Financial Restitution Consulting
In the American criminal justice system, the term “restitution” means payment by an offender to the victim of the offender’s unlawful acts. For example, a hit-and-run driver may be ordered to pay the injured victim’s medical expenses, lost wages (due to the victims’ inability to work due to their injuries), and for the damage done to the victim’s personal property, such as their vehicle.
In civil cases, instead of paying restitution, the losing party can be ordered to pay “damages” awarded to the winning party. Damages can include legal costs, compensatory awards for specific issues referenced in the complaint, punitive damages and more.
Victims of crime can obtain both restitution and civil damages.
Just because the court orders a person or entity to pay restitution doesn’t mean they will. Let’s imagine your business is involved in a lawsuit. After several months of legal wrangling, you win the lawsuit and receive a judgment in the amount of $55,000.00. Now you, the creditor, have the unenviable task of having to actually collect the money from the debtor.
Civil judgments generally last for ten years and can be renewed repeatedly. Make sure to check your state’s laws on the statute of limitations for judgments. This can be a positive, as it ensures the judgment stays enforceable for a substantial period of time. However, this can also be a negative, as crafty debtors can avoid paying judgments and restitution for years. Thus, victims and creditors may need to hire an attorney to help enforce their restitution order and/or civil judgment.
In many states, restitution orders can become civil judgments. This allows them to be collected just like civil judgments. The most common methods for collecting judgments are garnishing the wages of the debtor and attaching the judgment to their personal property (also known as a Writ of Attachment). However, if you can locate any bank accounts or brokerage accounts held in the debtor’s name, you can literally seize funds directly from their accounts to satisfy your judgment.
Contact us today to learn more about our bank account and brokerage account searches.