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What is Criminal Restitution?

When someone is convicted of a crime, they can face various penalties, such as criminal fines, incarceration, a suspended driver’s license, community service, probation, and criminal restitution to name a few.

How do criminal fines and criminal restitution differ? A criminal fine is simply a fine imposed as punishment for a crime; the defendant pays the fine to the government. Criminal fines are typically imposed for misdemeanors and felonies alike. For example, a first DWI in Texas is punishable by a fine up to $2,000.

Criminal fines are not determined by a victim’s loss. In Texas, fines are outlined under Title 3, Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. For example, under Sec. 12.21 of the Texas Penal Code, a Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000.

If you are facing criminal charges and you are convicted, the judge may only impose a fine, or the judge may impose a fine combined with other punishments, such as incarceration, community service, or probation. For misdemeanors, especially first offenses, it’s not uncommon for a defendant to receive a fine plus community service.

Criminal Restitution Explained

Criminal restitution is money paid to the victim of a crime to help make him or her whole again. The purpose of restitution is to compensate the victim for their financial loss; it’s also supposed to hold the defendant financially responsible for their actions.

Examples of restitution:

  • Paying to repair a vehicle the victim vandalized.
  • Paying back the value of items stolen from a home.
  • Covering the costs of a victim’s medical care after an assault.
  • Paying for a victim’s funeral.
  • Returning stolen goods or tools to their owner.

Will I get a fine and restitution? If there was a victim involved, it’s very possible that you’ll get both a fine and restitution. If you committed a serious crime involving a victim, you could get a fine, restitution, and jail or prison. Your punishment depends on a number of factors, such as the nature of the offense and your criminal record history.

Facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas? Contact our firm to discuss your defense options, including seeking a dismissal or if that’s not probable, making a plea deal.