If you've found yourself arrested and charged with a crime, you'll be very interested in the potential penalties you might face if convicted. For certain categories of crimes, you might be ordered to directly pay a victim or their family as a result of being found guilty. Read below to find out more about victim restitution.
When it comes to victim restitution, the victim may not necessarily be a person. If found guilty of a crime against the government or a business, a defendant could be ordered to make amends to that entity just the same. Defendants may be held responsible for the loss of taxpayer dollars for crimes like fraud and theft. For example, if you are found guilty of filing a false police report, you could be ordered to pay restitution to the law enforcement agencies that spent time and money on an investigation or a search.
Uses of Restitution
When appropriate, restitution is used to cover the direct expenses associated with the crime. To give you a better idea of what restitution might be used for, see the below list:
- Final expenses might go to the loved ones of a homicide victim.
- Lost wages might go to the victim of an assault.
- Reimbursement for lost property for a home invasion victim.
- Medical expenses for a gunshot victim.
- Psychological counseling to help a victim or their survivors cope with trauma.
- Crime scene clean-up for victims.
Will You Owe Restitution?
Not all crimes call for this type of punishment so consult with your criminal defense lawyer about the potential in your situation. In many cases, the determination for restitution is based on these and other factors:
- Defendant's financial status – No matter your income level, you can be ordered to pay restitution. However, if the defendant has "deep pockets", it can influence restitution and the amount ordered to pay victims.
- Financial connections – Crimes that are directly related to financial gain by the perpetrator may be more likely to be subject to restitution. In other words, if you defrauded your employer of thousands of dollars, you are more than likely to be ordered to pay that money back. In addition, violent crimes like robbery may prompt restitution to a victim even when the financial losses appear to be minor.
In many criminal cases, plea bargains are common. Be sure to discuss the restitution issue with your attorney and whether or not restitution should be a consideration before you sign the agreement. Speak with your criminal defense lawyer to find out more. Companies like The Bregman Law Firm, P.C. can help.