Restitution is often a part of a sentence that a defendant receives in a criminal case. The judge usually orders that the defendant make the victims of the crime whole by restoring them to where they were before the crime occurred. The Texas Constitution guarantees restitution to crime victims.
Depending on the nature of the crime, restitution can take different forms. The most common type of restitution is financial compensation for any losses that the victim has suffered. Restitution can include direct economic losses and any damages that resulted from the criminal act. For instance, in the case of a theft, the defendant may be responsible for reimbursing an amount of money equivalent to the value of the stolen property to the owner. In a case in which a victim has sustained physical or emotional injuries, the court may order the defendant to reimburse the victim for medical bills and counseling costs.
Victims must expressly request restitution be paid to them in criminal cases. They do not have the right to bring independent suits against defendants for restitution. Instead, the prosecutor must request restitution on behalf of the victim in the context of the criminal prosecution.
The amount of restitution varies depending on the nature of the case and the amount of damages involved. The defendant and victim may agree on the value of the restitution to be paid. Probation officers typically perform a presentence investigation in a criminal case, which, in part, gives information about the defendant’s ability to pay restitution. If the amount of restitution is in dispute, the court can hold a separate hearing so that the State and the defendant can present evidence about the appropriate value of the restitution to be paid.
At Peek & Toland, we care about helping you through your criminal proceedings. We will focus our efforts on advocating on your behalf and representing your interests throughout your case. Our knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers know the best strategies for defending you and working toward your desired objective. Allow us to handle your criminal case by sitting down with us today and discussing your situation.