Criminal Restitution in Arizona

What is criminal restitution?

Criminal restitution proceedings in the United States have been in place for many years. The primary purpose of these proceedings is to ensure that victims of crime are fairly compensated for the losses they have suffered as a result of the offender’s actions.

The History of Criminal Restitution

The history of criminal restitution in the United States can be traced back to the early 20th century when courts began ordering offenders to make payments to their victims as part of their sentences. However, it was not until the 1970s that restitution became a more formalized part of the criminal justice system, with Congress enacting the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 to provide additional support for crime victims.

How is criminal restitution governed?

Today, criminal restitution proceedings are governed by state and federal law, and they typically involve a variety of factors, including the severity of the crime, the offender’s ability to pay, and the specific losses suffered by the victim. Restitution may be ordered for a range of losses, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and emotional distress.

What is the purpose of criminal restitution?

While criminal restitution proceedings can be complicated, they serve an important purpose in providing victims with a measure of justice and helping to hold offenders accountable for their actions. By ordering restitution, courts can help ensure that offenders are not able to profit from their crimes, and can provide victims with some financial support to help them recover from their losses. Overall, criminal restitution proceedings play a critical role in the American criminal justice system, and they will likely continue to be an important part of the legal landscape for years to come.

How does criminal restitution work in Arizona?

The process for determining restitution in Arizona generally involves the following steps:

  1. Victim Impact Statement: The victim(s) of the crime may submit a written or oral statement to the court detailing the financial losses they have suffered as a result of the crime.
  2. Restitution Hearing: The court will hold a restitution hearing to determine the amount of restitution that the defendant is required to pay. At the hearing, the prosecutor may present evidence of the victim(s)’s financial losses, and the defendant may dispute the amount of restitution requested.
  3. Restitution Order: If the court determines that the defendant is responsible for paying restitution, it will issue a restitution order that specifies the amount of restitution and the payment schedule. The defendant is required to make payments to the victim(s) until the full amount of restitution has been paid.
  4. Collection: If the defendant fails to make payments as ordered, the victim(s) may seek to have the restitution amount collected through a variety of means, including wage garnishment, seizure of property, or other legal action.
    It is important to note that restitution is separate from fines and other criminal penalties imposed on the defendant, and it is not intended to punish the defendant. Rather, restitution is focused on compensating the victim(s) for their losses (out of pocket expenses).


In conclusion, criminal restitution proceedings in the United States serve to compensate victims of crime and hold offenders financially responsible for their actions. While the specifics of these proceedings may vary from state to state, the overarching goal remains the same.