Restitution is money you pay to the victims in your DUI case as part of your criminal sentence.
When you are found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI), you must be prepared to face several criminal penalties and collateral consequences. One of the most impactful is restitution to the alleged victims in your case.
The court system can order you to pay restitution to these victims in multiple forms. With help from a Los Angeles DUI lawyer, you could reduce your charges to a lesser offense or obtain an acquittal, reducing your likelihood of having to pay restitution for a DUI.
Costs of a DUI Conviction
The idea behind restitution is that criminals should have to make up for the damage they do to the victims of their crimes. It is money you pay directly to those who experienced damage, injuries, or losses from your drunk driving incident or to victims in general.
This idea is similar to compensation, but it is handled differently. Compensation is money you may have to pay if the victim files a lawsuit against you. Restitution is money the court orders you to pay as part of your sentencing, with no lawsuit needed.
When You Need to Pay Restitution After a DUI in Los Angeles
If your DUI did not involve an accident, you would not likely be ordered to pay restitution. Restitution is most likely if:
- You caused property damage such as a fender bender, a major car accident, or hitting someone’s fence
- Someone (other than you) was injured or lost their life
The way restitution is handled varies. If the victim has suffered an evident loss, you might pay money directly to them to offset it. In other cases, you may pay into a state fund that supports victims of all crimes, not just DUI.
How Restitution Is Paid to DUI Victims
Individuals convicted of drunk driving offenses in California may need to pay their victims restitution. Victims can recover this restitution in multiple ways. Most commonly, they will seek compensation through the California Victims Compensation Fund or by filing a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver.
CA Victims Compensation Fund
When a drunk driving victim is injured in an accident, they can request restitution through the California Victims Compensation Fund. When you are convicted of your DUI, you will pay into this state fund, so the victim in your case can recover the financial support they need.
This restitution payment is in addition to any fines you may have been given due to your DUI conviction. Unfortunately, the only way to avoid being ordered to pay into the Victims Compensation Fund is by avoiding a conviction altogether. Working with an experienced DUI lawyer in Los Angeles may be your best chance at protecting yourself.
Civil Liability Lawsuits
Drunk driving accident victims can also take action against you by filing a civil lawsuit. In civil court, the victim must show that you are liable for their injuries and damages based on a preponderance of the evidence.
Victims can seek compensation for how their injuries and the collision have affected their lives. You could be ordered to pay compensation for the victim’s:
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and earning potential
Contact a Los Angeles DUI Attorney for Help Today
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with an experienced DUI attorney in Los Angeles and get you a FREE consultation. Please fill out our confidential contact form or call our office for a no-obligation consultation today.