When a crime has been committed, it is quite common for the perpetrator to be ordered to pay the victims of the crime an amount of money. This is different than a fine, because the purpose of a fine is to punish the perpetrator. An order of restitution has a practical side to it; it helps the victims of the crime financially.
In what situations is restitution ordered?
Usually, restitution is ordered as a supplement to another sentence, such as imprisonment. This is because restitution is not considered a punishment in itself. It is mainly used as a way to help the victims recover from the crime. Therefore, the criminal is usually made to serve a more formal form of punishment.
What if a person cannot afford the restitution order?
It is common for a person to pay his or her restitution order in a gradual manner. For example, often the person has to pay the retribution slowly while he or she is in prison. One way that they can do this is through the low wages that they earn while working in the prison. The way that these wages are garnished varies from state to state and from prison to prison; however, it is common for a prisoner to have 50 percent of his or her wages garnished, and put toward his or her restitution order.
Restitution is often ordered as a result of crimes such as theft and fraud. They can be negotiated as part of a sentencing plea. If you have concerns about being subject to a restitution order, you should consider the specifics of your case and conduct research into how the law applies. An attorney can be of assistance and provide you with information on your legal options.
Source: Findlaw, "Restitution," accessed Nov. 29, 2017