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Parental Responsibility Laws: Guilty by Parental Association

Until children reach the age of 18, their parents are generally legally responsible for almost every aspect of their lives. Parents must clothe and feed them, make sure they receive an education, and keep them safe. The law takes parental responsibility for children very seriously, to the point where every state in the US has some sort of law regarding parental responsibility when their children break the law.
Parental responsibility for damage done by their children can be both civil and criminal in nature depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the crime. In the South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 63-5-60 governs parental civil liability for damages committed by their children.
The civil penalties for parental responsibility in South Carolina may range up to a maximum of $5000 for actual damages in cases where the child causes personal injury, commits a theft, or causes damage or destruction to property. However, this penalty is not considered to be in lieu of punishment for the child, who will also be held jointly responsible for his or her actions within the established confines of the law.
So, if a child steals $3000 worth of property, the parent could be sued in civil court for up to $3000 by whomever the crime was committed against. However, since a claimant can only collect on actual damages, they could not collect restitution for something like pain and suffering.
Additionally, legal guardians share the same responsibility as a biological parent would under such circumstances, but those with custody through a state or county agency like social services would not be held liable.
Parents can only be found responsible for the illicit actions of their children if the activity is deemed to have been intentional and malicious. Furthermore, while Section 63-5-60 is specific about what actions by a child can result in penalties for parental responsibility, a parent may be held responsible for actions not defined in the statute if the situation falls under common law.
There are also situations where a parent can be held criminally responsible for the actions of their children if they are charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
No matter the situation, if your child has committed a crime in South Carolina, it is essential that you swiftly seek out the services of a strong defense attorney. Please contact the Greg McCollum Complete Legal Defense Team today and let us fight to protect the legal rights of you and your children.  

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