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CRIMINAL RESTITUTION - A VICTIM’S RIGHT
The California Constitution provides that “full restitution is mandatory in every case where there is a victim who incurred economic losses as result of the commission of a crime of which the defendant was convicted”. There are no exceptions and a sentence without a restitution award to a victim is invalid. The filing of a civil action by the victim does not negate a victim’s right to restitution.
“Victim” includes the following persons:
1) Direct victims (those who directly sustained economic losses);
2) Governmental agencies;
3) Insurance Companies (when defendant is convicted of submitting false insurance claims);
* The immediate surviving family member of the actual victim;
* Parents and guardians of a victim who is a minor;
* Any person who has sustained an economic loss as the result of the crime and who satisfies any of the following conditions:
- at the time of the crime is or was the parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, child or grandchild of the victim;
- living in the victim’s household;
- a person who previously lived in the victim’s household for at least two years in a relationship substantially similar to that or a parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, child or grandchild;
- another family member of the victim, including but not limited to, the victim’s fiancé, or fiancée, and who witnessed the crime;
- is the primary caretaker of a minor victim; and
- any person who is eligible to receive assistance from the Restitution Fund administered by the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
Losses Subject to Restitution:
Property Damages or Loss (clean-up, reasonable repair or replacement of damaged/lost property)
Mental Health Counseling
Lost wages, Profits, & Future Lost Wages/ Lost work product
Future economic losses of spouse of deceased victim
Child support to victims’ children
Interest (10% per annum)
Attorney fees (in certain cases)
Other expenses (including relocation expenses, residential security expenses, residence and/or vehicle retrofitting expenses, crime scene clean-up)
Restitution to human trafficking and misappropriation of recorded music victims
Any losses indicated above that were paid by the victim’s insurance carrier
Collection of Restitution:
If a defendant is placed on probation, the Probation Department Collections Division is responsible for the collection of restitution. The Probation Department issues and collects a form called "Statement of Loss". This form is completed by victims and used by Probation to itemize losses that the victim is requesting recovery for through a restitution order. Any payments collected through the Probation Department will first be applied to pay the amount of restitution ordered to the victim. To download a "Statement of Loss" form, click here. If a defendant is sentenced to State Prison, the California Department of Correction Restitution Recovery Unit (CDCR) is responsible for the collection of restitution. Victims may, at anytime, collect on a restitution order through civil enforcement methods.
Restitution to the Victim Compensation & Government Claims Board:
When a victim of crime is reimbursed or expenses paid by the Board for losses incurred as a direct result of the defendant’s conduct, the court shall order the defendant to pay restitution to fully reimburse the Restitution Fund.
Defendants Right to Contest the Restitution Amount:
Defendants have the right to contest the amount of restitution as determined by the Court or the Probation Department. However, if recommendations for restitution are contested, victims have the right to be present at that hearing and offer testimony as to why the recommended amounts are accurate. The Court will make the final determination of the restitution amount.
IMPORTANT: UNCLAIMED RESTITUTION
The Office of Victim and Survivor Rights and Services (OVSRS) has joined forces with the California State Controller's Office to establish an "Unclaimed Criminal Restitution" search link on their web site.
This is an effort to inform victims of adult offenders about restitution that the CDCR has collected and is unable to distribute because they do not have the victim's name or address.
Victims can log on to the database and search to see if they have any restitution collected by the OVSRS on their behalf that has not been received.
Click on the link to search for Unclaimed Restitution