Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

a gavel and a small piggy bank Introduction:

Criminal restitution in Utah can be a very serious financial obligation that has everlasting affects. Criminal restitution is not dischargeable in Bankruptcy proceedings. Further, your failure to pay ordered criminal restitution will not allow you to obtain a criminal expungement under Utah’s Expungement Act because you failed to successfully complete probation.

If you have a criminal restitution hearing the attorney at Howard Lewis & Petersen, PC can help.

Criminal Restitution Defined:

Utah criminal restitution means a court order in a criminal case ordering the convicted defendant to pay back the money amount for any damage his criminal activities caused. These restitution payments can be made monthly or in a lump sum, depending on the judge’s orders.

How Court Ordered Utah Restitution is Determined:

If you steal a car and destroy the car and subsequently are convicted a Utah court will take the following measures:

(1). Complete Restitution. The court will determine the amount of money it takes to compensate a crime victim for all losses caused by the defendant. Complete restitution is treated just like a civil case for damages and may include; lost earnings, including those and other travel expenses reasonably incurred as a result of participation in criminal proceedings, and medical and other expenses, but excludes punitive or exemplary damages and pain and suffering. Other complete damages are commonly the value of the stolen property, the damage and cost to fix the damaged property and the lost value of stolen cars or lost value of tools used for employment.

(2). Court Ordered Restitution. In determining the amount and other conditions for court-ordered restitution (the part of the complete restitution actually to be paid), the court shall consider:

(i) The financial resources of the defendant, as disclosed in the financial declaration.

(ii) The burden that payment of restitution will impose, with regard to the other obligations of the defendant.

(iii) The ability of the defendant to pay restitution on an installment basis or on other conditions to be fixed by the court;

(iv) The rehabilitative affect on the defendant of the payment of restitution and the method of payment; and

(v) Other circumstances that the court determines may make restitution inappropriate.

Basically, the court makes a determination of the total losses (“Complete Restitution”) and then executes a “Court Ordered Restitution” that reflects the part of the Complete Restitution number that will actually be repaid to the victim. The Court Ordered Restitution may be the entire amount of the determined Complete Restitution, or it may be a part of the Complete Restitution amount to be made in monthly payments.

Utah Criminal Restitution Judgments and Collection Efforts:

Collectable Utah Judgment. A restitution order becomes a judgment just like any other money judgment issued in the State of Utah. Likewise, restitution judgments can be collected upon like any other Utah judgment including the following collection measures:

(1). Wage garnishment. Essentially they will take money out of your paychecks straight from your employer.

(2). Judgment Liens. A real property judgment lien filed with the local county recorder’s office. A judgment lien is forcloseable and they can sell your house in an attempt to collect the judgment.

(3). Bank Account Garnishments. The judgment creditor who owns the restitution judgment can directly ask your bank for all money in your bank account that will satisfy the criminal restitution judgment.

(4). Sell your Personal Property. The person who you owe restitution to can sell your personal property if they comply with the Utah Exemptions Act. Even though you owe the restitution, there are still certain items that you can keep in the face of a wage, bank or personal property garnishment. The homestead exemption applies to your personal residential home.

The State of Utah may also be requested to attempt collections efforts regarding your criminal restitution judgment.


Effective advocacy at your Utah criminal restitution hearing is important and has long term effects on your finances. The attorney at Howard Lewis & Petersen, PC can help. Call for a free office consultation at (801) 373-6345.

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