Many times, restitution will be imposed as a special condition of probation. Restitution is repayment to an alleged victim for monetary loss due to the commission of the accused's crime.
Restitution must be paid if ordered by the court. The only way to legally avoid paying restitution is if the accused has no financial ability to pay. The court may set minimum monthly payments. The court may also agree to terminate probation once the restitution is paid.
You can face a probation violation if it is determined that you willfully failed to pay restitution so long as you had the ability to pay.
Restitution can be tricky. On one hand, it is better to have to repay money than languish in prison. On the other hand, restitution payments can be a tremendous financial burden.
If you are facing a criminal charge whereby you are accused of stealing money or property from another, you may be required to pay restitution as a condition of any sentence.
Typical charges for which restitution would apply are grand theft and organized scheme to defraud, although this is certainly not an all-inclusive list. Restitution can apply to DUI cases in which an accident occurred, as well as burglary cases where property was stolen or damaged.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.