If you suffered financial loss as the victim of a crime, the prosecutor may be able to recover some of your losses in the criminal case. A criminal court can order a convicted person to pay restitution, but only for certain expenses.
As the Court of Appeals emphasized in its decision in Jimmy Person v. State of Indiana, issued on February 7, 2018, the judge in a criminal case an only order restitution for the losses listed in Ind. Code § 35-50-5-3:
(1) property damages of the victim incurred as a result of the crime, based on the actual cost of repair (or replacement if repair is inappropriate);
(2) medical and hospital costs incurred by the victim (before the date of sentencing) as a result of the crime;
(3) the cost of medical laboratory tests to determine if the crime has caused the victim to contract a disease or other medical condition;
(4) earnings lost by the victim (before the date of sentencing) as a result of the crime including earnings lost while the victim was hospitalized or participating in the investigation or trial of
the crime; and
(5) funeral, burial, or cremation costs incurred by the family or estate of a homicide victim as a result of the crime.
In that case, among other charges, the defendant was convicted of leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury for colliding with the victim’s car as he fled from police. The victim was injured and her car was damaged. The Court ordered the defendant to pay the victim’s medical expenses, compensate her for her pain and suffering, pay for the damage to her car, and to reimburse her for the money she spent on public transportation when she did not have a car. The Court of Appeals reversed the restitution order for her pain and suffering and public transportation.
In addition to the limitations imposed by Ind. Code § 35-50-5-3, you can also only recover for those offenses for which the defendant was convicted or agreed to pay pursuant to the plea agreement. If the prosecutor does not charge the defendant with an offense for which you are the victim, or if that charge is dismissed in plea negotiations, you will not be eligible for restitution. Finally, the end goal for the prosecutor is have restitution ordered. They do not generally help you actually collect the restitution.
Camden & Meridew, P.C. is a full service law firm located in Fishers, Indiana. If you would like to schedule an appointment to speak to one of our attorneys please call Corey Meridew at 317-770-0000 or complete our online contact form today.
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