Antonio R. Sarabia II is a leading expert on victim restitution in Southern California. He has obtained restitution orders of more than $150,000 for an individual who was a victim of grand theft and over $500,000 for a corporate victim of criminal trademark counterfeiting. He has also worked closely with victims of abuse by medical professionals, with an emphasis on recovering not just past medical expenses, but also the important costs of future therapy. Mr. Sarabia represents individual and corporate victims in both state and federal court. His extensive written work on restitution combined with his substantial courtroom experience make him uniquely qualified to help victims.
Victim restitution is the right of crime victims to receive payment from the person or entity who committed a crime that caused harm to them or someone in their family. To obtain restitution, there must first be a conviction, such as a plea agreement, a plea of no contest, or a guilty finding by a judge or jury. Then, the victim must communicate their losses to the court, the prosecuting attorney, or the probation department. Losses may include lost income, damaged or stolen property, medical bills, therapy, or damage to a business or its property.
Victim restitution is different from filing a civil suit (or personal injury suit) in several ways. For instance:
Victim restitution is usually ordered to the victim within a matter of weeks of a criminal conviction, while most civil suits generally take well over a year and sometimes years.
In a civil suit, the victim is required to face the perpetrator’s attorney and answer personal questions under oath, in front of a court reporter (and maybe the perpetrator as well), for an entire day. This is a deposition. There are no depositions in victim restitution.
In most personal injury cases, the attorney takes between 30 percent and 40 percent of the victim’s recovery. This does not occur in victim restitution.
Exercising your right to victim restitution does not bar you from filing a civil lawsuit as well. Rather, victim restitution can be used to increase your total recovery because a portion of your civil attorneys’ fees may be paid to you in victim restitution. In other circumstances, a right of privacy claim may go hand in hand with a request for victim restitution, as it may be necessary to protect the victim from the accused.
In addition to representing crime victims, principal attorney Antonio R. Sarabia II has written extensively on restitution. He is the author of the chapter “Victim Restitution” in California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice, the most popular reference used by judges, district attorneys, and defense counsel in California criminal cases. He is also a contributor to the “Bench Guide on Restitution,” a special publication for California judges, and for more than six years he served as a member of the Community Advisory Board of the Restitution Center. Please see our publications page for Mr. Sarabia’s bibliography.
If you or your business has been the victim of a crime in which charges have been filed, reach out to IP Business Law, Inc. to arrange a free initial consultation regarding your restitution rights, or provide information about your victim restitution matter here.
If you have been the victim of a crime in which charges have been filed with any state court (not federal court) in any county in California, you can use the California Restitution Self-Help Package. This package guides you through the use of the most important restitution forms and includes instructions on how to work with the court system. You are only eligible for restitution if there has been a conviction—this includes a plea agreement, a plea of no contest, or a guilty finding by a judge or jury. It does not matter which type of conviction occurred, nor does it matter if the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony.
A victim is entitled to a statement of assets from the defendant.
A victim is entitled to a restitution order and an abstract of judgment.
A victim is entitled to information regarding income deduction order.