California’s DUI laws can be complex and confusing. In this section, our attorneys break down the rules and explain the process.
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DUI » The Relationship between a DUI and California's Victim Restitution Laws » The Relationship between a DUI and California's Victim Restitution Laws
California’s victim restitution laws provide that any person who suffers an economic loss due to another person’s criminal act is entitled to recoup those expenses. This means that if you are arrested for driving under the influence…and the incident involves an accident…California law may require you to pay victim restitution.
If the victim can prove that your conduct substantially contributed to his/her losses, the court will order you to pay the full amount of those damages as a condition of your probation. California’s victim restitution laws don’t require that the criminal conduct be 100% responsible for the losses, but rather that it is a substantial factor in causing the damage(s).
If you are truly unable to make the payments, the court may modify your probation, although the victim will be able to pursue the damages through a civil judgment. If you willfully fail to pay, that willful failure can be construed as a probation violation, subjecting you to incarceration.
Remember, these California victim restitution laws are based on the assumption that your DUI substantially contributed to the victim’s injuries or damages. If you maintain that…despite the fact that you were DUI, you were not responsible for the accident…you should fight the allegations so that you are not being unfairly made to pay restitution for damages that were not your fault. (See our article, Can a California DUI conviction be expunged from my criminal record?)
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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