In continuing our series on restitution, this blog post will cover some of the types of waivers there are in restitution cases. Want to learn more about restitution? Check out our other blog posts on the topic, including what restitution is and its general timelines.
The state general assembly passed laws to address financial losses to crime victims. The laws governing criminal restitution are located in two places in the Colorado Revised Statutes:
- §16-18.5-101, et al, and
- §18-1.3-601, et al.
The general assembly has created a moral and legal obligation for a person convicted of a crime to make full restitution to those who have been harmed by criminal conduct. Restitution is viewed as both rehabilitation for the offender and as a deterrent for future offenders.
Filing Fee Waivers
When it comes to filing fees in the state of Colorado, there are fee waiver resources that a person can use to help offset the costs of all the fees that accompany restitution. To make a long story short, there are many different fees that all depend on the type of the court the restitution case is in, for example: county civil, small claims, probate, and juvenile. You can check out the full list on the Colorado Court forms PDF. We’ll discuss some of these:
In county civil court, there is a $25,000 award limit when it comes to waiving fees. Each fee type is divided into categories such as:
- Plaintiff / Petitioner
- 3rd Party Plaintiff / Intervenor Answer with Cross or Counter Claim
- Defendant / Respondent / 3rd Party Defendant (No Cross or Counter Claims)
and more. These fees will range anywhere from $55 to $201, and by filling out a fee waiver, a person could receive financial help.
In small claims court, there is a $7,500 award limit, with similar categories to county civil court. These fees are substantially lower than county civil court, ranging from $26 to $75.
To see the full list of the type of court and associated categories you can visit the Colorado Judicial Branch’s page.
So, what happens if you are entering into a plea agreement? As part of sentencing, the judge must address the issue of restitution. Sometimes the loss amount is known to the parties before the plea paperwork is signed. In that scenario, the amount of restitution owed is included in the plea agreement terms and is “stipulated to” as a term of the sentence imposed by the judge. This often happens in theft or robbery cases, where the value of the thing taken is known as part of the evidence in the case.
Stipulation to Causation or Liability
Sometimes the dollar value of the financial harm is still being determined at the time of sentencing. A crime victim who experienced physical harm, and has ongoing or upcoming medical treatment, may not have a sum certain for his or her out of pocket medical expenses at the time of sentencing. Under those circumstances, the parties may agree, or stipulate to causation or liability. However, the dollar amount shall be determined within 91 days of the order of conviction – unless good cause is shown for extending the time period to determine restitution.
Have you been charged with a financial crime, or a crime in which someone was injured? If so, you will want to speak with an attorney who can help you understand the ins and outs of criminal restitution. Although restitution can be challenging to understand, it is more than worth speaking to an attorney and finding the help you need.
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 https://CoLawTeam.com or call 970.670.0378.
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.