Restitution Eligibility And Factors Considered
If you are facing criminal charges, you should be aware of the possibility of restitution demands from you. Criminal restitution involves a criminal offender paying the victims of your crimes for the harm your criminal actions caused them. Below are the eligibility factors for restitution, and factors that determine the restitution amount.
Not everyone can claim restitution for a crime. The circumstances of the case determine whether you are entitled to restitution. Below are the major parties that typically claim restitution, and the circumstances under which they get the award.
Direct victims of crimes are almost always guaranteed restitution. For example, if the police catch a burglar who stole money from your business, the burglar owes you restitution.
Third parties are not always entitled to restitution, but there are exceptions. For example, the family members of the victim of a fatal crime can get restriction for the loss of their loved one. Third parties, such as insurance carriers, may also get restitution after they have compensated the victim of the crime.
The government may get restitution for victimless crimes. Examples of such crimes include prostitution, drug crimes, and welfare fraud. In such cases, the government will use the money for the benefit of the affected community.
Here are some of the factors courts consider when determining restitution.
As the victim of a crime, your losses are the biggest determinant of the amount of restitution you deserve. For example, if a crime has cost you a million dollars, you deserve at least that much — but other factors below also come into play.
In many jurisdictions, the court will also consider the criminal's ability to pay. Some courts deem it useless to order a criminal to pay millions of dollars as restitution if the criminal can only afford a few thousand dollars.
Courts also consider criminal gains because no one should benefit from crime. If someone commits fraud and nets a hundred thousand dollars, they should pay at least that much as restitution.
The Gravity of the Offense
Serious crimes tend to attract higher restitution amounts than 'minor' crimes. For example, a murderer might be ordered to pay more restitution than a shoplifter.
As you can see, the effects and penalties of a criminal case are dire. Don't gamble with your case — consult an experienced criminal defendant to help you present a strong defense and hopefully avoid penalties such as restitution.
To know more about facing criminal charges, contact a criminal defense lawyer near you.