Restitution Resolution Lawyer Serving the Fort Worth, TX Community
With many types of federal crimes, the defendant must pay restitution to the victim or victims. As a practical matter, many defendants do not have enough money or the potential to make enough money to give meaningful restitution to the victim of the crime they have committed. Nonetheless, identified victims may be entitled to an order of restitution for certain losses they suffer due to the crime. Restitution can be awarded as part of the defendant’s criminal sentence or a plea agreement. Additionally, victims can be individuals or businesses.
Why You Need a Federal Restitution Resolution Attorney
If you are a defendant who has been ordered to pay restitution, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Courts and governments do not always follow the correct procedures and processes when requiring defendants to pay restitution. In other cases, a defendant is not required to pay restitution under federal law, but the court demands he or she pays it. Attorney Steven Jumes will carefully review your case and ensure that your rights are not being violated. If you are being required to pay restitution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact the Law Offices of Steven Jumes today to learn more about your rights.
How is Restitution Calculated?
Realistically, they will never be able to pay it back in full. Even though the government knows that you probably cannot pay, they will try as hard as possible to get as much money from you as they can. They must use the procedures and guidelines outlined in the Mandatory Restitution Act of 1996. This law established procedures for determining how much restitution a victim is entitled to receive. Most defendants do not have a large amount of restitution that they will be ordered to pay by the court.
If there were losses due to the crime, the law requires the sentence in court to impose restitution in the full amount of the victim’s losses without considering the defendant’s ability to pay. As a result, much federal restitution is uncollectible. An experienced defense attorney can develop a strategy to argue that you should not be required to pay restitution. Before your sentence, the government will put together a Pre-Sentence Investigation Report (PSI). The PSI will contain information about your history and whether extenuating circumstances should decrease the sentence.
If you have a history of criminal behavior, the report might advocate for an increase in the harshness of your sentence. When the law requires restitution, the report will also contain restitution information. Information on the victim’s identity, the precise amount of restitution that the court should order, and the financial status of the defendant. The probation officer will analyze the defendant’s financial records and make a recommendation to the court about a repayment plan. They may recommend lump sum payments that should be made at the time of sentencing.
Fighting Restitution Before Your Sentencing
The pre-sentencing stage is when you should be fighting your restitution. Once you have received a sentence, it is much harder for you and your attorney to fight the restitution amount that the court has ordered. Most of the time, the court will simply say that you owe a certain amount with no explanation on how they calculated that total. You have a right to request an itemized list of damages for a better explanation and fight the government on every item on the list.
Sometimes the court will make a mistake in ordering offenders to pay restitution when they should not be ordered to do so. It is imperative that she work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can do due diligence into the issue of restitution and help you avoid paying it. The best way to avoid paying restitution is to fight paying it before you are sentenced.
Paying Restitution After Sentencing
The government cannot begin collecting restitution from you until you have been sentenced or your plea bargain has been entered by the court. The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from being deprived of their property without due process. Once you have been sentenced, the government may move in quickly, depending on how bad they want restitution money, the amount you owe, and the victims involved. They can take anything to pay restitution including assets and bank accounts, your home, cars, and other assets. Anything with value can be taken to pay toward your restitution.
Paying Restitution While in Prison
If you have already been sentenced and you are required to pay restitution, the government can start collecting it from you while you are still in prison. The amount that they will confiscate from you depends on how much you earn with your prison job and how much money you receive in your commissary account from people who give it to you. The minimum that prisoners can begin paying is $25 every three months. However, if you received too much commissary funds or your pay grade goes up in your prison job, the government can increase how much restitution you have to pay. It is possible that you will have to pay up to $150 a month while you are in prison.
Paying Restitution While on Supervised Release
When you are on supervised release, you will be required to pay restitution. You will have to fill out multiple forms about your assets, bank account, and income. Do not lie on these forms to avoid paying restitution. You do not want to be sent back to prison because you have hidden assets. If a judge establishes a payment plan at your sentencing, the probation officer will follow the judge’s order.
The probation officer cannot require you to pay more restitution than the judge required. If the judge did not set up a payment plan for you, the probation officer will decide your payments for you. This can be difficult, especially if you are already having financial issues. An attorney can work with you to work out a more affordable payment plan. In general, a restitution judgment is enforceable for 20 years after a defendant is released from prison.