Restitution in Criminal Cases – What it Is and What it Isn’t

Restitution is an amount of money paid by someone convicted of a criminal offense. The purpose of restitution is to compensate a crime victim for actual losses incurred as a result of criminal activity. Importantly, restitution is not meant to compensate a crime victim for pain and suffering, hurt feelings, or other non-measurable losses. Only losses that are documented can be reimbursed through restitution.


Don’t get taken advantage of in restitution orders.

If a crime victim’s losses are covered by insurance, the victim has no right to claim restitution for any amount other than out of pocket expenses like deductibles. An insurance company can make a restitution claim, but this is rarely if ever done.

If more than one person is convicted of a criminal offense, a restitution order will be “joint and several” among the participants, meaning each person ordered to pay restitution will get credit for monies paid by others, and vice-versa. This sometimes means that one participant will may most or sometimes all of the restitution ordered in a particular case.

We have seen lots of instances of people ordered to pay excessive amounts of restitution, restitution that should have been covered by insurance, and restitution that is not documented. That situation is just wrong.

Call our office now to set up a consultation and discuss your case with one of our experienced lawyers. We can help with any type of situation involving criminal justice.

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