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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 15935
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I live in Georgia. My domestic partners son (20 yo) took

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I live in Georgia. My domestic partner's son (20 yo) took my car without permission the other night and damaged it. Thankfully, no other people or property were involved. (He ran over a curb fast enough to damage the suspension, tires, rims, etc.). He has some money put away that he has offered me to help defray the costs to repair the car. He does not have a driver's license. I am debating as to whether or not to report the incident to the police. What is the statute of limitation on _reporting_ such accidents? Also, what would happen to him if I _did_ decide to report it to the police?

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

Customer:

Thank you. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

ScottyMacEsq :

First of all, you have no duty to report this. Even though you're the victim, you don't have to contact the police and are under no obligation to do so. The first conviction for driving without a license in the state of Georgia is a misdemeanor. A fine in the range of $500 to $1,000 may be imposed. Fines also apply in cases where defendants enter a nolo contendere (no contest) plea.

ScottyMacEsq :

A criminal case could be started within 2 years of the incident.

ScottyMacEsq :

Damage to property, in a civil matter, has a 4 year statute of limitations.

ScottyMacEsq :

So you could sue him (if he did not pay) within 4 years of the damage, even though you would be barred from pursuing criminal penalties after 2 years.

ScottyMacEsq :

But since you don't have an affirmative duty to report the incident, there's no "statute of limitation" to do so. Rather, the limitation is on the prosecution for bringing a case against him for driving without a license.

Customer:

Understood. Thank you very much. My concern is that he may "forget" to continue paying for the damage.

ScottyMacEsq :

You should get it in writing what he owes you, and keep good records of what he pays.

ScottyMacEsq :

He should sign the agreement that he will reimburse you for the damage, and you can pursue it in civil court under a contractual theory if he does not pay.

Customer:

By the way, can I force him to sell his boom-box, x-box, etc. to get money to help pay for the repairs?

Customer:

(He is not the most responsible person I've met, obviously.)

Customer:

Should I get the agreement notarized?

ScottyMacEsq :

By "force", you could tell him that you don't care how he pays it, but if he doesn't, your only other recourse would be to take him to court, etc...

ScottyMacEsq :

As for notarization, that is always nice to have, but is not necessary for a binding agreement.

ScottyMacEsq :

The only thing that it does is make it far more difficult to allege that a signature was forged.

Customer:

We also know he was drunk. Should I add that to the agreement and does it help me in any way?

Customer:

(He also has a court hearing in a couple of weeks for disorderly conduct and possession of pot.)

Customer:

(As you may tell, he is a great guy!)

ScottyMacEsq :

The problem with drinking and driving is proving it. Now it could be included in a "statement of the facts" part of the agreement (that is the part at the beginning of a contract that says "Whereas on the night of MM/DD/YY John Doe was driving... "

ScottyMacEsq :

Wow

ScottyMacEsq :

So the statement could, potentially, be used as a confession, but that's hard to say for certain and many judges would throw it out as the confession was obtained as part of a deal, and not necessarily a "true" statement against interest...

ScottyMacEsq :

Now if you can get him to "confess" that he was drinking and driving, that he was impaired, and that he was driving without a license, in writing and signed by him, you can say that so long as he abides by the contract, it will remain between you two.

ScottyMacEsq :

But if he doesn't, then the courts would have to get involved.

Customer:

OK. So, two separate documents. One for his confession and the other for the agreement to repay for the damages to the car, correct?

ScottyMacEsq :

You could do it in two separate documents, or in one. That's up to you. Again, the contract is so that he'll pay for the repairs, and if he doesn't, you can take him to court for that. What's actually in the contract is up to you.

Customer:

Thank you. This has been extremely helpful.

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you. Btw, are you in GA, by any chance?

ScottyMacEsq :

No, my office is in Texas, although as you can see I have familiarity with GA laws.

Customer:

No problem. I just asked because we have been talking about wills, etc., since GA (or TX for that matter) recognize same-sex unions... Thank you so much for your help on this and have a great 4th of July!

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, my pleasure, and to you as well!

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Scott,


 


I didn't see the "reply" box until now and sent you another "question".


 


I am interested in knowing if you could draft the agreement between my step-son and me. I would be happy to pay you for this service, of course.


 


Thanks and best regards,


 


--ov


 


Orlando Vanin

As much as I wish that I could draft that for you, unfortunately that would constitute legal representation (which is prohibited by the JustAnswer terms of service).

Now this agreement does not have to take any particular form. Rather, it just needs to be something clearly in writing that says "In exchange for [Name 1] choosing not to pursue charges for any crimes that may or may not have been committed by {Name 2] and for waiving any rights that [Name 1] may otherwise have relating to the underlying actions this agreement pertains to (namely the accident occurring on X date), [Name 2] agrees to pay $X in full by MM/DD/YYYY. If [Name 2] fails to strictly comply with this agreement and pay in full, he shall be in breach and [Name 1] will have any and all rights restored."

Then you can both sign it, and that will be binding.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!