Description of Work
The Restitution Unit was formed in 1986 for the purpose of monitoring, tracking, and collecting restitution on criminal cases. A Restitution officer is responsible for monitoring and tracking all court ordered payments made by the defendant. The Restitution Officer enforces the court's order with several different methods: restitution dockets, contempt hearings, restitution agreements, income withholding, and prison account attachments.
Frequently Asked Questions
"WHEN DOES THE RESTITUTION PROCESS BEGIN?"
The restitution process begins at the time of Grand Jury. As a victim, you will be asked to complete a restitution affidavit which lists your losses, including travel, missed work, property, medical, and other expenses resulting from the crime. If you do not complete the affidavit during Grand Jury, the Restitution Unit will contact you by telephone or letter to obtain this information. It is very important to respond, since restitution cannot be ordered without this information.
"HOW CAN THE VICTIM ASSIST THE COURT IN ORDERING RESTITUTION?"
To assist the court in ordering restitution, keep your receipts, estimates, or bills for damages or injuries suffered in connection with the crime. This information, along with your name, address, and telephone number is recorded on the restitution affidavit. Bring a copy of all paper work when you come to Grand Jury. If you change your address or telephone number, contact the Restitution Officer immediately to update your affidavit.
"HOW DOES THE COURT DETERMINE RESTITUTION?"
If convicted of a crime, a defendant may be ordered to pay restitution in an amount set by the judge. Generally restitution is ordered after a hearing at sentencing. It may be necessary for you to testify at the hearing.
"WHAT IF THE VICTIM HAS INSURANCE?"
As a victim of a crime, check with your insurance company to see if your policy will cover the expenses of your injuries or property loss. If your insurance does cover all or part of these losses, inform your insurance company that it has a right to file a restitution affidavit for its losses. However, you cannot claim what the insurance company pays you. You can only claim the amount of the deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance.
"WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THE DEFENDANT?"
If placed on probation, the defendant must follow the standards of conduct specified by the judge and be supervised by a probation officer. In addition to any restitution ordered, the defendant is generally required to pay other court-ordered monies and a supervision fee.
"WHAT IF THE DEFENDANT IS IN JAIL?"
If sent to prison or jail, the defendant probably will not be able to pay restitution until released. However, you may have civil remedies available. You may wish to consult an attorney concerning this possibility.
"WHAT IS ALABAMA CRIME VICTIMS COMPENSATION?"
This is financial assistance available to innocent victims of violent crimes where a personal injury has occurred. For more information, contact the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission at 100 North Union Street, Suite 778 Montgomery, AL 36104. The telephone numbers are (334) 242-4007 and 1-800-541-9388. An application must be filed with the Commission within one year of the crime.
"WHAT HAPPENS TO ITEMS HELD AS EVIDENCE?"
If any of your property is held as evidence, you must contact the assigned Deputy District Attorney at (334) 832-2550 to sign a release before the property can be returned to you. It is usually necessary to hold your property until after the trial.
"WHAT IF THE VICTIM NEEDS ADDITIONAL SUPPORT? "
If you need additional support, contact VOCAL (Victims of Crime and Leniency) at (334) 279-8300, (334)279-8395 or 1-800-239-3219.