What Is Restitution Fee?

What Is Restitution Fee?

Do you know what is restitution fee is? Does every person have to pay the restitution fee? Is it similar to the normal school fees of the students? Calm down, I will tell you about what is restitution fee is in my today’s post. Types, eligibility criteria, and consequences of restitution are also explained over here. We have even covered how the restitution amount is calculated and where it is sent in short. Make sure you do not forget to check out the expenses covered during restitution criminal justice. Now, without wasting your time let us understand what is restitution fee in-depth.

What Is Restitution Fee?

A restitution fee is an amount paid by the individual to compensate the victim of their crime for their loss or injury. It may include property loss, medical bills, home, and car repairs, insurance deductibles, and so on. This fee allows the victim to repair the harm created by their actions.

However, restitution fees are only imposed when:

  • The court finds it is necessary for rehabilitation
  • The victim’s financial loss is directly related to the offender’s crime.

You can keep on reading to know more about what is restitution fee in detail.

Types Of Restitution

There are a total of three types of restitution fees which are as follows.

  • Restitution Fines

Restitution fines are addressed by the penal code §1202.4. It usually ranges between $200 and $10,000. Here, the judge will decide which particular amount you need to pay. 

  • Parole Revocation Fines

Next, parole revocation fines are addressed by the penal code §1202.45. It has the same amount as the original restitution fine. This fine is imposed if you violate parole.

  • Direct Orders

Direct orders are specifically derived for victim losses due to crimes committed against them. It can range in any dollar amount decided by the judge.

Note: If the offender is found guilty in multiple cases, then the judge can charge him with all three types of restitution in each case.

How Are Restitution Payments Calculated?

Restitution payments can be calculated in the following simple way.

  1. First, the victims need to provide necessary documents that state the value of items that has be stolen or damaged. This can include bills, receipts, or any financial statements.
  2. Your documentation will then go to the court in the hands of either the judge or hearing officer.
  3. Either one of them will verify the claim and calculate the actual amount you owe.
  4. Your case can also go to the Intake Conference, where the Intake or Probation Officer will calculate the amount.

However, individuals can also discuss their concerns with an attorney if they disagree with the restitution amount. Continue reading to learn more about what is restitution fee.

Factors To Be Considered While Calculating Restitution Fees

Every court needs to consider some legal elements while determining the amount of restitution. Below, I have listed down some elements the judge needs to consider before finalizing the restitution fees. 

  • Type of loss suffered by the victim.
  • Determine the seriousness and gravity of the criminal activity.
  • Current Financial status of the defendant.
  • The Offender’s future ability to pay the restitution fee.
  • The actual amount that was stolen by the offender.

Where Are The Restitution Payments Sent?

The restitution payments are sent to the Country’s District Courts either through check or money orders. Individuals can also make payments directly to their Probation Office by paying in person instead of by mail.

Expenses Covered In Restitution Payment Plan

By now you must have understood what is restitution fee. Now, let us see which expenses are considered while calculating restitution amounts.

  • Funeral Expenses

Mostly in homicide cases, funeral expenses are considered while calculating restitution amounts.

  • Lost Wages

The victim can ask for restitution for their lost wages if they missed their work because of injuries from a criminal act.

  • Medical And Counselling Expenses

Most states allow restitution to cover medical expenses such as hospital costs, physical therapy, and rehabilitation care. Even counseling expenses for victims and their family members are included in restitution.

  • Damaged Or Stolen Property

Courts can order restitution for replacing or repairing any property damage that occurred because of the criminal act.

Restitution Fee Eligibility Criteria

Here, I have divided the eligibility criteria for restitution into four sections.

  1. Direct Victims

Generally, restitution fees are paid to those who are directly affected by the crime. These victims are considered as direct victims who can be an individual, partnerships, or corporations.

  1. Indirect Victims

For example, consider a murder case of a family. All the surviving members of the family are considered indirect victims who can receive restitution.

  1. Third Parties

Several culprits are found in third parties such as service agencies or government entities. In such cases, the court orders the defendant to pay restitution fees for damages from their criminal activity.

  1. The Government

If there is no victim in the crime, then the crime is declared a victimless crime. This can happen in the case of drug offenses, prostitution, and welfare fraud. Here, the culprit is ordered to pay restitution to the government.

Consequences Of Not Paying Restitution Fees

Offenders who failed to pay their restitution fees can face some serious consequences. Below, I have listed down some possible consequences for not paying restitution fees on the scheduled time.

  • The court can send you for detention at Shuman Center.
  • The court can impose a judgment lien against your property. This means you can’t sell or transfer your property until the dues are paid.
  • A civil suit can be filed against you by the victim for not paying the fees.
  • Your probation supervision might get extended.
  • You can be placed in weekend or residential programs.
  • A wage attachment is added to your bank account where the money is directly deducted from your pay check.

How To Pay Restitution Fee If I Don’t Have A Job?

If you don’t have a job to pay the restitution fee, you can talk to your Probation Officer to assist you in finding a job. He might arrange some jobs in community service such as cutting grass, raking leaves, or shoveling snow. You can even participate in Stipened programs to earn money.

FAQ

How Do I Check My Restitution Balance?

You can check your restitution balance by looking into your balance sheet provided by your district court. Otherwise, you can even contact the Adult Restitution Agent at CDCR Office of Victim & Survivor Rights Restitution Unit at (877) 256-6877.

What Is An Example Of Restitution?

You can consider the following example of restitution for reference.

  • A theft is ordered to repay the cost of a stolen item to the store owner in the form of a restitution fee.
  • After a violent assault, the offender has to pay a restitution fee for the victim’s medical expenses.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Back Restitution?

As an offender, you have to pay back restitution for 20 years beyond the period of imprisonment.

How Much Will I Have To Pay In Restitution?

There is no specific restitution amount as it is decided based on the crime done by you. You can consider the following elements to roughly calculate the restitution fee by yourself.

  • Type of loss suffered by the victim.
  • Determine the seriousness and gravity of the criminal activity.
  • Your Current Financial status to pay the restitution fee.
  • The actual amount that was stolen by the offender.

What Is A Restitution Bill?

A restitution bill is an order imposed on the offender to pay any financial losses suffered by the victim during the crime.

What Is Restitution Fee For Theft?

A restitution fee for theft is the money paid by the defendant to the victim for losses that occurred due to the crime.

Can I Pay The Restitution Fee Directly To The Victim?

No, you are not allowed to pay the restitution fee directly to the victim. Your payments must always be done through the Juvenile Court Restitution Department via check, cash, or money orders.

Can My Parents Pay The Restitution Fee For Me?

Yes, your parents can pay the restitution fee for you. Such a situation only happens if you are too young to work. But it is advised to pay the full amount back to your parents as the crime is committed by you.

How Is Restitution Calculated?

Restitution is calculated by totaling the financial losses suffered by the victim of a crime. Different states use different systems. Restitution usually includes things like property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and other costs.

Conclusion

In my above article, I have explained what is restitution fee in detail. A restitution fee is an amount paid by the individual to compensate the victim of their crime for their loss or injury. It is calculated by the court based on the loss suffered by the victim, the seriousness of the criminal activity, and more. This fee is charged for certain offenses such as crimes against elders, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, drunk driving, and identity fraud. These payments are sent to the Country’s District Courts either through check or money orders. As a law student, that’s all you need to know about what is restitution fee.

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