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National research studies indicate that restitution is one of the most significant factors affecting the satisfaction of victims with the criminal justice process.
Restitution is a concept of personal accountability for the consequences of one’s conduct, and the allied notion that the person who causes the damage should bear the cost.
The Division of Victim Services (DVS) coordinates financial
recovery through restitution to assure the maximum amount of monies
are collected or recovered on behalf of eligible victims for the
Crime Victims Compensation Program
If you have been injured as a result of a violent crime and have awarded Crime Victims’ Compensation, the DVS may attempt to collect restitution for expenses paid on your behalf through our recovery program.
The DVS prior to sentencing submits restitution information to the prosecuting attorney, requesting the court to order the offender to repay DVS for expenses the crime victim compensation fund paid on the victim’s behalf. DVS may also make a restitution requests to Probation and Parole for consideration during the (PSI) pre-sentence investigation or at parole hearings.
The court may order restitution to DVS in the same manner as it can to a victim; the only difference upon repayment the restitution is put back in the compensation fund to be use for other victims. In essence the offender is paying for damages or expenses caused by his/her criminal activity.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Restitution
What is restitution?
Wyoming statutes define restitution as “full or partial payment of pecuniary damage (by the defendant) to a victim who has suffered that damage as a result of the defendant’s criminal activity. W.S. 7-9-101 states “Criminal activity “ is activity which results in a pleas of guilty, nolo contendere or verdict of guilty upon which judgment of conviction may be rendered. It can also include any other crime admitted by the convicted defendant, regardless of whether or not that crime has been prosecuted.
Who can receive restitution from the offender?
Restitution can be paid to the victim, relatives, or to businesses or organizations other than the victim who experienced crime related expenses. For example, family members can be reimbursed who paid crime related expenses or medical providers that treated the victim are also eligible.
Victims should request restitution as early in the criminal process as possible through the prosecuting attorney. You may also include restitution amounts in your victim impact statement and when you are contacted for the Pre-Sentence Investigation. You may be asked to submit receipts and/or estimates regarding your financial loss.
Expenses that you as the victim or an associated victim may have occurred as a direct result of the crime are eligible. These may include but are not limited to: Medical bills, counseling expenses, transportation costs, lost wages, loss of support, funerals, and property damages.
Surcharge is an assessment imposed on the offender in addition to any fines fees, or other penalties prescribed by law. As of July 1, 2008, the surcharge on first time offenses range from $150.00 to not less than $350.00. For second and subsequent offenses the surcharge ranges from $200 to not less than $400. The court imposes the surcharge during sentencing. The assessment is then deposit in the State of Wyoming’s surcharge revenue fund. The surcharge fund is then used to pay the expenses of the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
Restitution is for crime related expenses. Restitution is paid directly to the victim to cover their financial loss (medical, counseling, property damage, etc.) and/ or to Crime Victim Compensation Fund to reimburse for expenses paid on behalf of the victim. Restitution is imposed on the offender at sentencing and is in addition to the surcharge assessment and any other fines, fees or penalties.
Compensation is monies paid for expenses related to the crime by the State of Wyoming through the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program.
Restitution is court ordered payment from the offender to cover expenses related to the crime.
What if I get money from restitution or another source after I received benefits from the CVCF?
Wyoming Statutes and your compensation agreement require you reimburse the Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund (CVCF) back for the expenses paid out on your behalf. You will need to contact your claim specialist or the restitution recovery program manager if you recover monies from some other collateral source, i.e. court ordered restitution, insurance or civil settlements.
Are there other ways to get compensated for my losses?
You can file a civil suit against the defendant (even if
there has not been a conviction) for your losses such as medical
bills, lost wages or emotional distress. Contact a civil lawyer as
soon as possible as there are time limits to file a civil suit.
You can also ask a civil lawyer to help you collect restitution.
What should I do if the offender does not pay his court ordered restitution?
If you are not receiving payments after a period of time, contact your Clerk of Court to make sure they have your current contact information. The Court will only hold payments for 1 year if they have been returned and no forwarding address is available. You may also contact the Probation & Parole Field Office if the offender is being supervised. If you do not know the offender’s status, contact the Prosecuting Attorney where the case was adjudicated.
Upon notification the Court may issue contempt charges for the offender to answer as to why they are not paying or may revoke the offender’s probation or parole.
Should I apply for victim’s compensation even if the prosecutor has applied for restitution on my behalf?
A court order does not guarantee payment of restitution by the offender or that payments will be made in a timely manner. Applying for compensation can cover expenses and avoid collections. Remember if compensation pays for your expenses and the offender pays you back, you are obligated to pay back the compensation fund.
What can delay restitution payments?
Several issues may delay payments. If an offender is incarcerated or in a treatment program you may receive very small checks or none at all. The offender may be paying on restitution from previous offenses, child support, or other financial obligations. If there are multiple victims involved, you may want to contact your Court Clerk to inquire how restitution money will be disbursed.