Are you facing criminal charges in Arizona? If you are and there happened
to be a victim in your crime; for example, someone who was injured because
of your actions, it’s possible the state will order you to pay what’s
called “victim restitution.” But what is victim restitution
exactly and under what circumstances are defendants expected to pay it?
If someone is a crime victim, they are entitled to apply to their county’s
Crime Victim Compensation Board to recover certain types of expenses related
to the crime. This money dispersed to victims comes from penalties and
surcharges paid by convicted criminals. What types of losses can victims
recover money for? They include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Dental expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
- Lost income
- Loss of support
- Money for crime scene clean-up
- Certain types of transportation costs
- Reimbursement for emergency relocation
Like other states, Arizona’s crime victim compensation program provides
financial assistance to the victims of state and federal crimes, such
as aggravated assault,
sexual assault, murder, and other violent crimes. However, Arizona’s Crime Victim
Compensation Board does not compensate victims for property loss and damage.
Will You Be Ordered to Pay Victim Restitution?
If you are found guilty of a crime, especially a violent or sexually-motivated
crime, the court may order you to pay victim restitution, which is supposed
to reimburse the victim for their financial costs resultant from their
victimization. This is referred to as “restitution.”
“Victims of crime have a constitutional right to receive prompt restitution,”
says Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. All court-ordered restitution
is paid to crime victims by the Clerk of Court. If a case involves multiple
victims, the monthly payments made by the defendant are divided among
the victims based on the percentage of each victim’s loss.
If you are convicted of a felony and you fail to pay the restitution in
full according to the court order, your probation can be extended for
up to five years. If you complete your sentence and you still owe the
victim(s) money, a criminal restitution order will be filed against you
for the unpaid balance. Such orders can be enforced in civil court and
any unpaid balance can NOT be discharged in bankruptcy.
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