A Victim's Right to Restitution
The Victims' Bill of Rights Act (Marsy's Law) in the California Constitution includes the right to restitution among its many provisions.
"All persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer."
"Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss."
What is Restitution?
Restitution is the monetary compensation owed to you(the victim), by the offender. As a victim of a crime, you have the right to restitution from the offender when you have crime-related expenses.
Types of Restitution
There are two types of restitution: a Restitution Order and a Restitution Fine.
- A Restitution Order is an offender's debt to you as the victim. State law requires judges to order the offender to pay restitution in every case in which the victim has suffered an economic loss as a result of a crime.
- A Restitution Fine is an offender's debt to society. State law requires judges to order the offender (adult or juvenile) to pay a restitution fine at the time of sentencing. For juveniles, the judge will require the offender to pay $0 to $100 for a misdemeanor and $100 to $1,000 for a felony. Adult offenders are required to pay $150 to $1,000 for a misdemeanor and $300 to $10,000 for a felony.
These fines go into the State's Restitution Fund, a crucial funding source for CalVCB, which helps victims pay for expenses resulting from eligible crimes. Fines are very important in assuring that the fund has enough money to help past, present and future victims.
Determining a Restitution Amount
The judge will need information from you about your losses in order to determine the correct amount for a restitution order. Restitution cannot be collected until a definite dollar amount is set. Every county has a Criminal Restitution Department, and the Criminal Restitution Department Specialist will work with you to calculate the correct amount of restitution owed to you, and make sure the information gets to the judge.
Examples of Covered Losses
- Attorney fees
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Medical and Dental services
- Mental Health Counseling
- Property moss- stolen or damaged property
- Possible future losses
- Relocation expenses
- Residential security
- Security system expenses
Restitution is Ordered, What Do I Do Now?
- Follow up with the appropriate agency to make sure that they have your name, current address, and all of your phone numbers, so they can forward any money collected from the offender to you.
- If the offender is sentenced to the county system (jail, probation, or court supervision), you need to be in contact with the Court Collection Unit. You can contact them at (209) 725-4220.
- If the offender is sentenced to a California State Prison, be sure that your current contact information is on file with the CDCR by completing a CDCR 1707 form. CDC automatically collects restitution from the offender after receiving documentation from the county, but will NOT be able to send it to you without your contact information. It is important to notify CDCR every time you move. You can contact OVSRS directly at 1-877-256-6877 or learn more at CDCR's website.
If you have additional questions or need any clarifications on the restitution process, you can call (209) 385-7385 and speak to one of our advocates who can help you.
You can view and print a Victim-Witness Program brochure with this information and it is also available at the District Attorney's Office located at 550 W. Main Street, Merced, California.
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