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What will the consequence for not being able to pay back restitution?

Brooksville, FL |

I'm in a pre-trial intervention program. I've completed everything except for restitution. I've tried getting work so i can pay back the restitution, but nobody will hire me due to what i did (burglary of a structure)since it shows up on my background check. I have to go to court pretty soon and i want to know will they extend my pre-trial intervention or will i go to prison? I've only been in trouble this only time and haven't been in anymore trouble for almost 2 yrs now.

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Attorney answers 4


Punishment varies from state to state, and, therefore, is hard to predict what the outcome will be. The best advice I can give you is when you go back to court show up with mountains of documentation as to efforts to secure employment; this should be paperwork you have filed with various employment placement agencies, temporary work services, and if possible even paperwork from businesses that you have applied at. There is no guarantee that this will be sufficient, but I can assure you it will be more compelling to the court than your simply saying that you did all of these things. Sometimes, (very rarely), the court will proceed with the diversion program and simply reduce the restitution to a judgment; meaning that it gives the victim/complainant a civil judgment against you that they can try to collect on. Most likely the court might do the same thing, but after saddling you with the actual conviction and being sentenced to probation with orders to pay restitution while on probation. Failure to pay all of the restitution while on probation can also result in a probation violation, however, if you have made an honest effort to pay all of your monetary assessments the court might, once again, reduce the order of restitution to a civil judgment. The most important thing is to make sure you come to court prepared to demonstrate by documentation that you have made every human effort to secure employment to meet your obligations.


If you can't pay the restitution then you probably will be kicked out of the diversion program. At that point you will have to face the trial court and resolve your dispute to most likely probation, or by converting the money owed to a civil judgment.


The answer above is correct.

Many courts simply turn the restitution amount into a civil judgment which then becomes a lien against you by the city or county. You pay it off when you can or else it will interfere in getting loans and other types of credit.

The standard for violating probation in Florida is that violation must be "willful and substantial." Bringing in filled out job applications and any other documentation to show your efforts at finding employment will be helpful indeed. Unfortunately, the standard for finding guilt of violation is not "beyond a reasonable doubt," but something less, and a judge will make that determination based on his understanding of the facts.

Bringing the documentation is a fact they will consider and may go towards showing your coming up short on the restitution was not willful.

If you are in pre-trial intervention, you are not really on probation but can be rejected from the program for the restitution issue. I would suggest you do whatever you can, short of breaking the law, to get that restitution paid, such as borrowing the money and paying that person back over time. Then, you can have your record expunged and become employable once again.

If rejected from diversion, you will be charged and have to face the charges in court.


It is up to the State in Florida whether you are rejected from diversion. If you don't have an attorney, you should get one and see if he can get the state to agree to continue the diversion and give you a chance to pay it. The court cannot order the restitution to a judgment unless you are convicted of the crime, something you do not want. Like the other attorney, I advise you to find a way to pay the restitution.