Victim's Guide to Restitution
General Principles of Restitution
Restitution must be determined before imposing sentence or ordering probation. If the court finds a substantial reason not to order it, the reasons must be fully stated on the record.
Restitution is payable to a victim, the parent or guardian of a victim, or the victim’s estate. A victim can also be a governmental entity.
You can request restitution for only your out of pocket loss, not your insurance companies. Your insurance company would have to contact us separately to receive restitution.
If you have applied for Crime Victim Compensation from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services, and they approve and pay your bills, restitution will be ordered to pay them back, not you.
Expenses you can request restitution for:
- All medical, psychological, physical and occupational rehabilitation services (co-pays and out of pocket only)
- Property Loss or reasonable repair and replacement cost.
- Funeral Expenses
- Lost Income
- Attorney fees incurred in civil suit.
- Investigative expenses
Expenses you cannot request restitution for in a Criminal Court:
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses incurred by non-victims
- Outstanding restitution in an unrelated case.
- A civil judgment for non-payment of restitution, if you’ve already been compensated by the defendant in civil court. Double Recovery is not allowed.
- Your insurance companies costs
Payment of Restitution by the Defendant
Payment may be made by the defendant in installments, if placed on probation. If sent to prison, payments can be ordered from the inmate’s prison account. The Department of Corrections collects and disburses restitution for defendants placed on probation and/or sent to prison. Any questions regarding restitution collection or disbursal should be made by calling the Department of Corrections at (262) 653-7150. Ask to speak to the agent assigned to your offender.
The judge may order the defendant pay within a certain time frame. The payment period cannot be longer than the length of probation, parole or extended supervision. If the defendant is ordered to pay restitution, but NOT placed on probation, the judge can order a civil judgment be awarded to the victim. The Clerk of Courts can then initiate tax intercepts in an attempt to obtain the restitution ordered. This process can take up to a year or more, and unfortunately, does not guarantee that the victim will receive their money. Restitution can also be given to the victim from any bond monies that may have been posted by the defendant, after the sentencing has been completed.
Copies of all insurance payments, bills, statements of lost wages from employers and any other out of pocket expense must be provided to the District Attorney’s Office prior to the sentencing hearing.
Restitution Documentation Checklist:
- Have you included copies of your bills?
- Have you included copies of your insurance companies Explanation of Benefits”, often referred to as EOB’s?
- Have you included at least two estimates for repairs?
- If you have lost property, go to the internet, or local businesses to acquire estimates as to how much it would cost to replace your lost items, and include those with your paperwork.
- Have your employer fill out the “Employer Wage Loss Verification” form available from your victim advocate at the District Attorney’s Office.
- Keep track of how many hours you miss work for court, or court preparation. Provide payroll or employer documentation.
If, at the time of sentencing, the defendant wishes to contest the amount being requested by the victim, the judge can order a restitution evaluation hearing be heard at a later date. At that time, detailed documentation will be required.
If you are subpoenaed to a restitution hearing, bring all necessary documentation to support your claims, unless, you have already provided those to the District Attorney’s Office.
An assistant district attorney may represent you at the restitution hearing. You will have to take the stand and testify as to your out of pocket expenses, and what, specifically, they were for. If the judge is satisfied with your testimony and the documentation that the assistant district attorney provides, you may be awarded the amount of restitution you have requested.
For more information regarding restitution or if you have questions pertaining to restitution in a specific case contact the advocate assigned your case.
Download Restitution Form