How to Enforce a Criminal Restitution Award

If you have been victimized in the commission of a crime, you may have received a criminal restitution award. If so, you may still be waiting for the guilty party to pay you the amount of money in the restitution order. You may be wondering how to enforce your criminal restitution order so that you can get paid. You deserve justice and you certainly deserve to get your judgment money.

You must realize that state criminal codes are unique to each individual state. The laws and rules that apply in Virginia are different than the laws and rules in Nevada. It would be extremely helpful if you went to the applicable statutes and the Rules of Criminal Procedure in order to adequately understand how you can collect your restitution decree. If you can’t understand these things, you would do well to consult a good judgment attorney.

In some states any person who wins a criminal restitution award is given the right to enforce the award in the same manner as a civil judgment is enforced. If this is the case for you, then you will also want to look at the Rules of Civil Procedure in your state and court jurisdiction.

One thing you may want to research is whether the restitution order can be modified in any way after the judgment is rendered. Unfortunately in some states, a court which has issued a restitution order may later modify the order and thus lower the amount of restitution to be paid to the victim. This is done basically in cases where the judge is convinced that the criminal party would be unable to afford paying the entire restitution judgment. If I were to pursue enforcing a restitution order I would first want to know if there could be any change in the amount I am to be paid.

Another thing to be aware of is that a criminal restitution award may or may not be assignable in your state. In my state, criminal restitution decrees are fully assignable. Nevertheless, in my state the assignee of a criminal restitution award does not have all of the same rights to represent himself in court in these matters. Here a lawyer is required to represent a restitution assignee in court.

Good judgment attorneys should be able to advise you satisfactorally about the ins and outs of collecting your judgment. A trip to your local law library could help also. Any victim of a crime deserves all of the restitution that the court orders. If you have been a crime victim, I encourage you to pursue every lawful avenue in order to enforce your restitution award and get you judgment money!

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