In Arizona, restitution liens are available to all victims of crime who have been awarded restitution by a Judge.
There are two types of liens:
- Liens in which a victim may file on their own (A.R.S. §13-806); OR
- Criminal Restitution Orders which the court files (A.R.S. §13-805).
Both are civil judgments and can be filed against a defendant's property or future property, such as home or land, and against currently owned vehicle, such as a car, truck, boat, ATV, etc.
A victim can file a lien once a Judge orders restitution. The victim becomes the lien holder and is responsible for releasing the lien once the restitution is paid in full. A victim wishing to file their own lien will have to provide the Victim Services Unit with the last known address and date of birth of the defendant and a description and address of the property. For more information about property, victims can access the Recorder's Office via Internet. The Victim Services Unit (VSU) can assist with Motor Vehicle record's, obtain certified copies of the Minute Entries, and a Judges signature. For more information on guides and sample forms, contact APD Victim Services Unit.
The Criminal Restitution Order is filed only upon absolute release from the Department of Corrections (parole finished) or upon termination of probation. It is not only against property listed above, but once filed, the County Collection Unit can intercept
Arizona Income Tax Refunds, lottery winnings, excess from trustee sales, and civil judgment awards. The County Collection Unit may not allow defendants to register their vehicles as well. The unit will also continue to report the lien to all major credit bureaus. After 120 days, the County Collection Unit will outsource a portion of the order to private collectors and eventually garnish wages.
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