What is Restitution, and When is it Required?

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When you get convicted of certain types of crimes in South Carolina, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victims. When this happens, your restitution acts like a debt that must be repaid in order to fully satisfy your sentence.  If you are charged with a crime involving theft or one that causes an economic loss to someone else, you should immediately contact an experienced South Carolina criminal defense lawyer who can help you better understand and protect your rights.

What is Restitution?

Restitution is simply the repayment of money to a party that you’ve hurt physically or financially in some way. Not all crimes involve restitution payments. Under South Carolina law, here are a few laws (and the specific statutes) that often will require restitution:

Section 17-25-120. Restitution of Stolen Goods

If you steal something, whether it’s money, goods, or personal property, then you will likely be ordered to restore the victim’s property. If you stole $1,000, then a judge may make repayment of the money a condition of satisfying your sentence. If you stole an item and it is no longer available, you may be ordered to pay the owner the reasonable sum to replace it.

Section 17-25-125. Unlawful Taking or Receiving of or Malicious Injury to Property 

If you take something or destroy something that does not belong to you, you might be eligible for a suspended sentence or probation instead of jail time, provided you make adequate restitution. If you fail or refuse to do so, then you will serve the entire original sentence.

Section 17-25-324. Restitution to Secondary Victims and Third-Party Payees.

It’s not just the party you directly injured or robbed. For instance, if you steal a car, and the car has a loan attached to it, then you likely owe the car owner, as well as the bank or lender who held a lien on the title. Both have lost the economic value of the car.

Other Common Examples of Cases Involving Restitution

While theft of any kind is an obvious situation where restitution will likely be ordered, there are other situations where a victim may be economically impacted by your crime. For instance:

  • DUI
  • Reckless Driving
  • Homicide or Manslaughter
  • Assault and Battery
  • Vandalism


If you hurt someone by driving drunk, and that person must seek medical treatment, there is a good chance that you will end up owing restitution to the injured party. If you vandalize property, you could be forced to pay the cost of repairing the damage. If you kill or seriously injure someone in any way, and that injury or death results in a loss of income or loss of financial resources, the injured person or his or her family might be entitled to restitution as well.

Get Help Now

If you’ve been charged with a crime and you think you may be forced to pay restitution, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. You may have options, but do not try to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor by yourself. Call the David Aylor Law Offices today to find out more about your options.

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