If you have been accused of a criminal offense, it might help to understand what might happen. It's very difficult to make decisions about important issues like plea bargains and seeking a jury trial without having a good idea of what consequences you might be facing if you are found guilty. When it comes to punishing people for crimes, there might be more than court costs and fines at stake. Read on to learn more about what criminal restitution means and what it is meant to cover.
Will restitution be ordered in your case?
Awarding the victims of crimes with money has become more and more common, and there is a very good chance that your sentence will include making payments to the victims of the crime you were convicted of committing. The funds might be made to an individual, family members, a government agency, or to a business, depending on the nature of the crime. Some issues that determine the potential for restitution and the amount that you are ordered to pay include:
- The amount of losses by the victim.
- The seriousness of the crime.
- The circumstances of the crime.
- The gain the crime offered to the defendant.
- The defendant's ability to pay.
What is criminal restitution meant to cover?
The following is a list of just a few of the many issues that restitution can cover in criminal cases.
1. Medical expenses: Almost any medical need can be considered, from hospitalizations to ongoing physical therapy. In some cases, the health insurance carrier for the victim can receive reimbursement as part of the restitution ordered.
2. Mental health therapy: Funds to be applied to therapy are common for victims and often for the family members if the victim died as a result of a crime.
3. Funeral expenses: Burial, funeral, and estate costs may be ordered to be paid in many homicide cases.
3. Lost wages: If a victim was unable to work at their jobs, then they are eligible to be paid back for any hours or days missed as a result of dealing with either medical, mental, material, or legal actions connected to a crime in which they were the victim.
4. Clean-up expenses: If the crime resulted in damage or hazards to a home or business, restitution can pay for repairs and the cleaning required. For example, methamphetamine manufacturing that has caused a homeowner to have an affected property may need to be cleaned of contaminants before it can be habitable.
The unique circumstances of your case will dictate the issue of restitution, so speak to your criminal defense lawyer today and know what you could be facing.