Paying Restitution: What You Need to Know

DuPage County criminal defense lawyer restitutionWhen you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you are typically facing numerous penalties. One of these might be having to pay restitution to the party harmed by your alleged actions. Restitution, like fines, can put you in a financially difficult position. To improve your chance of having your charge reduced or even dismissed, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Restitution Is Not a Fine

Many people do not understand the difference between restitution and a fine. However, the difference is actually quite simple: fines are monies paid to the government when an individual is convicted of a criminal offense. Illinois law designates the fine value an individual must pay for his or her conviction.

Restitution is money paid to an individual or a business who suffers financially because of a convicted individual’s actions. Paying a victim restitution is not the same as paying for the victim’s damages. The primary difference between restitution and damages is that restitution is paid when a defendant is convicted, whereas damages are paid when a defendant is deemed liable for a victim’s civil losses.

What Restitution Covers

Restitution can cover any of a crime victim’s losses related to the defendant’s actions. These may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • The cost of hiring a lawyer
  • Therapy costs
  • Out-of-pocket financial losses, such as money lost through a scam
  • Lost wages
  • Insurance deductibles
  • Damaged or destroyed personal property
  • Expenses related to the case, such as childcare and travel expenses
  • Expenses directly related to the incident, such as cleaning up the crime scene

How Restitution Is Calculated

Unlike the amounts of fines for specific offenses, restitution amounts are not written into law. Rather, whether a convicted defendant is required to pay restitution – and if so, the amount he or she is required to pay – is determined at the court’s discretion. When the court determines whether to require a defendant to pay restitution and how much it requires him or her to pay, it considers the specific financial losses the victim suffered because of the defendant’s actions. A defendant may be required to pay restitution when he or she is convicted of one of the following:

The court may require the convicted defendant to pay full or partial restitution. Paying restitution may be a condition of a convicted individual’s probation or parole.

Contact a Geneva Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing a criminal charge that could lead to you being required to pay restitution to one or more victims, it is in your best interests to start working on a legal defense strategy with an experienced Naperville criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today by calling 630-232-1780 to schedule your initial legal consultation, during which we can discuss your case in greater detail and determine the most effective way to handle it.