Tennessee Updates Law Providing Victims’ Restitution and Compensation

A conceptual look at money and the legal system. Shot with shallow depth of field.

Prior to 2022, TCA § 40-25-105 did not address restitution paid to the victim of a crime in its ordered schedule of payments from a convicted defendant. HB 870/SB 893 sought to change this. Passed in 2021, and in effect as of January 1, 2022, § 40-25-105(a) now places a victim’s right to restitution as a top priority

Collections of Fines, Costs, and Litigation Taxes:

TCA § 40-25-105(a):

“…The following shall be the allocation formula for moneys paid into court in matters adjudicated on or after January 1, 2022: the first moneys paid in a case shall first be credited toward the payment of restitution owed to the victim, if any, and once restitution has been paid in full, the next moneys shall be credited toward payment of litigation taxes, and once litigation taxes have been paid, the next moneys shall be credited toward payment of costs; then additional moneys shall be credited toward payment of the fine.”

In addition to prioritizing the delivery of restitution payments, HB870/SB893 also amends TCA § 29-13-108, which governs the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund. The “Fund” is available for victims of crimes, who as a result of the crime, suffer pecuniary losses regarding medical, cleaning, moving, and funeral costs, amongst a variety of other reasons. Eligibility to receive compensation from this state-allocated fund depends on the specific facts of a case, but HB870/SB893 has amended the requirements for all potential applicants, who now have 2 years from the time of the crime or the loss to apply for compensation, rather than one.

Claims for Compensation - Procedure:

TCA § 29-13-108(a):

“A claim for compensation shall be filed not later than two (2) years after the occurrence of the crime upon which the claim is based or two (2) years after the death of the victim or two (2) years after any mental or physical manifestation or injury is diagnosed…”

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