There is more than one way to impose financial obligations on someone convicted of a crime. Victim restitution has been around for a while but many of those arrested may be unfamiliar with how it works. To find out more, read on.

Who Are the Victims of Crime?

You might be surprised to learn that even so-called victimless crimes can garner restitution penalties. The goal of restitution, after all, is to make things right again for those impacted by a crime. Everyone acknowledges that no amount of money can cover all the negative effects of a crime, but restitution might help make things easier on the victim, their families, and others. The victim of a crime might be a person who was kidnapped or it might be the family of a murder victim. Also, it can be a business entity. Fraud perpetrated on a business may result in an order to make restitution to that business. Government agencies are not an exception here either. For example, consider how much money is spent on a search for a missing person who is just hiding out and seeking attention.

Determining Restitution

When it comes to how much is owed in restitution, part of the answer comes from the crime itself. If the victim lost a thousand dollars in a theft, the restitution will reflect that sum. That is only the beginning of what makes up a restitution order, though. Take a look at this list of some of the issues that can be covered by court-ordered restitution:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Counseling
  • Lost income from a job
  • Crime scene clean-up costs

You've Been Accused of a Crime

You need to take serious and aggressive action now and seek the help of a criminal defense attorney at once. Just being charged with a crime does not mean it's time to give up and let things happen to you. All criminal cases have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and your lawyer's job is to instill doubt in the minds of the jury. The case against you is only as good as the evidence they hold against you and that evidence could be weak or even non-existent. Don't let things get to the point where you are discussing restitution—take action now and speak to a criminal defense lawyer about your case before it's too late to fight the charges. 

If you have more questions, reach out to a criminal lawyer in your area.