In California, victims of crime have a constitutional right to restitution. Restitution is meant to compensate any victim or derivative victim for any economic losses suffered as a result of the criminal conduct of the defendant. It is the policy of the District Attorney that prosecutors and supporting personnel shall assist victims to obtain restitution from convicted defendants in every appropriate case. In our office we have DA’s, Restitution Specialists, Paralegals, Restitution Clerks, and Victim Advocates all trained in victim and restitution law ready to assist you. If you were a victim of a crime and have economic losses we have an online STATEMENT OF LOSS that can be accessed through this web page by following this link.
In 2006 with a cooperative effort between the courts and the District Attorneys Office a restitution modification calendar was established in Santa Clara County. Santa Clara County is one of only two counties that have access to a restitution court to obtain restitution orders even after defendants have been sentenced. If your case falls into this category contact the Restitution Unit in the District Attorney’s Office to discuss your case.
Victims of violent crimes can also receive reimbursement for eligible losses from the State of California. The California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB) administers a program that is primarily funded by restitution fines that courts order convicted offenders to pay in every case. Since 1978, the VCGCB has provided funds to the VWAC Claims Unit in Santa Clara County to process restitution claims for victims. The program provides emergency payments for funeral and burial costs for eligible claims and provides emergency relocation funds for victims of domestic violence. Victims begin the process with the assistance of a victim advocate by submitting an application for Crime Victim Compensation VCGCB , VWAC forms.
What losses are eligible for VCGCB claims payments?
- Medical and medical-related expenses for a victim, including dental expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses for deaths by criminal acts up to $7500
- Relocation expenses up to $2,000 per household
- Outpatient mental health treatment or counseling and in-patient psychotherapy costs
- For actual victims, wage loss for up to five years following the date of a crime
- Up to 30-days of wage loss for a parent or legal guardian of a minor victim who has been hospitalized or has died as a result of the crime
- Support losses for legal dependants of a deceased or injured crime victim
- Home security systems or improvements up to $1,000 if the crime occurred in the victim's home
- Crime scene cleanup for up to $1,000 if a victim died as a result of a crime inside a residence
Expenses not eligible for VCGCB claims payments:
- Lost, damaged, or stolen personal property, except medically necessary replacement of items such as eyeglass and medical equipment
- Legal fees
- Expenses for applicants or victims who have themselves been convicted of a felony and are either placed in jail or on probation or parole
The VCGCB will only pay crime-related bills not covered by insurance or other sources. Reimbursements cannot exceed a total of $70,000 for a particular crime. Each of the above losses may have their own limits. Please consult a victim advocate or a Restitution Claims Unit specialist for limitations that may apply in your case. You do not need a lawyer or other representatives to receive payments through the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board. For assistance with filing an application for Crime Victim Compensation in Santa Clara County, please contact The Victim Witness Center or a victim advocate in the District Attorney’s Office
Direct Restitution claims for victims cover all of the above losses plus stolen or damaged property. Claims for losses that not VCGCB related can be filed with the District Attorneys Office or the Probation Department. If you have a claim that is direct victim restitution please proceed to the Victim Statement of Loss. When the form is completed please return to the District Attorney’s Office Restitution Unit.