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Two other people and I got ordered to pay $1,500 for property damages, $500 a piece. They are not going to pay. What should I do

Davenport, IA |

We were riding a dirt bikes around a farmers hay field. Instead of fighting it we took the plea deal and the judge ordered us to pay a total of $1,500 to the farmer, $500 a piece. One of the person involved skipped states and is no where to be found. The other person already lost his deferred due to drunk in public and said he has to many financial issues to repay it. What would happen if I paid my $500, they do not pay their portion of the fine? it was joint and severed judgment. To keep my deferred will I have repay their portion of the fine? If so what happens to them if they don't repay? It does not seem just that i would be stuck paying theirs and they get no plenty for it.. if you have any advice please let me know.. thank you. JM

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Attorney answers 2


The wording of the order controls your obligation. If you are ordered to pay $500, then that may be the extent of your financial obligation. If the order states that each of you is to pay the restitution of $1500, and that it is joint and several, then it is all due from each of you. Obviously, once any portion is paid by any of you, the debt is reduced. I would recommend that you pay your $500 as soon as you can and then seek advice from your attorney or your probation officer as to whether the court would consider releasing you from further responsibility. It is possible that the court might do just that, but probable that they won't. If you pay the full $1500, you can sue the other two defendants in small claims court to recover the $500 each that they should have pitched in. Good luck.

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Thank you for your answer. It was very helpful. Is their any possibility I could set up a meeting with the judge or da by myself to speak to them on my own behalf? The attorney I hired basis is business on the name he built in the passed & no longer cares/passionate about his work. I feel I would have a better chance talking to the court in person

George B. Jones

George B. Jones


You can try to schedule a meeting with the prosecutor to see if he or she will be sympathetic. If you no longer have an attorney, the only way to properly have a conversation with the court about this would be to file a motion asking that the balance of the restitution be waived. That may be difficult to do without an attorney. It is not proper to try to speak directly with the judge, except in a formal court proceeding.


"Joint and severed" does not make sense. Perhaps you mean "joint and several," in which case, if they skip out, the farmer can collect it all from you.

The comments listed here are of a general nature and should not be understood to create a formal attorney-client relationship -- that is, I am not, and I cannot give you legal advice here. I am licensed in Iowa and to become your attorney, I need to understand the particular facts and circumstances of your legal question and, in all likelihood, need to either meet with you personally or in a fairly detailed conference call.

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