Restitution is when the court orders the person who committed the crime to pay the victim back for a loss that happened because of the crime. It must be ordered by the court at the Sentencing. Restitution is NOT payment for future losses, mental anguish or “pain and suffering.” If you are a victim of a crime, ask the prosecutor in the criminal case to ask the Judge to order the defendant to pay restitution for your expenses. Keep records of your losses and expenses that were a direct result of the crime, like original receipts, and give copies to the police, prosecutor and Department of Probation. Your claim for restitution will be included in any probation investigation report (pre-sentence, pre-plea or pre-disposition report).

The Judge may order restitution in a lump sum or by a payment schedule. If the Judge orders restitution you do not have to deal directly with the defendant. Payments will come to you from the local probation department or Department of Correctional Services. If the restitution does not cover all your out of pocket expenses from the crime, visit Crime Victim Compensation.


Examples of Restitution Expenses

You can ask for restitution to pay for any expense that you had to pay because of the crime. Common examples:

  • Medical bills, like any out of pocket costs for doctors, physical therapy, ambulance, transportation, and emergency services
  • Counseling bills
  • Loss of salary or earnings
  • Property expenses, like to replace, repair and/or clean damaged or stolen property
  • Funeral expenses
  • Insurance deductibles
  • Incidental expenses, like changing locks, towing fees, and the cost of changing your phone number


Restitution Hearings

The defendant can object to the amount of restitution ordered by the judge. The court may hold a restitution hearing. The defendant may question the amount of your losses. The court may consider the defendant’s ability to pay. The prosecutor may contact you and ask you to testify at the restitution hearing. Tell the prosecutor if you are uncomfortable about appearing in court.

Restitution From a Child

Children can be ordered to pay restitution by the Family Court. But, restitution from juvenile delinquents may be limited to $1,500 and restitution from persons in need of supervision(PINS) may be limited to $1,000. In some cases, you can get money from the child’s parents or guardian by starting a civil case.

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