Criminal Restitution as an Alternate Remedy

Some of our cases are against people who have committed crimes, like car crashes where the driver was under the influence of alcohol. In these cases, we have learned that the restitution rules of Penal Code § 1202.4 et. seq. can be powerful tools to recover economic losses, as well as investigation costs, storage fees, and attorney’s fees. In some cases, the rules allow plaintiffs to attach a defendant’s assets even before conviction. In other cases, the rules permit plaintiffs to request an order of examination to determine a defendant’s assets. Criminal restitution proceedings have some advantages over civil proceedings. Restitution hearings are more informal than civil trials and are not subject to to the same stringent pre-trial proceedings. Also, once a victim has shown a loss, the defendant has the burden of proving inaccuracies in the victim’s proof. Finally, a restitution is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. For more information or briefing on this issue, please contact us. By Elinor Leary

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