What to do about resititution in a criminal case that is probably a civil matter?
Question Details: My son took his roommate's truck without permission to take another friend home. On the way back, the truck broke down. His roommate had him arrested for joyriding and they are also demanding $27,000 for replacement. The truck is 16 years old and is only worth at the most $9,000. Is the issue on the money a civil matter? This is his first time ever getting into trouble and the prosecutor won't work out a deal because the victim won't take anything less than the $27,000. Am I wrong to think this is 2 separate issues - the criminal charge of the Class A misdemeanor and the civil for the truck motor repairs? The prosecutor is keeping the whole thing as criminal. Is this right?
The prosecutor cannot force the victim to bring a civil legal action, even though you are right--the issue of compensation is more properly civil. Prosecutors only have power over the criminal case. And many prosecutors will not work out a plea (under their office's or court guidelines) without victim consent. So the procescutor cannot make the victim agree to a plea and instead sue in civil court, even though that is what should happen.