We are often asked, what, if any, existing legal right in collection does an aggrieved victim have against a defendant who was ordered to pay restitution in a preceding criminal action? In short, an aggrieved party that is either the State or named as a victim in a resulting criminal Restitution Order has an enforceable right to restitution identical to a judgment holder. Being the named victim in the Restitution Order directs the offender to pay restitution for this person’s benefit and the victim is allowed to enforce that right through the civil collection process. To perfect that right, a victim may do many things, including filing a Civil Restitution Lien to attach to property acquired by the offender after the Restitution Order is issued. This Lien lasts for twenty (20) years.
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