A criminal conviction can lead to a number of consequences, including incarceration, community service, probation, and fines. Many defendants are surprised to learn that they will also be ordered to pay restitution after a conviction. What is restitution? When will you have to pay it? Here’s what you need to know:
What is Restitution?
Restitution is money that defendants must pay to victims in order to compensate them for any losses they experienced as a result of the defendant’s crime.
When Are Defendants Ordered to Pay Restitution?
Restitution is one of many consequences that a judge considers when deciding how to sentence a defendant for his crimes. However, not all defendants will be ordered to pay restitution. Defendants are only ordered to pay restitution when the losses the victim has suffered are directly related to the crime that was committed.
For example, a defendant who is convicted of theft will most likely be ordered to compensate the victim for the items that were stolen. The amount that the defendant is ordered to pay will typically be the value of the stolen property.
However, crime victims must file a Victim Impact Statement with the District Attorney’s office in order to ask the court for restitution. In this statement, the victim is required to show proof of the losses he has suffered. If this statement is not filed, he is not entitled to restitution.
What If A Defendant Cannot Afford to Pay Restitution?
You will not be required to pay the restitution all at once. The court will create a payment schedule for the defendant that outlines how much needs to be paid and when it should be paid. All payments will be made to the court, which will then process the payment and send it to the victim.
If you miss any payments, the court has the authority to collect the money in other ways. For instance, the judge can issue a wage garnishment order, which means a portion of each of your paychecks will be sent directly to the court. A judge can also intercept tax refunds or put a lien on your property. In some cases, the court may decide to revoke your probation or suspend your driver’s license as punishment for missing restitution payments. To avoid these penalties, it’s important to stay on schedule and make all required payments.
Restitution is just one of the many consequences of a criminal conviction that can affect your future. Protect your future by seeking legal representation from the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm. Throughout the legal process, we will aggressively fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.