Court Rules Restitution For DUI Is Limited

It is commonplace for restitution to be ordered in a Torrance DUI case, particularly when injury results. In this case, the courts limited the time in which a victim can be compensated. The facts of the case are as follows:

The accused, a person named Hilton, drove a vehicle which struck Tellez, a pedestrian. Pursuant to a plea bargain, Hilton pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and was placed on probation in April 2008. He was ordered to pay $3,215 in restitution to Tellez, which he paid in full. Tellez then filed a civil lawsuit against Hilton, which was settled for $3.5 million. In November 2012, more than a year and a half after Hilton’s probation expired, Tellez filed a motion seeking more than $886,000 in additional restitution, mostly for attorney’s fees and lost wages. The trial court held that its prior restitution order was an unauthorized restitution order that could be corrected at any time, and that the issue of restitution could be reopened. Hilton filed a petition for writ of mandate. Held: Petition granted. Under former Penal Code section 1203.3, subdivision (a) and In re Griffin (1967) 67 Cal.2d 343 and its progeny, a trial court loses jurisdiction over the defendant and must discharge him from probation once the probationary term expires. Section 1203.3, subdivisions (b)(4) and (5) reflect the Legislature’s intent that trial courts will not have jurisdiction to impose restitution once the probationary term has expired. Here, Hilton fulfilled all the conditions of his probation, including payment of the restitution order, and his probationary term expired in April 2011. After this time, the trial court did not have jurisdiction to impose additional restitution and its ruling in April 2013 that it did have jurisdiction was erroneous. The trial court also erred by relying on People v. Brown (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 1213 to conclude that the original restitution award was unauthorized. The appellate court rejected the People’s arguments that the California Constitution, former Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f), and Penal Code section 1202.46 authorize imposition of restitution once probation has expired. ( courtesy of CCAP )

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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