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The Court must be Clear on Restitution Calculations

The California Court of Appeal recently held that a Court abuses its discretion when it fails to make clear the statement of calculation method it used in ordering restitution to the victim of the crime.

In People v. Jones, No. C063113, the defendant entered a plea of no contest to driving under the influence and admitted prior DUI convictions. As part of a plea agreement, a charge of hit and run was dismissed. Nonetheless, the trial court ordered Jones to pay restitution to the victim of the hit and run.

At the restitution hearing, the victim testified that Jones damaged a camper that the victim used in her business. She testified that it took nine months to complete the repairs and sought $5,606.62 for lodging and meal expenses, wages she had to pay to others to run her business, and the cost of repairing her car’s bumper, which was torn off when she came to court. The court ordered restitution in the sum of $4,468.40, noting that the time it took to fix the camper was unreasonable. The court did not otherwise explain the method of calculating that figure.

Jones appealed the case arguing that the trial court erred in failing to explain its calculation method. The court of appeal agreed and reversed and remanded to have the trial court explain it’s calculation methods. Under Penal Code Section 1202.4, if a victim has suffered economic loss due to the defendant’s conduct, the court must require the defendant to make restitution to the victim. Courts must employ a method of calculating restitution that is rationally designed to determine the victim’s loss, and make a clear statement of the method used and how that method justified the ordered amount. Here, the trial court failed to make a clear statement of the calculation method it used.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge, it is possible that you may also face restitution. It is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who can make sure the court follows the proper procedures when dealing with a determination of a proper restitution amount. At Wallin & Klarich, our Southern California criminal defense attorneys have over 30 years of experience. We will fight to defend your rights and get you the best possible result in your case. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or contact us through our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.