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How Do Criminal Offenders Pay Victims Restitution?

Crime victims in Iowa sometimes pay a terrible price, whether it results in serious injury, damage or loss of property or other intangibles. Victims should not have to face the aftermath of suffering a crime without assistance, which is why Iowa law requires those convicted of a crime to pay restitution to their victims. While most people do not object to this principle of the criminal justice system, there may be times when those convicted of a crime are forced to pay excessive and unreasonable restitution amounts, even if they are not responsible for the costs incurred.

According to the Iowa Attorney General, restitution can include medical bills, counseling, lost wages, lost or damaged property and even transportation costs for a victim. In addition, those convicted of a homicide must pay at least $150,000 in restitution.

While victims should be made whole, the offender shouldn't be forced to pay punitive amounts of restitution which conceivably take them the rest of their lives to repay. For many offenders, repaying full restitution amounts is a practical impossibility. If incarcerated, most offenders are only able to repay restitution from the amounts they earn from their prison-based jobs, which is often well below the prevailing minimum wage. If released, they may have trouble securing a job and rebuilding their lives, especially if their restitution obligations make it impossible to support themselves at the same time. To compound things, a person can be held on probation or parole indefinitely until their restitution is repaid, meaning a person may become stuck in a state of perpetual probation while an unattainable and unreasonable restitution payment looms over their head.

People convicted of a crime have a right to challenge the restitution order at sentencing or at any other time restitution is ordered. If the restitution order is unreasonable, with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, it can be challenged resulting in possible dismissal or reduction of the restitution obligation.

Source: Iowa Attorney General, "Restitution," accessed on Dec. 29, 2014

Categories
  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

Put Over 50 Years of Combined Trial Experience On Your Side 
  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

    Owner

    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
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  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
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  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
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Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree Conviction Reversed on Appeal

    Iowa Supreme Court No. 04-361. The Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. On appeal, Mr. Tindal successfully argued that the conviction was based on improperly admitted evidence. The conviction was reversed.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced

    Johnson County FECR68296. The Defendant was charged with Vehicular Homicide. Following a suppression hearing, Mr. Tindal and his co-counsel were able to show that the blood test result was taken in violation of implied consent procedures. The case was subsequently resolved for a misdemeanor.

  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Johnson County OWCR116811. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal was able to win the Iowa Dept of Transportation appeal and have the blood test result thrown out. The case was resolved for a public intoxication charge and no loss of license.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Washington County OWIN010946. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Following long negotiations with the State the Defendant was able to plead to a Public Intoxication and have his driving privileges reinstated.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Record Expunged

    Johnson OWCR106890. Attorney Dean Keegan's client received an Operating While Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. After reviewing the videos, Mr. Keegan filed a Motion to Suppress arguing the officer denied his client's right to make a phone call. The State declined to present testimony at the hearing and the Motion to Suppress was granted, making the client eligible for a deferred judgment. Mr. Keegan's client will have her record expunged and be able to obtain a license after 90 days instead of 180.

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