In continuing our series on restitution, we’ll take a look at timelines that are critical to restitution and other important time factors related to restitution and plea deals.

Restitution, Briefly

To clarify, restitution doesn’t involve the pain and suffering that often accompanies a criminal act. It’s intended to address out of pocket costs that were created by the criminal conduct. To get a better idea of this, we can look at the example of a car accident: if there’s a crash and everyone’s insured, the driver of the victim car could seek restitution for their deductible. The insurance company of the victim car could seek restitution also. However, what often happens is the victim’s insurance company will contact the defendant’s insurance company, and they’ll sort out the loss between insurance companies.


When expecting a restitution payment, it’s crucial that the court has the correct address information so the payments can be forwarded as quickly as possible. Restitution distribution usually takes about 15 days from the date that the court receives the payment, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch. This can be extended another 15 days if the collection occurred via a tax refund intercept as well.

If the defendant does not pay or is late in making a payment, there are many consequences the court can choose to pursue, including:

  • Revocation of probation
  • Property liens
  • Driver’s license suspension

You may also choose to pursue restitution collection on your own in the same way you would collect in a civil judgment. You can read more about this on the Colorado Judicial Branch’s website.

Criminal Restitution Deadlines

In a criminal restitution case, the court has 91 days to order the restitution amount from the defendant. However, if “good cause is shown,” than the court may extend that deadline.

In recent news, however, the Colorado Supreme Court is taking up the case of Colorado’s criminal restitution law. The court will look at the timeline, but more specifically, how far courts can extend the deadline past the 91 days.

It’s also important to note that when pleading a case, it’s preferable to have the restitution figured out so its included in the plea agreement. The hearing on the restitution can be burdensome because you have to prove causation and amount, just like going to trial all over again. Generally, it’s better to have the plea agreement and restitution figured out together.

Need Legal Help?

Looking for legal representation? Not sure if hiring an attorney is the right thing for you? Consider reaching out to our attorneys here at the Colorado Lawyer Team for a free 30-minute consultation. With specialties in family law and criminal law, our experienced, dedicated, and hard-working attorneys may just be the representation you need! Find more information at or call 970.670.0378.

Interested in learning more about restitution? Check out our previous blog post about what restitution is here.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).

If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and the Colorado Lawyer Team, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.