Restitution is the term for the court requiring a defendant to compensate the victim for losses suffered during the commission of the defendant’s crime. Courts are required to consider restitution at all sentencing hearings, including those that come as the result of plea bargain – even if the victim of the crime did not ask for it.
Keep reading to learn more about the difference between restitution and fines, when restitution is most commonly ordered, and other facts about this type of punishment. Then contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 if you need a free legal consultation with an attorney.
The difference between restitution and fines
Restitution and fines may both be financial costs that a defendant is required to pay as part of their sentence for a criminal offense, but fines are for specific, predetermined amounts and are paid to the court. The purpose is to punish the defendant. However, restitution is paid to the victim and the purpose is to repay them for their loses.
Situations in Which Restitution May Be Ordered
There are a number of situations in which the court may include restitution as part of a criminal case including a case in which the court considers it necessary for the victim to become rehabilitated, the victim’s financial losses are the direct result of the crime committed, and the victim needs the funds to be “whole” again.
In theft cases and fraud cases, the courts almost always include restitution as part of the sentence. Likewise, restitution is mandatory for certain offenses, which may include crimes against the elderly, sexual assault, child abuse, child sexual abuse, drunk driving, hate crimes, and identity theft.
Not Everyone is Eligible for Restitution
In most cases, restitution is paid to direct victims. That is, it is paid to the person who directly suffered an injury or loss due to the crime. In the event of a financial crime, the victim can be a person, a partnership, a corporation, or another entity.
There are cases in which others can be eligible for restitution. For example, an indirect victim in a murder case, such as the surviving members of the family, are eligible for restitution. Third parties who have provided recovery to the victim, such as victim service agencies, can also be owed restitution.
Do You Need a Legal Opinion About Your Specific Case?
We have provided general information about restitution but if you need more specific information about your unique case, then the next call should be to Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252. We are standing by to listen to your story, consider the evidence, and offer our honest assessment of your options. Don’t wait – call us today and let’s move forward together.