In today’s episode Chuck talks about restitution. He explains what it is and how it works, and how it can impact someone if they are convicted of a criminal offense.

Restitution Video Transcript

Hi folks, today I am going to talk about restitution.

Restitution is part of a criminal matter. Let’s say you have been charged with a DUI and that you happened to hit somebody. When you hit them, you caused damage to their vehicle. Because of that, they end up spending $20 out of their own pocket to fix that damage. You then, as the defendant in a criminal matter,  may be ordered to pay restitution. The limit, or the cap on that is $10,000**. Now, that doesn’t go to say that your insurance wont pay it, and they will if you have automobile liability insurance pursuant to Arizona law which you have to have.

Restitution is limited to out of pocket expenses. It is not pain and suffering tied to that other person or anything like that, consequential damages. It is out of pocket only. If you end up getting charged with a crime and you do cause damages, and that person incurs expenses that are not covered; or sometimes even if it is covered by insurance, but they still have to come out of pocket with lets say a copay, or deductibles, things like that from their insurance. You are responsible for that.

On the other hand, if you are the victim, you are entitled to restitution of your out of pocket expenses for what somebody did if it is a criminal matter. Not just blowing through a stop light or sign or speeding. I’m talking about a criminal matter; like reckless driving, exhibition of speed, DUI, an accident with serious physical injuries or death, which seems to be quite common now, especially on motorcycles. That is a class two misdemeanor, by the way. That person may be having to pay your your out of pocket expenses over and above whatever their insurance company has paid you.

Even if you have settled up with their insurance company and received money for your pain and suffering, you are still going to have out of pocket expenses. Nobody is ever going to be totally compensated. Then that person will end up paying you pursuant to a court order, probably $20 a month or something until it is paid off after 3 years of probation and then it will be reduced to a civil judgement.

That’s really the way restitution works. It is very seldom that you see a defendant walk into a court room and cut a check for $10,000 for the victim of his crime. It happens but it happens very seldom. Anyways, it is important to understand that restitution is just for out of pocket expenses of the victim. Also, the prosecutor that is trying to get you the restitution is not your lawyer. They are the state’s lawyer. So they really can’t do for you what your own attorney would do relative to the restitution.

They are sort of going to bat for you and they help facilitate the issue of restitution, but they are not your attorney. So don’t treat them as your lawyer and don’t think that they are your attorney, because they are not. They are still the attorney for the state; prosecuting the bad guy. Hope that  explains it to you, thank you.

**Restitution is capped at 10,000.00 on certain misdemeanor criminal offenses. There is no cap on Felony restitution orders.