Victims Rights For Acts of Vandalism
The rights of victims to obtain compensation for acts of vandalism begins with the police report to attempt to criminally prosecute the vandals. Many of the area judges will order restitution as part of a plea agreement or guilty plea. This may require the victim to appear in court one or more times. However, it still is the most expeditious way to obtain restitution for vandalism.
If restitution is not ordered through a criminal charge, an individual may always pursue a civil remedy. Even if partial restitution is obtained through the criminal courts, a civil lawsuit may be maintained. Missouri has a law, R.S. Mo. 537.045, that allows victims to sue the parents of minors for damages caused by the minor. The statute currently limits damages to $2,000. Many attorneys will not take this type of case due to poor profit if taken on a contingency fee basis. Some victims will not pursue this avenue if they must pay an attorney the $100+ an hour charged by most area attorneys. Filing suit in small claims court is an option which allows the victim to present the case to the judge without the necessity of an attorney. The State of Missouri has a victim's compensation fund for more serious crimes. It is very important to do something so that vandals realize there is adverse consequences to their actions.
Some people refuse to pursue legal action against the vandals for fear of retaliation. If criminal charges are brought and the offender placed on probation, leverage is possible to prevent retaliation. This is exactly the purpose of the Neighborhood Watch groups. They enlist your neighbors so retaliation is not against one individual but must be against a group of individuals.