Restitution is the repayment of losses, to the victim by the offender. Restitution cannot be ordered until the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial and a sentence is imposed.
The District Attorney is responsible for providing the court with the amount of restitution owed to the victim in a criminal case. This may be done through a victim impact statement, testimony at trial or through testimony by the victim at a restitution hearing.
A victim impact statement is mailed to all victims of crime where damage to a person or property is charged. This statement is provided to the Court, the defendant/defense counsel and the District Attorney. To insure the correct amount of restitution is ordered it is important to notify the District Attorney’s Office of your position, whether you have losses or not.
The offender has an opportunity to question the restitution requested and may ask the court for a restitution hearing. You (or if a business is the victim, a representative) may be subpoenaed to testify if the judge orders a hearing. When the final restitution figure is decided by the court, the offender will be required to make restitution payments.
Restitution is paid through the Court Registry, not the District Attorney’s Office. For information about restitution payments, contact the Court Registrar in your county, the Probation Department, or your victim advocate. Since restitution may be paid over time, it is important to keep you contact information updated.