In addition to having to serve jail time and pay costs, fines, and attorney fees, many criminal defendants also face having to pay restitution directly to a victim. Michigan law requires a mandatory restitution payment for many felonies, misdemeanors, and ordinance violations that caused harm to the victim. Knowing the financial implications of having to pay restitution, as well as how to mitigate them, is essential when defending any criminal case.
Under the Michigan Crime Victim Rights Act, a victim who is entitled to restitution is broadly defined as someone who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional harm due to the crime that was committed. The definition of “victim” extends beyond that of just an individual, however; a victim may also be a business or government entity that suffered harm because of the crime.
The court may order the defendant to pay several different types of costs, including:
- For property that was damaged, destroyed, or taken during the crime;
- Medical-related expenses that were incurred for physical and psychological care;
- Loss of income suffered by the victim or a close relative who took time off work to care for the victim;
- Psychological and medical treatment for members of the victim’s family;
- Homemaking and child care expenses incurred as a result of the crime, including if these tasks were completed by a relative or friend for free; and
- Funeral-related expenses of the victim; and
- Tax deductions or tax credits that would have been received for each year that the deceased victim could be claimed as a dependent.
In addition, if a crime results in the death or serious impairment of a body function, the court may order up to three times the amount of total restitution available.
A criminal defendant cannot be jailed for failing to pay restitution unless the court determines that the defendant has the resources to pay and has not made a good faith effort to do so.
Having an attorney who is experienced with Michigan’s restitution laws can help you avoid excessive or unreasonable restitution payments. If you have been charged with a crime that resulted in physical, emotional, or financial harm to a victim, contact Grewal Law PLLC online or at (888) 211-5798 to schedule your free consultation.