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What you need to know about restitution if you’re facing white collar criminal charges

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Criminal law

Because most white-collar crimes are financial in nature, it’s not uncommon for defendants to either voluntarily pay restitution or find themselves obligated to do so after sentencing.

Understanding the idea of restitution and how this could work is an important part of your defense process.

What is restitution?

Restitution is a sum of money that a judge may order a convicted defendant to pay their crime victims for their loss. The court often imposes this monetary penalty upon defendants convicted of white-collar crimes such as fraud, embezzlement or money laundering for two primary reasons.

The judge does so to restore the victim’s financial status to what it was before their loss occurred and to deter them (and others) from committing a similar offense in the future.  

How does the imposition of restitution work?

Judges often have the discretion to choose whether to incarcerate a defendant or to let them remain out on probation. They must generally follow state or federal sentencing guidelines when making such decisions. 

The court may order defendants to pay restitution equal to whatever documentable loss a victim suffered unless state or federal guidelines dictate that they should do something different. A judge may order a convicted defendant sentenced to prison to have any restitution deducted from their inmate trust account. Most states can garnish up to 50% of the funds contained in that account for such a purpose. 

Judges may order defendants that are out of either probation or parole to voluntarily make monthly restitution payments. The court may also garnish the restitution up to the maximum percentage allowed by law.

How should you proceed in your white-collar criminal case?

The prospect of having to serve time in prison for a crime may come off as concerning enough for you. You’re bound to face additional challenges in securing employment when you get out of prison, though. An attorney can help you devise a defense strategy in your Greensboro case that may minimize your chances of ending up in incarceration and having to pay restitution.