What is Restitution?
Restitution is compensation paid to a victim by the perpetrator of a criminal offense for the losses or injuries incurred as a result of the criminal offense. It must be ordered by the Court at the time of sentencing, and is considered part of the sentence. Restitution may include, but is not limited to, reimbursement for medical bills, counseling expenses, loss of earnings and the replacement of stolen or damaged property.
Restitution is NOT for payment of damages for future losses, mental anguish or "pain and suffering". When the District Attorney's (DA) office advises the Court that you the victim have requested restitution, the Court must order restitution unless the interests of justice dictate otherwise.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO RESTITUTION?
Anyone who has been the victim of a criminal offense and has suffered injuries, economic losses or damages can seek restitution. Many times, victims who deserve restitution do not request it. This can occur because victims are not aware that they are entitled to restitution, or do not know what steps to take to go about receiving the restitution they deserve.
HOW DO I ASK FOR RESTITUTION?
You must contact the DA's office and advise them of the extent of your injury, your out-of-pocket losses and the amount of damages you are requesting.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to provide the DA and the victim assistance program copies of the bills and other documents showing the extent of your injuries, your out-of-pocket losses and the amount of damages you want considered by the Court.
Be sure to:
- Keep accurate records such as original receipts of any expenses you have as a direct result of the criminal offense.
- Provide copies of these receipts to the DA as soon as possible.
You need to clearly explain your need for restitution as soon as possible to the DA and the victim assistance program. If this information is not provided before sentencing, you may have to pursue restitution in Civil Court.
HOW IS RESTITUTION DETERMINED?
The amount of restitution is based on proof of your out-of-pocket losses incurred as a result of the criminal offense. The perpetrator has a right to object to the amount of restitution. The Court may hold a hearing on the issue of restitution. The DA's office may contact you and ask you to testify at the restitution hearing.
WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO RECEIVE MY RESTITUTION MONEY?
Restitution payments are usually made to the local probation department by the perpetrator at the conclusion of the criminal case once the Judge has made a determination as to the amount. Payments are based on the amount ordered and disbursed according to the schedule of payments in the restitution order. The local probation department will then send a check to you accordingly.
You must furnish the local probation department with your current address. Always notify the probation department of any change of address.