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Should we get a lawyer for restitution court order?

Salt Lake City, UT |

My son was in an accident he pled guilty in September 2012 because it was his fault, after he pled guilty the judge asked him what happened. When my son told her she ordered restitution and sent the file back to the DA. The court came back with the amount the victim is asking for and it is more than he can come up with. If he pled guilty would it be worth it to get a lawyer to help him to see if it can be reduced? Also the victim has yet to settle with our car insurance which should pay out what he is asking for?

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Attorney answers 3


Restitution is separate from the civil claim. Have a local attorney try to get the restitution amount reduced.


You should get all of the paperwork regarding this claim together and contact an attorney at your earliest convenience to discuss your rights and responsibilities under the Court order. Having proper representation can help to assure you with the resolution of this unfortunate claim. Best of luck to you.

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The judge can award restitution even if the insurance pays the full amount of damages. The Utah restitution statute permits it as an additional punishment. As others have recommended, you should meet with an attorney that handles civil and criminal matters.

What I would recommend is gathering up all of the evidence about what the insurance will pay and provide as much information as possible about why the judge should not order a substantial restitution award (for example the other punishment was sufficient and the victim will be made whole by the insurance).

Utah Code 77-38a-301 spells out what the judge will look at when determining the restitution award:

(c) In determining the monetary sum and other conditions for court-ordered restitution, the court shall consider the factors listed in Subsections (5)(a) and (b) and:
(i) the financial resources of the defendant and the burden that payment of restitution will impose, with regard to the other obligations of the defendant;
(ii) the ability of the defendant to pay restitution on an installment basis or on other conditions to be fixed by the court;
(iii) the rehabilitative effect on the defendant of the payment of restitution and the method of payment; and
(iv) other circumstances which the court determines may make restitution inappropriate.

Providing this answer does not form an attorney-client relationship. Most legal questions are exceedingly fact-sensitive and therefore this answer is a best-guess based on the information you provide. You should consult an attorney licensed in your state to further discuss your matter.

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