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What is Restitution in Arizona?

If you are facing criminal charges in Phoenix or Tempe, or anywhere else in Arizona and you allegedly committed a crime against another person, you could face the standard punishment – fines and imprisonment – but you could also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim(s) of your crime. “But, what is restitution?”

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, “The term ‘restitution’ in the criminal justice system means payment by an offender to the victim for the harm caused by the offender’s wrongful acts.”

Under the Arizona Constitution, crime victims are entitled to prompt restitution from the offender convicted of the crime against him or her. “Judges must order the convicted person to repay all of the victim’s economic loss, as determined by the court,” according to Azcourts.gov. If an offender is placed on probation, state law requires that the probation department notify the court if the probationer misses two or more restitution payments.

Restitution Covers Economic Damages

Restitution covers “economic damages,” or the actual damages suffered by the crime victim. For example, damages that can be proven with an actual bill or receipt. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages are not covered by a restitution order, but a victim can seek them by filing a civil lawsuit against the offender.

Types of economic damages that can be collected in a restitution order:

  • Medical expenses
  • Therapy costs
  • Counseling costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Property damage
  • Lost property
  • Destroyed property
  • Lost income
  • Insurance co-pays and deductibles
  • Prescription drug charges
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Funeral-related costs

In many cases, restitution is a condition of probation or parole. This means that the offender’s probation or parole officer monitors if the restitution payments are being made on time. If the offender falls delinquent, the victim can notify the PO about the delinquency. And, if the offender is scheduled for release from probation or parole, the delinquency will be communicated to the parole board or court, whichever applies.

If you are facing criminal charges for a violent felony, you may be ordered to pay restitution to any victims. To learn more, contact our Phoenix criminal defense firm.

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