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Know the purpose of restitution in some criminal matters

When you're facing a criminal charge for destroying or stealing someone's property, you might have several sentence components handed down upon a conviction. These may include incarceration or probation, fines, court costs and restitution. While most of these are common in all criminal cases, restitution isn't something that is associated with every criminal charge.

Restitution is a payment that you make that goes to the victim of the crime. In the case of vandalism or theft, it is meant to repay them for their property. You might be ordered to pay this, so the person can paint something that you painted graffiti on or to buy a new mailbox if you destroyed theirs.

It is possible for you to be ordered to pay restitution and a fine. The restitution goes to the victim, but the fine remains in the court system. The fine is meant to be a reminder that you shouldn't partake in criminal activities in the future.

Typically, you'll pay the fines, restitution and court costs to the court or an appointee of the court. The party you pay will then distribute the payments you make to the appropriate parties. You wouldn't make the payments for restitution directly to the victim. Because these are part of your sentence, there are penalties you'll have to deal with if you don't make the restitution payments as ordered.

The financial obligations you're likely going to have to deal with should be a factor that you consider when you're thinking about your defense strategy. Make sure you think about all available options, so you can move forward with the one you feel is in your best interests.

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