(A) When a defendant is convicted of a crime which has resulted in pecuniary damages or loss to a victim, the court must hold a hearing to determine the amount of restitution due the victim or victims of the defendant’s criminal acts. The restitution hearings must be held unless the defendant in open court agrees to the amount due, and in addition to any other sentence which it may impose, the court shall order the defendant make restitution or compensate the victim for any pecuniary damages. The defendant, the victim or victims, or their representatives or the victim’s legal representative as well as the Attorney General and the solicitor have the right to be present and be heard upon the issue of restitution at any of these hearings.

(B) In determining the manner, method, or amount of restitution to be ordered, the court may take into consideration the following:

Terms Used In South Carolina Code 17-25-322

  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.

(1) the financial resources of the defendant and the victim and the burden that the manner or method of restitution will impose upon the victim or the defendant;

(2) the ability of the defendant to pay restitution on an installment basis or on other conditions to be fixed by the court;

(3) the anticipated rehabilitative effect on the defendant regarding the manner of restitution or the method of payment;

(4) any burden or hardship upon the victim as a direct or indirect result of the defendant’s criminal acts;

(5) the mental, physical, and financial well-being of the victim.

(C) At the restitution hearings, the defendant, the victim, the Attorney General, the solicitor, or other interested party may object to the imposition, amount or distribution of restitution, or the manner or method of them, and the court shall allow all of these objections to be heard and preserved as a matter of record. The court shall enter its order upon the record stating its findings and the underlying facts and circumstances of them. The restitution order shall specify a monthly payment schedule that will result in full payment for both restitution and collection fees by the end of eighty percent of the offender’s supervision period. In the absence of a monthly payment schedule, the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services shall impose a payment schedule of equal monthly payments that will result in full restitution and collections fee being paid by the end of eighty percent of an offender’s supervision period. The department, through its agents, must initiate legal process to bring every probationer, whose restitution is six months in arrears, back to court, regardless of wilful failure to pay. The judge shall make an order addressing the probationer’s failure to pay.

(D) All restitution funds, excluding the twenty percent collection fee, collected before or after the effective date of this section that remain unclaimed by a crime victim for more than eighteen months from the day of last payment received must be transferred to the South Carolina Victim Compensation Fund, notwithstanding the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act of 1981.

(E) An offender may not be granted a pardon until the restitution and collection fees required by the restitution order have been paid in full.