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Deferred Entry of Judgment for Minors Not Always a Sweet Deal

In a recent juvenile delinquency case, a minor stole a car and damaged it beyond repair, rendering it a total loss for insurance purposes. After admitting to the crime, the juvenile court granted Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ), meaning that the case would be dismissed provided the minor complete the terms of probation, which in this case included restitution, or paying the owner of the car for damages.

The court ordered the minor pay $13,000 in damages to the car owner, along with $2,000 in interest on the car loan as part of this restitution. After the criminal defense attorney filed an appeal to challenge the $2,000 interest portion, the court surprisingly denied the appeal. The reason it was denied was because there is no way to appeal a DEJ order, and the restitution is considered part of it.

Because of this, offers of getting a case dismissed by DEJ is dubious, because the restitution amount can never be challenged. It’s possible that in certain cases an excessive amount of restitution can be imposed on the minor by the court, knowing that the minor has no choice to pay it unless the offer of DEJ is withdrawn. If the criminal defense attorney wishes to withdrawal DEJ, the restitution can now be appealed, but this also means the minor will be sentenced and charged with the crime.

If you or a loved one are charged with a crime, contact criminal defense attorney Staycie R. Sena immediately for a free consultation at (949) 477-8088.