Problems with Restitution

If your thinking about taking a plea agreement, and a high restitution award is part of the agreement, you should be fully aware of Restitutionhow this could potentially come back to bite you. Many individuals agree to high restitution claims in exchange for little or no jail time. But what they don’t realize at the time, is they may end up in jail or prison any ways if they fail to make court ordered payments or fail to pay off the restitution by a certain date. Understanding all of the details surrounding a restitution award is essential. Before you agree to any restitution as part of a plea agreement, we suggest you fully consider the following.

Don’t Agree to What You Can’t Pay

First, anyone taking a plea agreement where restitution is part of the deal should only agree to an amount they can realistically pay back within a shorter period of time. Failing to pay restitution can mean your case and your probation period stay open for years. If you are unable to pay the restitution amount you may never successfully close your case and you might end up in jail or prison. A good rule of thumb is to only agree to a restitution amount which you could realistically pay off within the time of your probation. For instance, if you are sentenced to probation of 18 months and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $18,000.00, you realistically need to be able to pay $1,000 per month for the length of your probation. If you can’t do it, try to negotiate another resolution.

Negotiate Specific Terms Upfront

Often a person will agree on a restitution amount but will not attempt to negotiate any of the other details of the repayment making it easy for a prosecutor or judge to later make it an issue when you start only paying X amount of dollars each month. Negotiate the repayment terms upfront, not just the amount. Often when you agree to an amount set forth by the prosecution, you can get a little bit more flexibility on the other repayment terms.

Review with an Attorney

Before you agree to any amount of restitution, make sure you review your case with a St. George Criminal Defense Attorney. Also, if you are served with an order to show cause for failing to make court ordered restitution, you should hire a lawyer asap. More information on restitution in the state of Utah can be found here. Or you can pick up the phone and get a free consultation with a member of out team today.

One Response to Problems with Restitution

  1. Annie says:

    Once a restitution order is in place, can one go back to court to lower the payment and renegotiate the terms? I’m sure most people state they didn’t commit a crime they’re being charged with, but my son in laws case was ridiculous. Because the man who alleged my son in law had stolen items from him is a big shot in the community, he has had strings pulled all over the place. There was never any proof that my son in law had the items in his possession or had ever taken them and because of the stress the whole thing was causing and the costs of the attorney’s fees, he gave in and took a deal after fighting for months. The state had no proof and dropped charges but the accuser took him to court and the outcome is unbelievable. It’s sad to say but the local police department harassed my son in law and he was even being followed by the accuser. I am not exaggerating when I say this guy has connections and has used them to his advantage. The amount of the fine, the length of probation and community service is astounding, especially when there is no proof and only assumption that my son in law took the property. I am skeptical that it’s even possible to go back to court but he can barely keep food on the table for their family of 5. He had no record prior to this, and the same accuser called the police stating that my son in law trespassed because he stepped on the driveway (one foot) to grab his 3 year old son and prevent him from running toward the street. He wouldn’t allow the charges to be dropped, another fine. He wanted my son in law to spend 7 years in prison so I imagine if the full restitution payment isn’t made, he will be sent there. If that’s the case, will serving that time mean he still has to pay restitution? You may not know without seeing the case. Can a case be thrown out on a technicality and go back before the court? This man has to be one special guy because he’s got friends in high places. You might even know him and maybe I’m talking to the wrong attorney. Anyway, any advice would be appreciated.

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