Hands of a young child clutching prison bars.

Are Parents Responsible for Their Child's Crimes? 

Faussette & Faussette PLLC Dec. 9, 2022

In Arizona, minors who commit a crime are often subject to juvenile court laws. In addition, the minor's parent or legal guardian may be held financially and civilly liable for their child's malicious or willful misconduct that causes bodily injury or property damage. An experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney can inform you about your parental liability for your child's crimes. 

At Faussette & Faussette PLLC, I have the practice and resources to defend and represent parents wrongfully charged with a crime for their children's actions. Also, I can analyze your case and help you understand the potential consequences of your child's unlawful actions. My firm proudly serves clients across the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. 

Parental Responsibility Laws  

In the United States, parents have an obligation to raise their children responsibly and without undue interference from the government. As such, there are parental responsibility laws established in states across the country to hold parents and legal guardians civilly liable for property damages or personal injuries caused by their children's willful misconduct and malicious actions. 

To Whom Do They Apply? 

Parental responsibility laws and rules will apply to the following individuals: 

  • The parents of the minor child (whether married or not). 

  • The minor's legal guardian. 

  • The parent whom the minor child lives with (custodial parent). 

However, the noncustodial parent – when the incident happened – will not face any civil liability. A seasoned attorney can educate you about Arizona's parental responsibility laws and determine whether you may be held responsible for your child's actions. 

Parental Responsibility Law in Arizona 

According to Arizona Parental Responsibility Law – Arizona Revised Statutes Section 12-661 – if the malicious act or willful misconduct of a minor results in any injury to another person or property, the minor's parents or guardian having custody or control shall be jointly and severally liable. 

Willful or Malicious Conduct 

A willful or malicious conduct can be described as any act or behavior that a person exhibits "without having any reasonable excuse or just cause." This means that the person knew what they were doing was wrong but still did it anyway. 

If a child's willful misconduct or malicious action causes bodily injury or property damages, the child's parents (except the noncustodial parent) or legal guardian will be held financially responsible for the child's illegal actions. 

Possible Damages  

According to Arizona parental responsibility law, the injured party or plaintiff may be eligible to recover a maximum compensation of $10,000 for actual damages or each tort of the minor. 

Possible Parental Consequences 

In addition to the parental liability, the court may order the parent to: 

  • Perform community service with the child. 

  • Attend parenting classes. 

  • Pay the fines imposed on the child. 

When speaking with an attorney, they can outline an effective defense strategy for your specific situation and help you or your child avoid any serious punishment. 

Smart & Skilled Legal Counsel 

While parents or guardians may not face criminal allegations for their child's unlawful actions, the injured party may still be eligible to pursue financial compensation for damages suffered. Therefore, when arrested and charged for your child's misconduct, retaining a highly-skilled criminal defense attorney is imperative for clear direction and to help strategize your defense. 

At Faussette & Faussette PLLC, I give my all to protect minors and their parents/guardians facing criminal charges from the worst-case scenario. Using my extensive knowledge, I will help you navigate the Arizona justice system and represent you in every stage of the legal proceedings. With me on your side, you can anticipate the best possible outcome for your personal situation. 

Contact Faussette & Faussette PLLC today to arrange a simple case evaluation with trusted juvenile crime lawyers. I have the aggressive representation and skilled guidance you need in your case. I proudly represent clients across Phoenix, Arizona, and the surrounding areas of Gilbert, Scottsdale, Tempe, Glendale, Chandler, Peoria, Goodyear, and Mesa.