person to pay in full. If you go to court (small claims court) for this, the judge will decide the outcome based on the evidence presented by you and the perpetrator. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Meghan
      Wed, 09 Apr 2014 at 07:32

      My boyfriends mother had become very angry towards me and then she had purposely picked up my personal laptop and threw it down 2 flights of stairs. The first flight inside, and then she picked it up from there and had thrown it down the from porch steps onto concrete. She has damaged other items as well. The thing is, this occurred in July of last year. I am needing to know if I am able to take any action now? Or is it too late? And if I have an option, what is the best thing I could do?
      Dear Meghan: States have laws about time periods to take action when you or your property is harmed or damaged. They are called “statutes of limitation.” For example, you may be limited to one year from an incident to file a claim or lawsuit against the offender. So, Google the name of your state and “statute of limitations property damage” for information. You can also ask a police officer or local attorney for advice. Look at our Resource Directory for a lawyer near you.
      Some lawyers offer free consultations. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marie Morrison
      Tue, 15 Apr 2014 at 06:09

      Recently, my 12 yr. old son was caught doing graffiti on his school’s bathroom wall. He admitted it to the Principal and the Campus PO when asked if he did it. He also was questioned about another small graffiti incident at a nearby park, and he admitted that as well. He will be serving a 10 day Alternative School placement starting on April 25th but now we have a Detective calling us to pursue criminal charges. We live in TX, and I am shocked really at how severe the punishment is for graffiti or vandalism. Are we looking at definite jail time for him or fines or maybe both? This is his first offense and I don’t think he was fully aware of the severity of what he was doing. It was done with a marker, not spray paint. Any advice on how to approach this or if we can ask for leniency or community service, etc…. We’re waiting now to hear back from the detective.
      Dear Marie: It’s unlikely that your son would be facing jail time for this since it’s his first offense. If charges are in fact filed, he may be offered a diversion program. This means that upon completion of the program – community service, payment of a fine and possibly attending a class or counseling, the charges would be dropped. You could contact a local criminal defense attorney who handles juvenile matters for more specific info based on the laws in your state as well as the rules of your local court. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Marjorie James
      Thu, 17 Apr 2014 at 05:49

      Recently my son, who is in middle school, was horseplaying with his friends and challenged each other to see who could touch the tiled ceilig of the boys locker room. My son jumped and hit the ceiling and the ceiling came down with the light fixture. My son stated that he did not swing on anything, all he did was jump to touch to see if he could reach. I met with one of the administrators at the school, with the school police, who offered me to pay restitution and I agreed. Now the school principal does not want me to pay restitution, she wants to press charges. My son did not intentionally damage school property; he was just being a boy. i’m condoning what my child did; however, pressing charges on him is extremely harsh. this would mean that he would be charged and for the rest of his life be denied opportunities because of childhood play?? What can i do?
      Dear Marjorie: Perhaps you could try scheduling a meeting with the principal to discuss the situation and make sure she’s clear that you will pay the restitution. It’s ultimately up to the prosecutor’s office to file the charges so if they are aware that restitution has been paid, it could look good for your son. Finally, even if charges are filed, he may be offered a diversion program and given the opportunity to avoid having a record so long as he completes the program. Good luck to you and your son.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

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