Restitution: Understanding what you have to pay

Restitution is a monetary sum that convicted criminals may have to pay to their crime victims. Florida judges will often order a defendant to pay restitution in cases where there's documentable proof that their victim has suffered some financial distress or loss due to the offense that took place. The court's goal in ordering a defendant to pay restitution is to restore the victim to the same economic point that they were at before the crime took place.

A judge can order a defendant to pay restitution instead of sentencing them to prison. The court can also require anyone convicted of a crime to pay restitution and sentence them to probation or incarceration. Federal and state guidelines exist advising judges as to which individuals can receive restitution and how much a defendant will have to pay.

There is a difference between a fine and restitution. A fine is a punitive deterrent amount paid to the government. Restitution is a monetary amount paid to a victim due to the financial losses that they have suffered.

How much in restitution that a judge may order a defendant to pay varies by case. If a judge sentences a defendant to a period of incarceration, then they may have an inmate trust account. Their loved ones can make deposits into that account for withdrawal by the inmate. States may garnish up to 50% of those earnings to pay toward restitution. If an inmate is on probation or parole, the court may order them to pay a certain amount per month, or their wages may be garnished a certain percentage according to applicable state law.

If you're facing white collar criminal charges, it's essential to understand how restitution may play a role in your sentencing. The amount that you owe your victim may impact whether you receive a prison sentence or probation. It may also determine whether the court orders you to pay restitution and possibly a fine.

An experienced attorney here in Tampa will be skilled at navigating sentencing and financial responsibility negotiations so that they can best advise you on how to achieve the best result possible in your Florida case.

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