If you are a victim of a violent crime or the next of kin of a victim who has died as the result of a criminal act, you may apply to your county's Crime Victim Compensation Board to recover certain expenses. This money comes from surcharges and penalties that are paid by criminals. Victims may apply to recoup losses paid for:
- Medical or dental expenses
- Mental health counseling
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
Arizona, like every state, administers a crime victim compensation program that provides financial assistance to victims of both federal and state crimes. A county-based Crime Victim Compensation Board determines awards through an application process. The Crime Victim Compensation Board does not compensate for loss of property or property damage. There are conditions which must be met to be eligible for compensation, and eligibility does not guarantee an award. To obtain an application or receive more information on Crime Victim Compensation, contact your county Victim Compensation Coordinator located in each County Attorney's Office. Upon Board approval, an innocent victim or a secondary victim (a person who is affected by the crime) may receive compensation.
For a listing of county attorneys’ offices where your compensation questions can be address, go to: http://www.azcjc.gov/ACJC.Web/victim/VictComp.aspx.
If someone is found guilty of the crime committed against you, the court may order that person to pay you the financial costs of your victimization. This court-ordered payment is known as restitution. Victims of crime have a constitutional right to receive prompt restitution. If charges are filed in your case, it is important that you contact your prosecutor’s office of victim services program for more information and assistance with the restitution process.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is unique as it has a restitution monitoring program. If you are a victim of a crime in a case prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office we will monitor your restitution case for compliance. All court ordered restitution is paid to you by the Clerk of Court. You must keep your name and address current with the Clerk of Court‘s office to ensure you receive payments until the amount of restitution is paid or until the defendant’s sentence has been completed.
The Realities of Restitution
Since the defendant has been convicted of a crime his or her employment opportunities and ability to earn money may be limited. Defendant who are paying as much as they are able to pay toward their restitution, even if it is an amount lower than ordered, cannot be forced to pay more.
In cases involving multiple victims, restitution is usually disbursed on a pro-rated basis. This means the defendant’s monthly payments will be divided among the multiple victims based on a percentage of the victims loss.
For cases prosecuted by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Office maintains jurisdiction over a defendant until his/her sentence ends. A defendant’s sentence may be extended for up to three years if restitution is not paid in full.
If a defendant has assets, and still owes monies at the end of their sentence, a criminal restitution order is filed on any unpaid balances. This order is enforced in civil court.
Unfortunately, the majority of the defendants who are ordered to pay restitution never pay the total amount.
For more information about restitution please call Arizona Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services, 602-542-4911 or 1-866-742-4911 and ask for a restitution brochure.