Restitution Law – What it is, How to Avoid it, and Tips on Asking for It

Restitution Law

In any kind of case involving money, restitution law comes into play. So there are many questions that someone can ask, like how does restitution law work? Why do we need it? And so many other questions. Sit back and relax. These questions and more will be answered as we take a more in-depth look at restitution law. 

What is Restitution Law?

Restitution law is an area in the law that allows a convicted person to pay some money to the victim or victims for damages suffered due to the event. Restitution may be ordered as part of a sentence, as a condition of parole, or probation. You should also keep in mind that in some states, restitution is considered a remedy that compensates the plaintiff, and in other states, it can also be a legal claim. 

What is Restitution Law

Why do we need it 

Restitution law is all about compensation. Any person who obtains illegal gains must provide a certain amount of payment for the loss. There are several circumstances under which persons may be required to pay restitution. For example, when someone profits at the expense of another, someone experiences unjust enrichment by stealing money or property from another person or a breach of fiduciary duty. All these are considered unfair gains and can be a cause for a restitution case.

How does it work

Restitution law can include civil as well as criminal cases. For example, an individual may need to provide restitution in a civil matter if sued for breach of contract. In criminal cases, the judge can order a thief to provide restitution if he breaks into a business and steals merchandise. Providing reimbursement may take the form of a return of the stolen goods or cash payment to allow the company to replace what was stolen. Thus, persons are required to pay restitution in various situations.

Let’s picture this scenario, person A stole something from person B and then gets rid of that property. Person A, however, ran out of money to replace person B’s property. So person B goes to court and tells the judge about the situation and says, “ Will you make person A pay restitution to me because I’ve lost a lot, and I need him to pay for the loss that he has caused me. Sometimes, however, the restitution amount person A has to pay is expensive, and he doesn’t have that amount of money to pay back. So there is a rule that declares that restitution has to be ordered, except if it is unworkable—considering the person’s financial status.

Person A’s defense lawyer can assert his claim to the court and ask for a finding that the restitution will be unworkable. The court may make a finding that the restitution amount is unworkable, and the judge may either lower the amount or even get rid of the amount altogether. 

How does restitution work

Is there a way to avoid it

Restitution sometimes can’t be avoided. For example, suppose someone must pay restitution but can’t financially, and the judge is threatening to send the defendant to jail. In that case, that person can demand an ability to pay hearing to declare their financial situation, which can be a loss of a job or if they’re paying child support. 

What are the consequences of not complying with an order for restitution? 

Not complying with an order for restitution can lead to various consequences. The defendant may face 

  1. Collections
  2. Garnished wages
  3. Liens
  4. Civil lawsuits
  5. Loss of driver’s license

A defendant should also keep in mind that declaring bankruptcy may not dismiss the fact that they still legally have to pay restitution.  Furthermore, depending on the period of sentencing, the court may remand the defendant to jail. 

Can Defendants give Restitution Money to the victim?

Defendants do not pay restitution money to victims. Instead, the money is to be submitted to the court, and then it will be forwarded to the victims. 

Can Defendants give Restitution Money

Tips on asking for Restitution Money

When asking for restitution, you should have receipts or any other documentation that will support each of your losses. Be sure to put all receipts together in one log; this will help. However, if you haven’t done so, you and your attorney or advocate can work through it together. 

Who can enforce orders for restitution and how they go about doing so

Executing demands for restitution on behalf of victims can only be done by the United States government. For example, suppose a victim has proof of the defendant’s sources of income or assets, and the defendant fails to pay restitution. In that case, the victim can take that information to the United States department of justice, and then they will assist the plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff can obtain a document called an abstract of judgment that can be downloaded from any court’s website.

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