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Can I be held liable for more restitution than the judge ordered me to?

Newport News, VA |

I was convicted of destruction of public property in 2011. The damages were calculated at $5,549.38, and in court that was pled down to $3.5k and the judge ordered me to pay that as restitution. I paid it, thought it was all over and done with, and now 3 years later the City Attorney is coming after me for $2k+ saying that although I "have fully satisfied [my] obligation to make a 'Restitution' payment to the City of Newport News[...] this payment was separate from and did not negate [my] obligation to reimburse the City for the full repair costs for the damage caused by [my] accident..." I don't feel I'm responsible for the extra 2k+ because the judge approved the plea agreement. I have to vacate her default judgment and send it back thru civil court, so any help would be awesome.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Unless the city signed a release accepting the negotiated restitution as full payment, you are civilly liable for any damages that are not included in the restitution. Check with the lawyer who handled the criminal case to verify what happened there. You may also want to check with a civil attorney to see if you have any defenses remaining.

I am transferring your question to the liability section as it is really about the new civil case rather than criminal law.


You are accusing you civil liability with your obligation within the criminal case. Your lawyer who handled your criminal case should have discussed this with you and should be able to explain it to you.

Best of luck to you.

T. Kevin Wilson, Esq.
The Wilson Law Firm
Virginia Criminal, DUI/DWI & Traffic Defense...When Results Matter
703-361-6100 / 540-347-4944


Regrettably, this is a good example of when your defense attorney should have fully broken down all facets of the plea, as well as the collateral consequences to you at the time. You mentioned that they obtained a default judgment against you for the additional amount, so that infers that they obtained service on you (either personal or posted), and that you failed to appear in District Court for the Warrant in Debt that they filed. Once that happens, the default judgment is automatic, and a lot of bad things can happen in terms of garnishment, etc. The best option is to contact your former defense attorney and advise them of the situation and see what they suggest. If that doesn't get you anywhere, contact an attorney who handles civil defense and they can potentially contact the city and try to negotiate a settlement in payments or some other manner which would be easier for you to handle. Once that case was finalized in District Court, you only had 10 days to note an appeal. After that period, your only recourse would be to attempt to try to get back in front of the judge that granted the default judgment and see if they will reconsider the case. Depending on how long ago that was, that is fairly unlikely. Good luck.