How Does Restitution Work in an NYC Criminal Case
If you get convicted of a crime chances are that jail time and fines won’t be your only punishment. Often, courts will ask you to pay restitution as well.
Restitution is often associated with fraud or theft, but those aren’t the only crimes where it may be ordered. It can be ordered as part of the sentencing for any crime.
How is restitution calculated?
It is determined by calculating the victim’s out-of-pocket losses.
Restitution can be used to pay a victim’s medical bills, counseling expenses, loss of earnings, and the replacement of stolen or damaged property. It may also cover property damage repairs, the cost of moving away from the defendant, funeral expenses, and any other out-of-pocket expenses that might have arisen directly from the commission of the crime.
It is not levied for pain and suffering or future losses. Note that asking for restitution does not keep the victim from seeking compensation with a civil case.
Is restitution automatically applied to sentencing?
Victims must request restitution by contacting the DA’s office. It’s not automatic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare to see it added to your sentence in the event that you are convicted of a crime.
Restitution may also be part of a plea deal, and at times agreeing to pay restitution can be part of a deal structured to keep you out of jail.
What is the difference between restitution and a fine?
Restitution is paid to the victim. Fines are paid to the state.
How can you avoid paying restitution?
Obviously the best thing to do to avoid paying restitution is to avoid being convicted of a crime. Yet it’s also worth knowing that you can object to the amount of restitution, and can ask the Court to consider your ability to pay. Note this rarely sways the courts: restitution is taken even from inmates by deducting it from deposits in your trust account or any wages you earn while in jail.
If you’re in trouble, take it seriously. Being convicted of a crime can ruin your life in more ways than one: such as by saddling you with a major debt at the exact time in your life when you are going to be least equipped to pay it. Not only will you face jail time, you’ll also face difficulties getting work once you get out of jail. You may even have trouble staying out of jail, as failing to pay restitution is often treated as a probation violation, even if you have no real ability to pay.
Reach out to the Neil Ruskin Law Firm to get help today. 40 years of experience won’t steer you wrong, and could help you protect your freedom and future.