In California, a sex crime conviction may actually result in you paying two different kinds of restitution. The judge may order you to pay restitution compensation to the victim(s) as part of your sentence, along with jail or prison time. Paying restitution would be a condition of your probation. In general, a victim of a crime has the right to recover the full amount of any losses or expense that resulted from criminal activity.
“Losses” are generally defined as economic losses such as payments for medical bills, therapy bills, lost wages, attorney’s fees, etc. For most crimes, the payment of restitution for pain and suffering is very limited. But in California, if a defendant is convicted of violating Penal Code 288, lewd and lascivious acts, there is a special provision under Penal Code § 1202.4 regarding payment of restitution for pain and suffering. In addition, under a Bill passed in 2017 in California, if the victim of a sex crime was a child, you would be ordered to pay to cover additional non-economic losses for psychological harm for felony incidents. These payments are made through a county or state agency and then sent to the victim and are covered under a restitution order.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime, you will also be required to pay a restitution fine. A restitution fine is money that all convicted offenders pay into the state Restitution Fund, which supports the California Victim Compensation Fund. Restitution fines range from $200 to $10,000 depending on the severity of the crime and other factors. You are required to pay this fine, unless the judge finds compelling and extraordinary reasons that you should not. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, your ability to pay is NOT a consideration of the court.
A sex crimes lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group will be able to help guide you through this process.
How Much Victim Restitution Will I Have to Pay?
The restitution order will require you to pay the full amount of any losses and expenses that the victim or victims submit to the court. That amount obviously varies from case to case. If the full amount of losses isn’t known at the time of your sentencing, the judge can include wording that says the amount of victim restitution is “to be determined.” That amount will then be determined at a restitution hearing. The legal team at the Simmrin Law Group has decades of experience in helping our clients get the best outcome at a restitution hearing.
The Restitution Hearing
If the amount of victim’s losses was not fully known at the time of sentencing, or if you have contested the amount, there will be a restitution hearing. The victim will need to present documentation of bills paid and wages lost, but if they do not have that documentation, they can tell the judge in their own words what he/she believes their losses to be. You as the defendant can challenge that amount, but then you will be required to obtain your own estimates to present to the judge.
Paying Restitution For a Sex Crime
Once the judge has made a restitution order with a specific amount of restitution ordered to be paid, whether that was at the time of sentencing or at a restitution hearing, that payment becomes becomes part of your probation sentence. Depending on your circumstances, the judge will order you to:
- Pay the victim restitution amount in a lump sum, or
- Set up regular payments through an installment plan (this is much more common).
Restitution payments may be garnished from your civilian wages or prison wages to ensure payment. You are responsible for keeping track of these payments, and staying up to date.
Failure to Pay Restitution
Failure to make restitution payments may be considered a probation violation, and could result in incarceration or other penalties. If you are financially unable to pay restitution, the judge may order you to seek and obtain a job. If you were convicted of sexual assault on a minor, the judge is required to order you to seek and maintain legitimate employment so you can pay for the costs of the victim’s medical and psychological treatment.
Talk to a Los Angeles, CA Sex Crimes Lawyer for Free
If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime, you need an experienced Los Angeles sex crimes lawyer to help with your defense. Call the Simmrin Law Group at 310-997-4688 or use our contact form for a free case evaluation. We’re available to help you 24/7.