A.R.S. 13-603(C) Restitution to Victims
In Arizona, a person convicted of a criminal offense is required to pay restitution to any victim that has suffered an economic loss. A.R.S. 13-603(C) (2003).
As defined in A.R.S. 13-105(14) (2003), "economic loss" encompasses:
Any loss incurred by a person as a result of the commission of an offense. Economic loss includes lost interest, lost earnings and other losses which would not have been incurred but for the offense. Economic loss does not include losses incurred by the convicted person, damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages or consequential damages.
The scope of restitution is further delineated by A.R.S. 13-804(B) (2003), which requires consideration of "all losses caused by the criminal offense or offenses for which the defendant has been convicted."
In the event of the victim's death, the convicted person must make restitution to the victim's immediate family. 13-603(C); see also Ariz. Const. art. 2, 2.1(C) ("'Victim' means a person against whom the criminal offense has been committed or, if the person is killed or incapacitated, the person's spouse, child, or other lawful representative.").
The trial court determines the amount of the economic loss, 13-603(C), and, in so doing, has substantial discretion according to the facts of the case. State v. Ellis, 172 Ariz. 549, 551, 838 P.2d 1310, 1312 (App. 1992) (noting that the trial court has "wide discretion" in setting restitution).
We will uphold a restitution award if it bears a reasonable relationship to the victim's loss. State v. Lindsley, 191 Ariz. 195, 197, 953 P.2d 1248, 1250 (App. 1997).
A loss is recoverable as restitution if it meets three requirements:
(1) the loss must be economic;
(2) the loss must be one that the victim would not have incurred but for the criminal conduct, and (3) the criminal conduct must directly cause the economic loss. State v. Wilkinson, 202 Ariz. 27, 29, P7, 39 P.3d 1131, 1133 (2002).
If the third requirement is lacking, i.e., if the loss does not flow directly from the defendant's criminal activity, then the loss is considered a non-recoverable, consequential damage.
A loss flows directly from a defendant's criminal activity if it results "without the intervention of additional causative factors." Id.