Restitution is not automatically ordered when a defendant signs a plea agreement with the County Attorney. If a victim wants restitution and it has not been ordered through the court, it is very important a victim makes the request in a timely manner. For restitution to be valid, it must be ordered by a judge and contained on a court minute entry. An Arizona law signed in 2018 gives the probation department jurisdiction to request a restitution hearing for the period of the probation term (A.R.S. § 13-810). If the defendant is sentenced to the Department of Corrections, the County Attorney has jurisdiction to request a restitution hearing. If restitution is not ordered and there is no other court stipulation to keep restitution open, the County Attorney can lose jurisdiction. Under Rule 24.3, Modification of Sentence, the County Attorney has 60 days to file an illegal lenient sentence to include restitution. If the County Attorney fails to do this, the victim may not ask for restitution at a later date. If the defendant is released from probation or parole, jurisdiction no longer exists for the court to order restitution. The only remedy for the victim in both these scenarios is to file a civil claim against the defendant. For more information about jurisdiction, you may contact Adult Probation Department Victim Services Unit.
After the court determines the amount of restitution, a payment plan will be set up if the probationer cannot pay the lump sum. If there is an objection to the amount requested or if the Court or Probation Department were unable to determine an amount, the Court may keep restitution open or set a date for a restitution hearing. Restitution is non dischargeable through bankruptcy (A.R.S. §13-603).
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.
The Community Restitution Program has partnerships with over 1,600 non-profit and governmental entities certified to accept and supervise probation work assignments. The program screens all offenders to match the needs of the receiving agency. Probationers complete approximately 45,000 work hours in the community monthly, and the staff coordinates and supervises over 300 work projects monthly.
Prior to performing community restitution, probationers are required to register at a community restitution location around the county between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Thursday. Locations of community restitution sites are provided on the Community Restitution Program hotline at 602-506-1300, as well as listed below. Intensive Probation Supervision (IPS) and Standard Probationers can call the hotline for a listing of work projects available on a weekly basis. The hotline is updated every Wednesday morning. Both IPS and Standard probationers are eligible to work at the Community Restitution Program hotline projects, exceptions will be noted.
Community restitution credits are only valid if completed at a certified agency and/or special work project sanctioned by the Community Restitution Program. Probationers receive one-hour credit for every one-hour of work. Work credit is also awarded for attendance, participation, and completion of certain programs while on supervision, including some programs held in the jails. Extra credit must be pre-approved by the Administrative Coordinator of the program.
Community Restitution program locations Southern Region Central and South Phoenix, Avondale, Buckeye, Gila Bend. Goodyear & Tolleson 3535 S. 7th St. Phoenix, AZ 85040 Phone: 602-372-3618 Central West Region North Phoenix, Anthem, Cave Creek, New River and Scottsdale 2445 W. Indianola Phoenix, AZ 85015 Phone: 602-372-2383 Eastern Region Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Queen Creek, Tempe and Sun Lakes 245 N. Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201 Phone: 602-372-5513 Western Region El Mirage, Glendale, Litchfield Park, Maryvale, Peoria, Sun City, Surprise, Tonopah, Wickenburg, Wittman and Youngtown 6655 W. Glendale Ave. Glendale, AZ 85301 Phone: 602-372-4744