Restitution Might Be Required for Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions

If you are ordered to pay an unfair amount for restitution or the government is asking for an excessive amount, you will need the assistance of an experienced defense lawyer to protect you and limit your liability.

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You are only eligible for restitution on current charges in a criminal case, nothing more.

Restitution in a criminal case was addressed in the recent Michigan Supreme Court case of People v McKinley. This case was decided on June 26, 2014, and involved the issue of restitution and how the amount should be determined. Mr. McKinley was convicted by a jury of larceny over $20,000, malicious destruction of property over $20,000, and inducing a minor to commit a felony in connection with a series of thefts of commercial air conditioning units. He was sentenced to 12 to 25 years in prison. A restitution hearing was held after sentencing. It was determined that Mr. McKinley owed over $150,000 in restitution. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the restitution issue because it permitted trial courts to impose restitution based on facts not proven to the trier of fact beyond a reasonable doubt. On further appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court overruled the Court of Appeals, holding that a trial court’s restitution award based solely on conduct for which the defendant was not charged may not be sustained.

Restitution in a Criminal Case is “Joint and Several”

Restitution is a crucial mechanism designed to make victims whole by compensating them for their losses. This principle reflects the system’s commitment to acknowledging the harm suffered by victims and emphasizes the importance of holding offenders accountable for their actions. Within this context, “joint and several” liability in restitution is pivotal in cases involving multiple defendants.

“Joint and several” liability is a legal doctrine that applies when two or more individuals are found jointly responsible for a wrongful act, such as a crime resulting in financial loss to the victim. Under this principle, each defendant can be held liable for the entire restitution ordered by the court, regardless of their share or degree of involvement in the crime. This means that the victim can seek the total amount of restitution from any of the defendants, leaving it up to the defendants to sort out their respective contributions toward satisfying the debt.

Applying “joint and several” liability in criminal restitution orders has significant implications for defendants. It underscores the importance of understanding the full scope of potential financial liabilities when facing criminal charges, particularly in cases involving multiple parties. Defendants should be aware that being ordered to pay restitution under this doctrine does not necessarily reflect their personal degree of culpability or direct financial responsibility for the loss.

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Strategic Considerations for Defense

From a defense perspective, addressing “joint and several” restitution in a criminal case requires careful strategy and negotiation. Michigan criminal defense attorneys who help with restitution should work diligently to mitigate the potential financial impact on their clients, especially in cases with multiple defendants. This may involve arguing for a more equitable division of restitution based on the defendant’s actual level of involvement or negotiating plea agreements that specify terms of restitution payment.

Criminal defendants must also be aware of the potential for civil claims by co-defendants seeking a contribution towards the restitution amount and the long-term financial implications of a “joint and several” restitution order. Understanding the nuances of this doctrine is crucial for effectively navigating the complexities of criminal restitution and protecting clients’ interests.

The principle of “joint and several” liability in criminal restitution presents challenges and opportunities for defendants and their attorneys. By fully understanding the implications of this doctrine, top Michigan criminal defense attorneys can better advocate for their clients, ensuring that restitution orders are fair and reflect each defendant’s actual contribution to the victim’s loss, if any.

Insurance Companies Might be Eligible to Seek Restitution

It does not make sense that restitution should still be payable when a crime victim has already been reimbursed through an insurance payment. Because judges routinely award exorbitant restitution, you need a top-notch, experienced criminal defense attorney to help with restitution in a criminal case. In Michigan, and especially in the Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County areas, judges are very strict with criminal defendants and almost anxious to assess restitution against those convicted of crimes.

Why it is Essential to Work With a Top Attorney When a Defendant Faces the Possibility of Large-Scale Restitution

Facing criminal charges can be a daunting experience, especially when the possibility of being ordered to pay large-scale restitution is on the horizon. Restitution, designed to compensate victims for their losses, can significantly impact a defendant’s financial stability and future. In such cases, a top criminal defense attorney’s expertise becomes beneficial and essential. Large-scale restitution involves intricate legal principles and a complex judicial process. Top attorneys have a deep understanding of the nuances of criminal law and are adept at navigating these complexities. They can effectively argue against excessive restitution claims and work towards minimizing the financial burden on their clients. Their expertise is crucial in analyzing the prosecution’s evidence and identifying weaknesses related to calculating losses in their case.

A top criminal defense attorney has the negotiation skills to achieve favorable client outcomes. This includes negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or lesser restitution amounts and making arrangements for feasible payment plans for the defendant. Their ability to negotiate is critical when the restitution amount could have long-lasting effects on a defendant’s financial health.

Protection of Future Financial Health

The consequences of large-scale restitution can extend far beyond the immediate financial strain. It can impact a defendant’s credit score, employment opportunities, and financial well-being. A top attorney will not only focus on the present case but also consider the long-term economic health of their client. They can provide guidance on financial planning and advise on legal options that may be available to mitigate the impact of restitution on the defendant’s future.

Personalized Defense Strategy

Every case is unique, and facing large-scale restitution demands a defense tailored to the case’s specific circumstances. A top criminal defense attorney will take the time to understand the details of the case, the client’s background, and the factors that led to the criminal charges. This personalized approach ensures that the defense strategy is both effective and empathetic, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome while minimizing the impact of restitution.

When faced with the possibility of large-scale restitution, representation by a top criminal defense attorney in Michigan is indispensable. Their expertise, negotiation skills, and understanding of the legal and financial intricacies provide defendants with the best chance of successfully navigating these challenges. Ultimately, working with a top attorney is not just about fighting criminal charges; it’s about protecting your future.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

The go-to Michigan criminal defense attorneys when dealing with restitution in a criminal case.

Under the adage that “two heads are better than one,” LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. operates on the team approach. Our highly skilled lawyers work together to decide the best course of action to give our clients the premier defense they deserve. In Michigan, criminal defense attorneys can range from new lawyers and general practice attorneys to highly qualified criminal defense specialists. When your future is at stake, as well as your finances, you need the best available representation, and that is the law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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