What Is Restitution?
As authorized under California Penal Code Section 1202.4, many criminal cases require a guilty defendant to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution is a penalty that is used to compensate the victim for any property damage, medical expenses, or other financial harms they suffered as a result of the crime. In California, there is no maximum amount that a judge can order for restitution, so you may be facing extremely high fines that make it difficult to support yourself and your family. If you fail to pay, you may be considered guilty of violating the terms of your probation. This could lead to your re-arrest and revocation of your probation.
Can I Avoid Paying Restitution?
Sometimes, paying restitution to a victim is an important part of accepting the consequences of your actions and moving toward rehabilitation, but paying restitution may seem unnecessary if the victim has already been compensated through insurance or other means. Under PC Section 1202.4, the court has discretion in ordering restitution, but you need “compelling and extraordinary reasons” to avoid paying. Simply stating that restitution is too expensive for you is not a valid reason. Additionally, even if insurance covers all damages caused, you must still pay restitution.
In some cases, your attorney may be able to argue for abuse of judicial discretion on your behalf. To prove abuse of discretion, you must prove that there wasn’t substantial evidence to support the court’s restitution order. Your attorney may also be able to reduce the required payment amount if you show that the order will impose extreme hardship on you or your family. Of course, restitution is only ordered if you are convicted of the crime. As such, the best way to avoid paying hefty fines is to beat the charges against you. In order to have the best chance of getting your charges dropped, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing heavy financial burdens due to excessive or unnecessary restitution, contact our attorneys to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich should be your choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients lower their restitution penalties or even get their cases dismissed before trial. We understand that these cases are tough, but we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible results so that you never need to worry.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you.
Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.