When it comes to laws and court cases, not knowing enough, or as much as lawyers could leave us unable to adequately justify ourselves. Or worse, properly make a claim seeing no way out.
This is why in this blog I am going to share with you what probation means, its costs, and 8 different forms of restitution fees. Including what to do if you can’t pay a restitution or probation fee as ordered by the law court.
Today, we will delve into the justice system and explore some legalities.
You will definitely find pieces of information in this blog potentially very useful. We can easily navigate our way out of some legal claims when we know enough about how to.
The legal system is a bit complicated, and not entirely straightforward. There are steps you could take that reduces the impact of a verdict, or benefit more from a case. We will learn about all of these as we go on; stay with me.
So, what does probation mean?
Probation, in criminal law, is a period during which a person who commits a crime is under the watchful eyes of an officer rather than being sent to prison, or after serving a shortened jail time. The latter are referred to as parolees.
We will learn more about parolees later and how their probation could be way more complicated.
The basis of this supervision is to ensure offenders do not break the law, at least during their probation.
Know that probation is a conditional sentence. It is not like an offender is free or anything. Both a judge or the probation officer set conditions for the lawbreaker.
If, or whenever the conditions are not upheld, the probation is revoked; the offender is subsequently sent to jail. The conditions vary depending on the crime, or jurisdiction where the crime was committed.
Now, you have to know that not every offender has this offer on the table. If that’s the case, jails will be empty right?
Honestly, all crimes can be applicable for probation periods. However, it depends more on the offender, and some convictions are closer to receiving probation than others.
First-time lawbreakers and misdemeanor charges are more likely to be granted probation. The main issue is that the conditions align with the severity of the crime.
Just like the probations condition differs, so does the fees attached. Yes, part of the conditions of probations is to pay monthly probation fees. The fee ranges from as low as $10 in States like Maine in the US to $150 in New Mexico. However, up to $50 is common with most states.
While probation is an offering to stay away from jail, restitution on the other hand is compensation convicted defendants pay to victims for their losses ensued from the offenders’ crime.
Know that fines differ from restitution. Fines are intended to punish offenders. That of restitution serves as a medium to reimburse victims for losses caused by their offenders’ unlawful actions.
At the same time restitution fees also differ from supervision fees, which require parolees under probation to pay a fee yearly.
Parolees are sometimes also required to pay different restitution fees as a condition of their release. Note that these fees fall under the monetary type of restitution. Community services and direct services to victims are other types. We will now look at 8 monetary restitution.
Number 1 on our list of restitution fees is for property damaged or lost due to a crime. Parolees are required to pay to replace the cost of goods vandalized or stolen from the victims.
This could come from either a store or house robbery, and other situations where the victim's property was damaged or lost. The cost is usually determined with store estimates or receipts for the items.
The offender can pay for this cost directly to the victim or a public authority delegated to take those payments. Property damage is common, what is not that common is the number 6 on our list. It doesn’t just make that much sense. In this case, it hurts the victims more than the assumed repayment. We will find out more about this fee and the circumstance later..
Number 2 restitution fees cover lost income resulting from injuries inflicted by the parolee. In a case where an individual beats up a spouse, partner, friend, or anyone, the victim could request for restitution for lost income.
That is, the victim was unable to go to his or her place of work resulting in lost income. Once proven, the defendant is required to pay sick leave or vacation needed for recovery.
Besides lost income, restitution fees could cover direct-out-of-pocket expenses, which are our number 3. This could be expenses usually associated with increased insurance premiums that accompany stolen or damaged properties ensuing from a crime.
Mostly, direct-out-of-budget expenses are usually loosely the results of crimes. It is not direct like, property damage.
There are other indirect claims victims can easily request for.
Number 4 is for fraud cases. When someone is defrauded, such an individual can request the defendant pays the money lost.
Once the court can appropriately prove that the individual was indeed a victim of fraud, in addition to a jail sentence for some state, the parolee will pay a restitution fee. This payment would cover the losses incurred as a result of their unlawful fraudulent actions.
From property damaged or lost to compensation for defrauding an individual, we have seen 4 different restitution fees.
There are more of them that a victim will find useful. Additionally, parolees could also find a way to avoid paying restitution fees due to low income.
At number 5, we have medical, and therapy expenses. These are costs such as hospital bills and that of rehabilitation resulting from an assault. An offender is required to repay the victim for the amount spent to treat the injuries sustained following their alteration.
It could also be extended to therapeutic sessions the victim had to go through after such assault. This could even result from domestic violence or sexual abuse.
Besides, therapy expenses indirectly cover the victim’s family members in murder cases. Yes, restitution fees could be requested in murder cases. This takes us to the next monetary restitution on our list.
At number 6, we have the funeral cost. Now, this is exactly the fee that is inconsequential to the crime. Murderers are required to pay the funeral cost of their victims.
The least the victims’ families would want is to stay far away from their friends’ or family members’ killers, whether having forgiven them or not.
If a family requests for such payment or not, the law court still insists that the offenders pay the cost of burying their victims.
Number 7 is based on the non-consensual publication of an intimate image. If you had an intimate image of yourself uploaded on the internet, you don’t have to pay to get it off the internet or other digital platforms.
You can easily sue the offender and demand restitution. With enough evidence, the court will order the defendant to pay to get the image removed. We will now learn about the last monetary restitution before we see how we can get out of not paying the fee.
Finally, at number 8, we have expenses incurred from moving out of offenders’ households. There could be cases where an individual is forced to move out of their common-law partners or family members’ house after being issued threats of harm or harm from such persons.
As a result, the victims could insist on being repaid on every expense they have incurred. This could be from temporary housing, food, moving, transportation, childcare, and other miscellaneous expenses. If the victim can adequately provide receipts for all of this, then the defendant would have to pay.
But, in all these cases, what if the parolee can’t afford to pay the restitution fee? Well, after providing evidence that supports this, government-run compensation programs will take over.
This way, the state can fund the reimbursement ensuring a victim is repaid for the losses suffered from crime. This also applies when there hasn’t been a conviction.
From the meaning of probation to the different cost restitution fees cover, we can conclude that:
One, knowing enough about the law can help us better state our claim as victims;
Two, we can also better defend ourselves;
And finally, the intricacies about the judicial system are not as straightforwardly and typically complicated by the offender, crime, and state where the crime was committed. All of these reflect in the final verdict.
However, what do you make of the restitution fees? What, especially, do you think of the law providing a medium for offenders to avoid paying for the losses resulting from their criminal actions?
Yes, the law is trying to be fair, however, what’s your say in all of this? Leave your opinions in the comments section.
That’s all for now.