Anytime a person is convicted of a crime under Florida law, the court must consider whether to award restitution to a victim of the crime, if any. Fla. Stat. 775.089. Restitution is monetary (or non-monetary) compensation to a victim for damage or loss caused directly or indirectly by the defendant’s criminal offense and damage or loss related to defendant’s criminal episode. If probation is ordered, the payment of the restitution must be made a condition of probation.
When the criminal offense has resulted in physical injury to a victim, restitution will include any costs incurred for medical, psychological, or psychiatric care, occupational therapy and care, loss of income, and funeral costs (in the event of a death). Even if there have not been physical injuries, a defendant will still be responsible for any loss of income suffered by the victim.
How Can Restitution be Collected?
In a majority of cases, restitution is paid by the offender to his probation officer or to the Clerk of Court. One of those entities will then disburse the funds directly to the victim. Since restitution is a condition of probation, it is the easiest way for the defendant to prove that payment was made and for the probation officer to track that payments are being made. It works for everyone involved.
However, if restitution was not a part of probation and there is still an amount outstanding, a victim can enforce that restitution as any other money judgment from a civil action. The amount of restitution will earn interest at the rate established by Florida law and, if attorney’s fees are incurred in the collection of restitution, a victim can recover those fees as well from the defendant.
Lastly, a court can impose an income deduction order upon the conviction and order of restitution. These are certainly more common in family law actions to enforce child support and alimony, but they can be ordered in criminal matters as well. These orders require the employer of the defendant to withhold a percentage of defendant’s income for the payment of the restitution. The defendant never sees the money so it can’t be spent on other obligations or wants.
Can a Person File Bankruptcy to Eliminate Restitution?
In short, no; a restitution obligation is not subject to discharge through a bankruptcy proceeding. Fla. Stat. 775.089(10).
When Does Restitution Have to Be Ordered?
Consideration of restitution is mandatory on the sentencing court. As such, any sentence where restitution is not considered is incomplete. Pursuant to Rule 3.800(b), the sentence, therefore, can be modified within 60 days of the original sentence. Outside of 60 days, the trial court loses jurisdiction to order restitution. Boykin v. State, 617 So.2d 823 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993).
Adam Bantner – Criminal Defense Attorney at Law
If you are in need of an expert criminal defense attorney specializing in legal defense against DUI, traffic, criminal, violent crime charges, or a personal injury – you’ll find it here.
Adam L. Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk counties. He is the Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys., is a Super Lawyers Rising Star, and AVVO rated “Superb.” Adam is a member of Valrico Law Group.
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Adam Bantner, II is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Law Attorney representing those accused of crimes in Hillsborough and Polk Counties. When you are facing criminal charges, you want an expert in your corner. The Florida Bar has recognized Adam as an expert criminal defense attorney.
I have been defending the accused since 2006 and am Past President of the Hillsborough County Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.
I have tried over 30 jury trials, on charges ranging from driving on a suspended license to murder.
In addition, I am a Brandon personal injury attorney. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, give me a call to see how we can help!
I approach each case on the principle that every client deserves zealous representation, with attention to detail and to their individualized needs. My mission is to get the best possible result for every client, in every case, every time. Give me a call to see how I can assist you to get the best results in your case. I are here to help.