In M.L. v. State, 838 N.E.2d 525, 529 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), trans. denied, we held that the trial court must make a determination of the juvenile’s ability to pay even if the juvenile entered into a plea agreement “in which he agreed to make restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court.” We further held that “leaving the amount of restitution to the discretion of the trial court is not tantamount to waiving one’s right to have the trial court inquire into his or her ability to pay.” Id. at 529-30. This is because “while the trial court had the discretion to set the amount of restitution, it was constrained
by principles of equal protection and fundamental fairness to set such an amount within M.L.’s ability to pay because restitution was made a condition of probation.” Id. at 530. However, we noted that:
We may have reached a different conclusion had M.L. agreed to pay a specific amount of restitution rather than leaving the amount of restitution to the discretion of the juvenile court. In such a case, it could fairly be said that the defendant has waived his right to have the court inquire into his ability to pay, and, in fact, has acknowledged his ability to pay the specified amount. These facts are not before us, and therefore we need not decide this issue.
Id. at 530 n. 9.
Here, we have the facts that M.L. addressed and the issue that it did not decide. P.J. entered into a plea agreement where he agreed to pay a specific amount of restitution instead of leaving the amount to the discretion of the juvenile court. We conclude that it can fairly be said that P.J. has waived his right to have the juvenile court inquire into his ability to pay, as he has acknowledged such ability in his plea agreement.
Waiver notwithstanding, we observe that the juvenile court accepted the plea, and it was therefore strictly bound by the plea’s sentencing provisions and precluded from exercising discretion to determine the amount of restitution. See Allen v. State, 865 N.E.2d 686, 689 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007) (holding that when a court accepts a fixed plea agreement, it is bound by the agreement’s terms). We further observe that, unlike in M.L., the restitution order is part of the sentence, rather than a condition of probation. In such a situation, the juvenile court is not required to inquire into the juvenile’s ability to pay. M.L., 838 N.E.2d at 529 (citing Ladd v. State, 710 N.E.2d 188, 192 Ind. Ct. App. 5
1999). “In such a situation, restitution is merely a money judgment, and a [juvenile] cannot be imprisoned for nonpayment.” Id.
FRIEDLANDER, J., and VAIDIK, J., concur.