January 15, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Victim comes first with the passage of Proposition 9 by California voters

The people of California were asked to vote on a new “victims bill of rights” in the name of Proposition 9 a few months ago. This initiative passed with 54% of the voters approving it.

Most of the provisions does little more than reinforce existing rules that gives victims of crimes a voice at sentencing hearings and in many other ways. However, there is one substantial change in prior law due to the passage of Proposition 9.

Victims of crimes now are entitled to the “first dollar” received from any defendant that is paid to the court for any reason.

What this means is that before the court can collect any fines or other penalties from the defendant, all monies paid by the defendant must first go to pay off the “restitution amount” that is determined to be owed to the victim.

As an Orange County criminal defense lawyer, the impact of this is unclear, however, one thing is certain. This will definitely cause a significant decrease in the funds that go to run the courthouses in our state which is going to make it even more difficult for people to receive justice in court. This will likely lead to longer lines when you go to the court to pay a fine or file legal papers.

Restitution is only one component of resolving a criminal case. If you find yourself accused of a crime where you may need to pay restitution to an alleged victim, you should first consult with an experienced California criminal defense attorney before paying any restitution to anyone. Call Walin and Klarich 24-7 at 877-466-5245. We will be there when you call.

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