Restitution is payment made to a victim for financial losses resulting directly from the harm or damage caused by the criminal offender. For example, this may involve payment for material losses, damages to property or medical expenses.
If you have questions about restitution, please contact our victim services coordinator at (808) 538-5687 or VictimServices.1CC@courts.hawaii.gov.
When an offender pleads to, or is found guilty of a felony offense, the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney submits the name, address and phone number of the victim to Adult Client Services. A probation officer will then send a letter to the victim that asks whether the victim would like to request restitution.
It is important that victims respond to Adult Client Services within the two-week deadline.
As part of the requisition process, victims must provide documents such as receipts, invoices or estimates to verify their losses and expenses. The victim may include any losses or expenses covered by their insurance or a third party. If restitution is received in this instance, the victim must notify their insurance company or the third party about any payments received. A victim’s request for restitution is included in a pre-sentence report submitted to the court prior to an offender’s sentencing.
Qualifying Criteria for Restitution:
Restitution is limited to reasonable and verified losses suffered by the victim as a result of the crime. The types of losses that may be recovered through restitution include, but are not limited to:
- Full value of stolen or damaged property, as determined by replacement costs of like property, or the actual or estimated cost of repair, if repair is possible;
- Medical expenses; and
- Funeral and burial expenses incurred as a result of the crime.
Pursuing Restitution Through Civil Enforcement
If the judge orders restitution to be paid to the victim as a stand-alone sanction, in addition to ordering restitution as a term and condition of probation, the offender will be responsible to pay the ordered amount and the victim may elect to pursue this amount through civil enforcement. In this event, the offender serves his/her criminal sentence, but will also be subject to civil collection methods, such as garnishment of wages or property liens for enforcement of the restitution order.
The victim or victim’s attorney must file a special civil proceeding to enforce the stand-alone sanction of the criminal order to receive enforcement and collection powers in the same manner as a civil judgment. In some cases, this period of enforcement and collection extends beyond the criminal sentence period.
Receiving Restitution Payments
Victims will be notified at their last reported address if restitution is ordered. Victims must ensure that any changes to their addresses are reported to the offender’s supervising probation officer. This is necessary to ensure payments reach the victims and that victims are timely advised of the status in the case.
Once the offender begins making restitution payments via cash, certified check or money order, the First Circuit Court Cashier’s Office will issue a check to the victims.