If you are the victim of a crime on Long Island or anywhere in the state of New York, and you suffer losses because of that incident – losses that you can document – you may qualify to receive restitution from the offender who committed the crime. Sooner or later, as you probably know, almost everyone in New York becomes victimized by some type of crime, so keep reading to learn more about restitution and your rights when you become a crime victim.

You’ll also learn exactly who qualifies to receive restitution payments, how to acquire those payments, and precisely what generates a restitution payment order from a court. This is a brief introduction to restitution, but if you are charged with a crime and you may be ordered to pay it, you’ll need to discuss the details of your specific case with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

“Restitution” is defined as the payment made by a convicted criminal offender to a crime victim to pay for the victim’s losses due to the crime. Every state has established a procedure for crime victims to request and receive restitution payments. Legally speaking, however, restitution is not quite the same thing as “compensation.”


“Compensation” pays for someone’s financial losses after an incident like a car crash or a dog bite, but the person who pays compensation did not necessarily commit a crime, profit from a crime, or intentionally cause damages. Restitution, by contrast, is a repayment of the gains acquired in a crime or a payment for the damages – such as medical expenses – that are the result of a crime.

And legally speaking again, restitution is not a “fine.” Fines are preset amounts specified by New York state law and paid directly to the court as a criminal penalty, while restitution is paid to a crime’s victim or victims in an amount that will be different in every case. If you are convicted of a crime in New York, and the crime’s victim suffered financial losses that are provable, you will almost certainly be ordered by the court to pay restitution.

Here is how the restitution process works in the state of New York. When a criminal charge is filed, a prosecutor will obtain information regarding the crime from the victim, including information regarding damages – especially the damages that can be proven. When a final restitution amount is determined, and if the defendant is convicted, a restitution payment is typically ordered by the court as a condition of probation.


However, judges must consider a convicted offender’s ability to pay, and in some cases, victims will not always receive the full amount of restitution that they are actually owed. If you are owed restitution, do not expect to receive it quickly, either. Payment delays are common and happen for a number of reasons.

Most payments are made over time, and a great deal hinges on the convicted offender’s financial situation, employment status, and a number of other factors.

Listed here are some of the items that judges in New York must take into account before issuing a restitution payment order:

– the details of the crime, the charge, and the conviction
– the defendant’s dependents, if any, and his or her other financial obligations
– the defendant’s education, current economic status, and physical and mental health
– the defendant’s current employment or unemployment

What if the defendant believes that the restitution amount that he or she is ordered to pay is inaccurate or unfair? If there’s a dispute regarding the amount that should – or can – be paid, the court will schedule a hearing to resolve the dispute. When a restitution order is for less than the full amount requested, the payment is called a “reparation.” The court may also order restitution to be paid in a lump sum or in series of payments over time.

Who makes certain that probationers in New York make restitution payments as ordered? That responsibility falls to the probation officer. The willful refusal to make court-ordered restitution payments is prosecutable in New York as a violation of probation or VOP, and a VOP conviction could mean stricter terms of probation or even time in jail or prison.


If you are wondering exactly how to collect restitution if you become a crime victim in New York, here’s how. When you are contacted by a prosecutor, ask the prosecutor to request restitution for your losses. Keep receipts and all other records of the costs that were a direct consequence of the crime, make copies, and give the copies to the police, the prosecutor, and the Department of Probation.

As a crime victim, your claim for restitution will be included in any report the prosecutor or the Department of Probation prepares for the judge. If restitution is ordered, the payments a crime victim receives will come from the Department of Correctional Services or the local Department of Probation.

In New York, restitution payments may reimburse crime victims for:

– medical costs including out-of-pocket expenses for doctors, therapy, ambulance fees, other transportation costs, and related expenses such as counseling
– lost wages or other lost income
– repair or replacement costs for stolen or damaged property
– funeral costs if appropriate
– insurance deductibles
– related costs for items like towing fees, new locks, and child care costs that may be required for doctor or hospital visits or legal hearings


If you are charged with a crime in New York and a crime victim – or more than one – was injured, if property was damaged or destroyed, or if the charge is something like theft, fraud, robbery, burglary, or embezzlement, a request for restitution will almost certainly be made, and if you are convicted of that crime, the payment of restitution will almost certainly be ordered. You must have effective and experienced legal help.

On Long Island or in New York City, if you are the person facing a criminal charge, put your case immediately in the hands of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney. If you are innocent of the crime, if your rights have been violated, or if the amount of restitution requested is a fabricated or exaggerated figure, you cannot take any chances – you must have an experienced New York defense attorney working for you.