What should I do if I am afraid the defendant will hurt me if he is released?
If you have an indication that a crime against you is imminent, you should call the police. You can register with the Louisiana Automated Victim Notification System (LAVNS) by calling 1-866-528-6748. If you register with the LAVNS system, you will be notified about the defendant’s release from jail. You should also let the District Attorney’s Office know if you are being threatened or harassed by the defendant.
Suppose I have suffered a monetary loss as a result of a crime. Will the criminal justice system help me to be compensated, or do I have to go to civil court for that?
The criminal court has the power to order the defendant to make restitution to any victim of the offense. If the crime is a property crime, the court may order the defendant to repay the owner for the monetary value of the loss. For crimes involving bodily injury, the court may order payment for medical expenses. The criminal court has no power to order payment for pain and suffering or the other types of recovery that may be available in civil court. The Crime Victims Reparations Fund may also help to provide compensation to victims of certain types of crimes against the person. For more information on this program, contact the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 329-1216 or the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-281-4141. Also, information is available online here.
How do I get restitution, if some is due me in a criminal case?
There are basically three ways for you to get your restitution in a criminal case. Restitution may be paid as a condition of a plea agreement. The restitution is paid before a plea is taken and will be forwarded to the victim. This only works if the defendant has the money to pay the restitution, or can get it before he pleads.
Another way to get restitution is to have it paid as a condition of probation. A defendant receiving probation may be ordered to pay restitution as a condition of that probation and usually makes monthly payments to his probation officer, which are then forwarded to the victim. Payments ordered as a condition of probation may come in periodic payments and only continue as long as the defendant can make the payments.
The third way of getting restitution for a victim is restitution as a condition of parole. A defendant sentenced to prison will generally be released before he has served all of his time. Defendants released before their sentenced time is completed are generally released on parole. The Board of Pardons and Paroles has the authority to order payment of restitution to the victim as a condition of a prisoner’s parole. The payments would not begin until the parole begins, so these payments will begin much later than would payments made as a condition of probation.
Restitution could also be ordered through a combination of the methods mentioned above.