Criminal statutes are primarily designed to protect society by punishing individuals who fail to comply with established rules of behavior, which will hopefully deter others from similarly breaking such laws. However, as a victims rights attorney can best explain, there are legal programs in place that are designed to compensate victims for their losses associated with criminal acts.
Most criminal sentences include monetary penalties imposed by the court on the convicted defendant. Fines are typically established by statute and payable to the court. Restitution, on the other hand, is designated for the crime victims. However, restitution is paid in two ways. The first is an amount assessed by the court payable to the California Victims Compensation Fund, which distributes the funds to victims based on eligibility criteria. The second type of restitution is an amount payable by the convicted defendant directly to the victim to compensate for his or her specific losses.
California law allows a victim to recover the full amount for any reasonable loss or expense. Typically included among such losses are:
– Medical expenses
– Funeral expenses
– Lost wages
– Lost or damaged property
It may be necessary to conduct a restitution hearing to establish the full and accurate amount of restitution.
Those who are deemed victims and therefore may be eligible for restitution include:
– The individual who directly suffered a loss due to a criminal act
– The family of the person who suffered the loss
– A business or government entity who suffered a loss
If you or a loved one has been victimized as a result of a crime, you need a victim’s advocate on your side. Call the Law Office of Michael Fell at (877) 262-2430.