Anyone who has been the victim of a criminal offense and has suffered injuries, economic losses or damages can seek restitution. Many times, victims who deserve restitution do not request it. This can occur because victims are not aware that they are entitled to restitution, or do not know what steps to take to go about receiving the restitution they deserve.
How do I ask for restitution?
You should contact the DA's office and advise them of the extent of your injury, your out-of-pocket losses and the amount of damages you are requesting.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to give the police, DA and upon request, the local probation department copies of the bills and other documents showing the extent of your injuries, your out-of-pocket losses and the amount of damages you want considered by the Court! Your claim for restitution will be included in any probation investigation report (pre-sentence, pre-plea or pre-disposition report). Be sure to:
- Keep accurate records such as original receipts of any expenses you have as a direct result of the criminal offense
- Give copies of these receipts to the police, DA and local probation department
You need to clearly explain your need for restitution as soon as possible to the DA, the victim/witness advocate, and the probation department. Unless waived by mutual consent, plea agreements can occur within days of the actual criminal offense.If this information is not provided before sentencing, you may have to pursue reimbursement of your losses in Civil Court.
In most felony criminal cases, many misdemeanor criminal cases and all juvenile delinquency and persons in need of supervision (PINS) cases, a pre-sentence or predisposition investigation report is required. The local probation department will contact you about the issue of restitution as it pertains to your case.