At age 15, on his way to school one morning, Jeremy lit some cardboard boxes on fire in an alley behind a furniture store.

The fire department reported no damage to the store, but the owner claimed his entire inventory was destroyed. Jeremy's family was assigned a public defender to represent his case.

  • $300 public defender fee*
  • +
  • $250 investigation fee*
  • * based on California county data, even if the young person is found innocent.

The court ordered that Jeremy complete 80 hours of community service and six months of probation, plus he had to maintain consistent grades, go to school, and stick to curfew. His mom also signed him up for counseling and a fire safety class.

  • $540 supervision fee*
  • * for each month of probation, parents are charged $90 in some California counties.

The furniture store owner claimed he was owed $221,514.28 in restitution. That's a law designed to compensate victims for their losses, and in California, it holds regardless of a family's ability to pay.

At first the DA went for a felony charge, which would carry an additional restitution fine of $100, but then the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.

  • $221,514 restitution order
  • +
  • $25 misdemeanor restitution fine

The store owner's insurance covered the damages he claimed, minus a $2,500 deductible. Jeremy's mom's homeowner's insurance paid an additional $10,000, and the case was settled.

  • $2500 deductible*
  • *An amount the store owner could file for Jeremy's family to cover.
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Investigation Fee $250.00
Public Defender Fee $300.00
Supervision Fee $540.00
Misdemeanor Restitution Fine $25.00
Deductible $2500.00
TOTAL $3,615.00

Jeremy's family would pay $3,615 in fines and fees. To learn more, check out our "Double-Charged" series.