Q: Is there a way to open a civil case to be reimbursed by my codefendant for half of the restitution I solely paid in full
I was involved and charged in a case in 2016 that led to a large sum of joint and several restitution between my codefendant and I. I had just turned 18 and was charged as adult, meanwhile my codefendant was 17 and was charged as a juvenile. In turn they were essentially "let off the hook" and effed off, leaving me to pay the restitution in full. What I'm wondering is if there is any way for me to open a civil dispute/case against them to be reimbursed for half of the total restitution I solely paid. I made monthly payments on time during the entire duration of my probation and paid off the remainder in full before I completed it. I appreciate any help anyone can offer. Thanks. I'm in Yavapai County.
A: This is a question we get asked quite frequently. Who you really need to ask is a civil litigation attorney but their answer is likely going to be that you will not have a successful lawsuit against the other party.
The unfortunately reason that you will be held responsible to pay everything in full is because you agreed in your plea agreement that you would pay full restitution whether you caused the harm or not or whether the co-defendant pays or not. This is standard language in most cases because the plea is suppose to help the victim get paid their restitution and the courts don't particularly care who pays it as long as it gets paid.
Now, the fact that your co-defendant did not have to pay anything or very little is unfair. You could attempt to sue them in civil court with a civil attorney. However, there is nothing in either of your plea agreements that says you will both split the cost of restitution. Additionally, your plea agreement is with the State of Arizona and not the co-defendant, so there really isn't any kind of agreement showing that your co-defendant owes you any money for the restitution you paid.
If you wish to talk more about this or want a civil attorney who might be able to help you further, please let me know and I can get you in touch. Zach@Divellaw.com 480-935-6545
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.