FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
When does the restitution process begin?
The restitution process begins at the time of Grand Jury. As a victim, you will be asked to complete a restitution affidavit which lists your losses, including travel, missed work, property, medical, and other expenses resulting from the crime. If you do not complete the affidavit during Grand Jury proceedings, the Victim Services Unit will contact you by telephone or letter to obtain your information. It is very important to respond, since restitution cannot be ordered without this affidavit on file. If you need to file a restitution affidavit, you may obtain one at the Tuscaloosa Co. District Attorney’s Office or download/print a copy below (click on the “open in new window” button and print from new window):
How can the victim assist the court in ordering restitution?
To assist the court in ordering restitution, keep your receipts, estimates, and bills for damages or injuries suffered in connection with the crime. This information, along with your name, address, and telephone number(s) is recorded on the restitution affidavit. Bring a copy of all paperwork when you appear at the Grand Jury proceeding. If you change your address or telephone number, please contact the Victim Services Unit immediately to update your affidavit.
How does the court determine restitution?
If convicted of a crime, a defendant may be ordered to pay restitution in an amount set by the judge. Generally, restitution is ordered after a hearing during the sentencing proceeding. It may be necessary for the victim to testify at the hearing.
What if the victim has insurance?
As a victim of a crime, check with your insurance company to see if your policy will cover the expenses of your injury and/or property loss. If your insurance covers all or part of these losses, inform your insurance company that it has a right to file a restitution affidavit for its losses. However, you cannot file a restitution affidavit for losses that are paid to you by your insurance company. You can only claim the amount of the deductible and other out-of-pocket expenses not reimbursed by insurance.
What is expected of the defendant?
If placed on probation, the defendant must follow the standards of conduct specified by the judge and be supervised by a probation officer. In addition to any restitution ordered, the defendant is generally required to pay other court ordered monies as well as a supervision fee.
What if the defendant goes to prison?
If sent to jail or prison, the defendant probably will not be able to pay restitution until released. However, you may have civil remedies available and may wish to consult an attorney concerning this possibility.
What is Alabama Crime Victims Compensation?
This is financial assistance available to victims of violent crimes where a personal injury has occurred. For more information, contact the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission at 100 North Union Street, Suite 778, Montgomery AL 36104, (334) 242-4007 or (800) 541-9388. An application must be filed with the Commission within one year of the crime.
What happens to items held in evidence?
If any of your property is held as evidence, you must contact the assigned Assistance District Attorney to sign a release before the property can be returned to you. It is usually necessary to hold the property until after a trial.