Restitution Responsibilities Explained by NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

So you have been ordered to pay restitution. What does that mean for you? Restitution in the US criminal justice system means payment by an offender to the victim to compensate for the harm caused by the offender’s actions. As part of their sentences, state courts have the power to order convicted offenders to pay restitution to victims. In New Jersey, NJ criminal statute 2C:43-3 gives a judge the authority to fine or order restitution to the victim.

Restitution potentially covers any out-of-pocket losses directly relating to the offense including: medical expenses, therapy costs, prescription charges, counseling costs, lost wages, expenses related to participating in the criminal justice process, lost or damaged property, insurance deductibles, crime-scene clean up, or any other expense that resulted directly from the crime.

When courts decide to order restitution, they consider the victim’s losses and the offender’s ability to pay the victim back. In some states, the court may consider reducing the amount of restitution ordered if the offender is unlikely to be capable of paying that amount. In other cases, the courts will order the offender to pay for the full amount and set a payment schedule based on the offender’s finances—which may result in very minimal monthly payments.

After a Judge has imposed a restitution order, one can later make a motion to the Court if he/she discovers a material change in the defendant’s economic circumstances which affect his or her ability to pay restitution. For example, if you are an offender who has come into money through some means, your monthly payments may significantly increase or you may be asked to pay the total restitution up front.

The New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Schwartz & Posnock know the ins and outs of restitution, and understand all of its details. We advise our clients about the possible consequences for all guilty pleas and convictions after trial. Our attorneys have handled criminal matters throughout the State and Federal Courts of New Jersey, for over thirty years. We have a proven track record of excellent results for our clients. Please contact us in any one of our convenient locations, including our Monmouth County office, located in Eatontown (at the Jersey Shore), our Essex County office, located in Livingston, our Union County office, located in Linden, or our Middlesex County office, located in East Brunswick, to discuss your case. You may call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock at 732-544-1460 or email us at

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