As a victim of crime in Virginia, you can apply for court-ordered financial assistance with reasonable and necessary expenses that arise from a crime.
View a printable handout about victim restitution by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.
In this section, find more information on:
Restitution repays a victim of crime for monetary loss due to a crime and is court-ordered by a judge. Whenever a defendant (typically the offender) is ordered to pay restitution, any money collected by the court is used first to pay restitution before being used to pay fines, costs, or penalties.
Applying for Restitution
How to Request Restitution
The judge will need information about your losses to determine the amount of court-ordered restitution. Keep a record of all expenses related to the crime.
Make sure you give this information to your local Victim/Witness Assistance Program or Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office as soon as possible before the trial date.
It is your responsibility to provide copies of the bills and other documents showing the extent of your injuries, out-of-pocket losses, and any other damages you want the court to consider.
When to Request Restitution
Give your restitution information to your local Victim/Witness Assistance Program or Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office as soon as possible. Restitution might not be ordered if you do not provide the information before the trial date.
It is important to stay in frequent contact with your Victim/Witness Assistance Program to follow all case developments and deadlines. Call the Victim/Witness Assistance Program or Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to find out when you need to submit your documentation.
If restitution information is not provided in time, you may have to pursue restitution through a civil lawsuit.
At sentencing, the court is required to enter an Order of Restitution (DC-317), including:
- Amount of restitution to be repaid by the defendant
- Date by which all restitution is to be paid
- Terms and conditions of such repayment
You can request a free copy of the restitution order from the court clerk’s office for your records. Once restitution is court-ordered, you should accept restitution only in the manner ordered by the court.
Expenses Eligible for Compensation
The judge will determine which expenses will be considered and the amount of restitution to be awarded. The court may consider ordering restitution for:
- Medical expenses
- Dental costs
- Reimbursement for an insurance deductible
- Funeral costs
- Lost or damaged property
- Stolen goods
- Other out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the crime
Documenting and Collecting Best Practices
- Keep your address and phone number up-to-date with the court clerk’s office where the defendant was sentenced. The clerk’s office will also need the defendant’s name. Contact the clerk’s office or your local Victim/Witness Assistance Program for more information about how to update your address information.
- Keep copies of your restitution-related records. You may be called to testify if there are questions about restitution in your case.
- Keep a list of medical and other service providers you have seen for any crime-related losses or injuries, including their mailing addresses and other contact information.
- Keep all bills, cost estimates, insurance benefit summaries, medical records, payment receipts and/or bank records in a binder or folder. The judge will likely request this information when determining restitution amounts.
- Before you leave the courthouse, make sure you know who to contact in case you do not receive restitution payment(s) as ordered by the judge.
Receiving Restitution Payments
How to Receive Ordered Restitution Payments
Restitution may be paid to you in installments, as allowed by court-order.
Court-ordered restitution must be paid by the defendant to the clerk of the court by the due date specified in the court-order. Do not expect to receive your payment on the same date it is paid to the court.
Once the clerk receives a payment, verification and processing will likely take 21 days or more to complete.
If your check is returned to the clerk, or remains uncashed for one year or more, the clerk will submit the funds to the Virginia Victims Fund. In this case, getting those funds redirected back to you will take additional time.
Notify Authorities of Address Changes
To receive restitution payments in a timely fashion, you must keep your address and phone number up-to-date with the clerk’s office where the final sentencing of the defendant occurred. To efficiently find and update your record, the clerk’s office will need the defendant’s full name.
Contact the clerk’s office or your local Victim/Witness Assistance Program for more information about how to update your address information.
Delinquent Restitution Payments
Consequences of Failing to Pay Restitution
If a defendant does not pay court-ordered restitution, the following consequences could occur:
- Their driver’s license could be suspended
- The debt could be sent to collections
- They could face jail time
- They may be required to go before a judge to explain why restitution has not been paid
Delayed Payments if Defendant is in Jail or Prison
Restitution payments most likely begin when the defendant is released from jail or prison. Once the defendant is released, payments may be made as required by a court-ordered payment plan.
Request a copy of the defendant’s restitution order with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program or Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office staff to find out about when to expect payments and who to contact in case of problems.
Receiving Payment While Defendant is on Probation
When a defendant is court-ordered to pay restitution and is placed on supervised probation by the judge, the defendant is required to pay restitution to the clerk’s office. If you do not receive payments in accordance with the restitution order, please notify the Victim/Witness Assistance Program or Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office staff.
Please note the due date for the restitution since the court cannot take action until after the court-ordered due date.