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ACT SUMMARY 2007-2008


ACT NO. 40


Criminal procedures; restitution

This act makes a number of changes to restitution procedures. The act:

(1) provides that a properly recorded restitution order constitutes a lien on real property owned by the offender;

(2) requires the prosecutor to make every effort to inform a victim of a listed crime of any pending motion that may substantially delay the proceeding, and to inform the court of how the victim was notified and, in the event the victim was not notified, the reason why notification did not occur;

(3) authorizes the restitution unit to report offenders’ payment histories to credit-reporting agencies;

(4) authorizes the restitution unit to reduce, without a hearing if so stipulated by the victim and the unit, the amount of restitution collected from the offender on the basis of insurance proceeds paid to the victim;

(5) establishes guidelines for reporting restitution information to the treasurer as unclaimed property, and permits the treasurer to establish a program to assist other state agencies holding property not presumed to be abandoned to locate the owners of the property;

(6) requires a financial institution, upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit, to provide information to the unit about all accounts held by an offender;

(7) adds uninsured lost wages to the damages compensable by restitution;

(8) in the event of a victim’s crime-related death, permits the court, at the request of the restitution unit, to direct the unit to pay up to $10,000.00 from the restitution fund to the victim’s estate to cover future uninsured material losses caused by the death;

(9) prohibits interest from accruing on a restitution judgment;

(10) provides that an offender may be charged with violating probation for nonpayment of a restitution obligation incurred before July 1, 2004;

(11) allows victims to file a motion requesting restitution within one year after the imposition of the sentence or the entry of the original restitution order if restitution was not requested at the sentencing or if there are expenses after the entry of the order;

(12) waives the filing fees for actions to renew restitution judgments;

(13) provides that filing an action to enforce a restitution order in superior or small claims court gives the court exclusive jurisdiction over the proceeding;

(14) requires wage withholding for restitution orders unless the court in its discretion finds good cause not to order wage withholding or the parties have entered into an alternative arrangement by written agreement;

(15) makes restitution obligations exempt from any statute of limitations period;

(16) gives priority to unpaid restitution obligations when disbursing proceeds from the sale of vehicles forfeited for DUI violations;

(17) eliminates the sunset provisions for the restitution unit and the crime victims’ restitution special fund, with the exception of the 15-percent assessment on criminal offenses and civil penalties that is deposited into the fund, the sunset for which is extended to July 1, 2012; and

(18) requires the joint fiscal office, in consultation with the Vermont center for crime victims services, to report to the house and senate committees on judiciary on or before December 15, 2007 regarding the present and projected financial health and status of the crime victims’ restitution special fund.

The act also requires a defendant to provide written notice to a prosecutor that the defendant is seeking access to victim records which are by law confidential.

Effective Date: July 1, 2007, except for Sec. 9 related to the 15-percent assessment on criminal offenses and civil penalties, which takes effect on July 1, 2012.

Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont