What is Restitution and How is it Calculated under Florida Law?

General Criminal Defense

11/18/2009
Kelly L. Rooth, Shareholder
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What is Restitution and How is it Calculated under Florida Law?

Restitution is an equitable remedy whereby the court orders the defendant to pay back the damage caused to the State and victim.  Florida law provides that the court must consider the amount of the loss sustained by the victim as a result of the offense to determine whether to order and the amount of restitution. 

In a recent Second District Court of Appeals case, G.M.H. v. State,  the defendant was adjudicated delinquent for burglary of a dwelling and grand theft of a dirt bike.  The court evaluated whether the award of restitution amounting to $1062 was proper. 

The victim purchased the 2003 Suzuki dirt bike for $1350.  The bike sustained damages and had missing parts from the theft.  The victim made some repairs but not all, and traded the bike for another “of equal book value.”  The victim’s mother testified as to the amount spent for replace parts and submitted a list of prices for all needed repairs requesting $1062. 

The defendant objected to hearsay in the damages evidence.  The state conceded this point on appeal and argued that restitution should include any diminution in the bike’s value before it was traded.  Generally, restitution is calculated based on the property’s fair market value at the time of the offense.  The restitution amount must be offset by the salvage value of the property returned.  The court reversed and remanded for a new restitution hearing where the State could present admissible evidence of the loss amount sustained by the victim. 

If you have questions about restitution owed in your criminal case, call St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers at Rooth Law Group today for a free consultatio at (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.

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