Can Court Order a Minor to Pay Restitution to the Victim ?
In J.A.M. v. State, 601 So. 2d 278 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992) the juvenile appealed a condition of his community control requiring him to make restitution in the amount of $ 3800 to the victim at the rate of $ 200 per month commencing on a date certain. 601 So. 2d at 278.
On appeal, he argued that the trial court erred in failing to determine that he had the present ability to pay the ordered restitution at the amount required. Id.
The First District noted that a trial court may order an unemployed or incarcerated child to pay restitution without a showing of present ability to pay and in doing so, "must only determine what the defendant may reasonably be expected to earn upon finding suitable employment and base the amount of restitution on those earnings." Id.
However, the First District concluded that even though the amount of restitution imposed did not appear to exceed the amount the juvenile could reasonably be expected to pay or make, the trial court erred in setting a date certain for commencement of the payment. Id. at 278-79.
The case was remanded for the trial court to strike the date certain and substitute language providing that the payments were to commence upon the juvenile's obtaining employment, which he was required to make all reasonable efforts to obtain. Id. at 279.