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Restitution In Michigan Criminal Cases

Michigan’s restitution statute, MCL 769.1a, provides as follows:

When sentencing a defendant convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or ordinance violation, the court shall order, in addition to other penalty authorized by law, that the defendant make full restitution to any victim of the defendant's course of conduct that gives rise to the conviction.

The sentencing court has a wide range of discretion to order restitution in favor of the victim, or to third parties, that have sustained losses as a result of the defendant’s criminal conduct. Here are just a few rules that provide the courts with guidance in ordering restitution:

  • The defendant’s ability to pay is not a consideration when determining the amount of restitution.
  • If conduct causes serious bodily injury or death, the court may order triple (3x) restitution.
  • Restitution may include any individual or entity that suffers direct physical or financial harm as a result of an offense.
  • Restitution may include “any victim” of the defendant’s course of conduct, even though the losses are not attributable to the factual foundation of the charge that resulted in the conviction.
  • Co-defendant or co-conspirator may be held jointly liable for the entire amount of the loss.

Contact ABDO LAW if you are charged with a criminal offense that has resulted in an injury or property damage or if you are facing a probation violation for failing to pay restitution. Phone: 586-412-5555.

Restitution: Compensation for damages caused by criminal conduct

Restitution can be ordered for just about every possible economic loss sustained by the victim or by the victim’s family members. Restitution may also include accounting and inventory expenses incurred to ascertain the extent of losses attributed to the criminal offense.

If the underlying felony, misdemeanor or ordinance violation causes a physical or psychological injury, restitution may include the following:

  • Actual medical and related professional services.
  • Medical devices relating to physical and psychological care.
  • Physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Reimbursement to the victim or the victim's estate for after-tax income loss suffered by the victim as a result of the criminal act.
  • The cost of psychological and medical treatment for members of the victim's family.
  • The cost of actual homemaking and child-care expenses.
  • The costs of services provided to persons or entities that have provided services to the victim. Services include, but are not limited to, shelter, food, clothing, and transportation

Restitution is subject to an offset to the extent that the victim is compensated by insurance coverage or in a civil proceeding. However, some insurance policies contain provisions which exclude coverage if the damages to another party are the result of a criminal act by the insured party. Should insurance coverage be denied or excluded by the policy, the uninsured party is personally liability pursuant to Michigan’s restitution statute.

Restitution and Specific Crimes

Restitution may be ordered in any misdemeanor or felony criminal case where a victim claims property damages or personal injuries that arise out of the criminal conduct. Any of the following crimes may entail the component of restitution:

A property crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony depending upon the amount of loss or damage(s) sustained. If the aggregate amount of loss or damage is $1,000.00 or more, the property crime will constitute a felony. Almost every property crime gives the court discretion to impose a fine or up to three (3x) times the loss or damages incurred, whichever is greater.

Restitution and violation of probation or parole

If a defendant is ordered to pay restitution and is placed on probation or parole, the court may review the defendant’s efforts to pay restitution at a parole hearing, review hearing or probation violation hearing. The court may revoke the parole or probation status of the defendant and impose jail if the court finds that the defendant has not made a “good faith” effort to comply with a restitution order. The statute provides that “in determining whether to revoke probation or parole or impose imprisonment, the court or parole board shall consider the defendant's employment status, earning ability, and financial resources, the willfulness of the defendant's failure to pay, and any other special circumstances that may have a bearing on the defendant's ability to pay.” The statute also allows a defendant that is not in willful default of a restitution order to petition for modification of restitution. If the court determines that the existing restitution order imposes a hardship on the defendant or his or her immediate family, the court may modify the terms of restitution.

Restitution orders survive criminal proceedings

According to Michigan’s restitution statute, an order of restitution remains in effect indefinitely until it is satisfied in full. In addition, an order of restitution is a judgment and lien against all property of the defendant for the unpaid remaining balance of restitution. The lien may be recorded as provided by law. An order of restitution may be enforced by the prosecuting attorney, a victim, a victim's estate, or any other person or entity named in the order to receive the restitution in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action or a lien.

If you are the subject of a criminal investigation or being charged with a crime, contact ABDO LAW for guidance in handling every aspect of your case including intricate matters such as restitution. You have more options than you may realize. Let us explain how we can attempt to negotiate a felony down to a misdemeanor upon payment of restitution. In some cases, we have entered into “no criminal charge” arrangements when full restitution can be paid during a criminal investigation. Contact our top rated Macomb County criminal defense lawyers if you are being investigated or charged with any misdemeanor or felony, or facing a violation of probation, in the Macomb County Circuit Court or in any Macomb County district court.

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