Making Restitution: An Enhanced Penalty

Posted on: 3 July 2019

A relatively new form of punishment for criminal acts has slowly crept into sentencing guidelines. Restitution is a financial payment made to the victims or to the next of kin of victims and is owed by the convicted perpetrator of the crime. If you have been arrested, being aware of what you are facing in terms of punishment is very important. Read on and speak to your defense attorney about victim restitution.

Restitution Situations

Not all crimes come with restitution, but it pays to find out about this issue ahead of time. Even crimes that appear to target government entities, for instance, could bring with it restitution if you are convicted. The loss of taxpayer dollars can bring the need to pay restitution to a city, county, state, or federal institution that was defrauded, for example. In more obvious cases, victims or their loved ones can be the recipient of money for crimes perpetrated against them.

IHow Much Should be Paid?

Take a look at some factors that go into whether or not someone convicted of a crime should pay and how much the payment should be.

The financial connection to the crime. In some cases, the crime itself is connected to financial gain. Robbery and fraud are two examples of a financial crime. In many cases, the defendant might be ordered to repay the money or property that was stolen to make the victim "whole".

Victim restitution is not reserved for only serious crimes. A mugging and the loss of a wallet can prompt the order for restitution. Serious crimes, however, like murder, rape, and kidnapping, could prompt victim restitution of far greater amounts.

Another important factor is the defendants financial status. Just being poor is no reason to avoid restitution but victims of wealthy perpetrators can expect greater sums of money than that from the destitute.

What Does Restitution Cover?

There are no restrictions on how the funds a victim receives through restitution are used. That being said, the following factors are often used to determine the amount owed to the victim by the perpetrator:

  • Medical costs for the treatment of the victim.
  • Mental health costs for therapy for the victim.
  • Clean-up for the crime scene expenses.
  • Funeral and burial expenses for the victim's loved ones.
  • Lost wages for any time out of work due to the crime.
  • Any lost property as a result of the crime.

If you are offered a plea bargain, be sure you fully understand this aspect of the punishment and the amount you will owe. Speak to criminal defense attorneys like those at Jacobs & Barbone P A to find out more about this and other information about your case.