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Criminal Case Restitution
Contact Me



(415) 967-0125

Isaac Safier, Esq.
345 Franklin St.

San Francisco, CA 94102





(415) 789-4305


  • Victim Representation in Criminal Restitution Hearings

  • Defendant Representation in Criminal Restitution

  • Complex Restitution Cases


Isaac Safier, Esq. is an experienced restitution attorney who brings his substantial finance and real estate experience to the arena of fighting for or against the presumption of restitution for his clients, whether they be Victims or Defendants.  

Victims have the right to restitution under California Constitution, article 1, §28(b)(13), as well as the California Penal Code (§ 1202.4). Victims of crimes who have suffered a financial loss as a result of a crime committed by a minor are also entitled to restitution (California Welfare and Institutions Code § 730.6). Restitution can be ordered for any type of crime, from DUIs to White Collar Crimes such as fraud cases.  Even if the Victim received an insurance payment, or received a civil judgment, they may be entitled to additional restitution from the criminal court.  

After a Defendant enters a plea or is convicted after a trial on the merits, a hearing is held to determine the amount of restitution owed to the Victim.  The hearing is held in front of a judge, not a jury, and there is a presumption that the Victim is entitled to the compensation demanded.  The presumption may be overcome with a showing of evidence.  

Stack of Files



Anyone who is a victim of a crime can claim restitution (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(b); Pen. Code, §1202.4(a)(1)). A crime “victim” is any person who has suffered economic loss as a result of the crime. A victim may include an immediate family member or person living with the direct victim (Pen. Code, §1202.4(k)(3)(A) and (B); a family member or fiancée who witnessed the crime (Pen. Code, § 1202.4(k)(3)(C); or the primary caretaker of a minor victim. (Pen. Code, §1202.4(k)(3)(E)).  A victim, for purposes of restitution, can also be a corporation, estate, or other type of entity. 


Under California Penal Code § 1202.4(f) economic losses include full or partial payment for the value of stolen or damaged property; medical expenses; mental health counseling expense; lost wages or profits due to injury or coming to court; relocation expenses; and even security installation expenses or other necessary improvements.  In addition, the court has broad discretion to award restitution for economic losses that fall outside of the scope of the statutory scheme.


A victim can claim reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the victim in protecting or establishing the right to restitution (People v. Lyon (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1521).


A civil settlement does not bar an additional restitution award for additional losses, even if the settlement contains a  release. (People v. Clifton (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1165, 1168.) A release cannot waive the People’s right to have a defendant pay restitution. (People v. Bernal (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 155, 160).)


At the restitution hearing, the Victim presents evidence of their losses caused by the Defendant's crime, demonstrating that the defendant's conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm (it does not have to be the sole cause). The Victim must meet the standard of proof by a preponderance of the evidence. Documentary evidence like bills and business records is admissible to support the amount of losses, while a Victim's testimony alone serves as prima facie evidence. Once the victim makes their initial showing, the burden shifts to the defendant to demonstrate any inaccuracies. Failure to object to the Victim's proof waives any objections.  At the end of the hearing the Judge will issue an order for economic losses (not punitive or non-economic like pain & suffering).  A restitution order becomes a “money judgment” as defined in Code of Civil Procedure sections 680.230 and 680.270 and is enforceable as a civil judgment.  

If a Defendant has not paid or is not consistently paying Restitution, they may face difficultly in getting their record cleared in the future.   

Concealment of assets to avoid payment of restitution may be a felony if the underlying crime was a felony, and a misdemeanor if the underlying crime was a misdemeanor. (Pen. Code, §155.5.)

Isaac Safier Esq.


Your criminal defense attorney may have done great work getting you a solid plea agreement, or even beating some of the charges in your case, but can they give the same attention to your restitution hearing?  Many criminal defense attorneys work on a flat fee basis, and may not have anticipated a lengthy fight in a restitution dispute.  Properly preparing for a restitution hearing, to avoid an order to pay an exorbitant amount of money and right-size your restitution order may entail:

  • Sending subpoenas to witnesses

  • Securing appraisals and estimates

  • Using Expert Witness to challenge claims

  • Researching valuations

  • Challenging future wages claims based on discounted cash flow analysis

  • Preparing and Filing an Opposition 

  • Briefing various legal issues that come up

Attorney Isaac Safier, Esq. typically works on an hourly fee. This fee does not include outside costs such as expert witnesses or appraisers.  This allows you to devote the resources you need to addressing and fighting an outsized restitution claim.  


As a Victim you are not represented by the District Attorney, who actually represents the state.  Individuals may work with a victim advocate or the probation department to prepared a restitution claim.  In some cases the Victim is a company, association, other entity, or an individual that requires a more complicated calculation and application of law to the loss they incurred.  In these cases, a private attorney such as Isaac Safier, Esq. can assist in fully developing a claim for restitution so that the victim can recover the full amount to which they are entitled.  A restitution attorney can act as a liaison between your company or entity and the District Attorney, as well as facilitate investigations into the extend of the fully legally recoverable loss incurred.  


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