Thursday, April 3, 2014

Restitution as a result of a criminal offense

If there are damages to property or to a person as a result of a criminal offense the Court will impose restitution as a condition of sentencing. This means the criminal offender is responsible for paying the damages incurred. For example, if a DUI offender injures another person or damages another person's car in the commission of the crime, he or she will be held responsible for paying the costs to repair the car or for the person's medical treatment. 

This is separate from a personal injury lawsuit, in which punitive damages, or damages for pain and suffering can be recovered. Restitution is generally limited to the specific financial loss of the alleged victim. 

If a person is facing sentencing in a case in which restitution is a possibility he or she should hire an attorney to double check the costs. It is not uncommon for an alleged victim to inflate his or her costs in a restitution hearing and it should be checked for accuracy. The restitution hearing is the only chance to challenge the amounts claimed. Failure to pay restitution can result in additional criminal issues, not just a judgment as failure to pay a personal injury lawsuit. 

Restitution is not normally covered by insurance, but if the alleged victim has made a claim to the offender's insurance company that will usually be considered by the court. However, it is important to remember that issue must be raised at the hearing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment