The criminal justice system exists to ensure criminals pay for their actions and repay their debts to society, but criminal cases don’t offer much in way of repayment for the victims of these crimes. Many states, including Arizona, have enacted programs aimed at providing compensation for financial losses, pain and suffering, and other economic damages for victims of crime. The Phoenix crime victim injury attorneys at Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. understand that being the victim of a serious crime is stressful enough, and victims shouldn’t have to suffer significant financial repercussions. We represent clients in all types of cases, including crime restitution.
Arizona’s Crime Victim Compensation Program
The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission (ACJC) handles the crime victim compensation program at the state level while processing claims at the county level. County coordinators will process claimants’ paperwork and conduct investigations to confirm claims. It’s important to note that claimants do not have to wait for an arrest or conviction to file a claim with the ACJC. However, the claimant must prove that he or she has exhausted all other options for compensation through other channels before filing a claim with the ACJC.
The claimant should submit an application with all the supporting documentation, including police reports, medical reports, receipts, invoices, and any other evidence pertaining to the claim. A claim coordinator will be the primary point of contact for claimants throughout the process and arrange for compensation board hearings. During these hearings, a review board will decide whether or not to compensate a claimant’s stated damages.
Restitution After Criminal Convictions
Another avenue of compensation for victims of crimes is restitution, or court-ordered payments, as part of a criminal’s sentencing. For example, a convicted criminal may face jail time and fines by the state, but the judge may also order restitution payments to the victim. The court will order restitution if it appears to be in the best interests of the victim’s recovery, or the court deems it necessary to make a victim “whole” again after experiencing a criminal act. The court may require restitution payments to a victim, a victim’s family, any affected third parties, as well as the government itself.
Restitution payments generally cover a victim’s losses. For example, a burglary victim may receive restitution covering the value of his or her stolen property. Restitution can also go toward medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income, and property damage. It’s also important to note that if the court has already ordered a criminal to pay a settlement to the victim in a civil case, the court will consider this in deciding whether or not to require restitution in criminal sentencing.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
After suffering the effects of a criminal act in Arizona, the justice system will ensure the offender pays for his or her crimes, but you won’t have much in the way of compensation for yourself unless the court orders restitution or you file a claim with the ACJC. While this process may seem straightforward, it’s important to understand that the claims process is complex, and legal assistance can streamline it tremendously.
Your attorney will help you explore your options for civil action and manage the ACJC claims process. This involves meeting strict filing deadlines for your paperwork and appearing for all required hearings. A good attorney will also help you gather evidence to support your claim that you otherwise may have overlooked.
Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. has more than 30 years of experience handling civil actions for our clients in the Phoenix area, and we want to put our skills and resources to work for you in your case. If you are concerned about your rights to compensation after being a victim of a criminal act, we can help. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We’ll review your case and the legal actions already in motion to determine the best way to secure compensation for your damages.