January 14, 2011 By Wallin & Klarich

Criminal restitution is the right of a victim to be reimbursed for the financial losses that were directly caused by a crime. It amounts to a monetary debt the criminal offender owes to the victim.Restitution is typically awarded to cover the cost of destroyed, lost, damaged, or stolen property. However, it can also be awarded to pay for the cost of medical treatment or counseling for the victim.

For many offenders, the cost of repaying the victim can be cumbersome. Therefore, California law under Penal Code Section 6221 provides for a “restitution center” as a means to help prison inmates pay their restitution obligations (which now includes fines and fees) in accordance to a court order.

These centers were facilities located in areas throughout California that would maximize employment opportunities for inmates who were sentenced to the centers. Due to high costs and state budgetary hardships, however, most facilities have been closed down indefinitely. The City of Los Angeles currently has the only restitution center in California.

In 2010, the California legislature enacted amendments to the law that have changed the criteria for placement in a restitution center. To now be eligible for the assistance of a restitution center:

The defendant must not have a criminal history of a conviction for the sale of drugs within the last five years,
The defendant must not have a conviction that requires registration as a sex offender,
The defendant must not have a conviction for a serious or violent felony, AND The defendant must not have received a sentence of more than 60 months for the current offense.
If you have any questions concerning restitution obligations stemming from an underlying criminal offense, you should contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and can answer any legal question you may have. Call us today at 888-749-0034 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be there for you when you call.

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