Criminal Defense Attorney Case Review - People vs. Martinez

The criminal defense attorney at the Santa Rosa CA law firm of Adams Fietz have reviewed the case of People v. Arce, filed May 8, 2017.

The Supreme Court of California decided an important case on May 25, 2017. The Sonoma County criminal defense law firm of Adams Fietz has reviewed People v. Martinez.

When a criminal defendant is convicted and sentenced to state prison, section 1202.4 of the Penal Code provides that the defendant must pay restitution directly to the victim for losses incurred “as a result of the commission of a crime.” “To the extent possible,” direct victim restitution is to be ordered in an amount “sufficient to fully reimburse the victim or victims for every determined economic loss incurred as the result of the defendant’s criminal conduct.” (§ 1202.4, subd. (f)(3).) Application of these provisions depends on the relationship between the victim’s loss and the defendant’s crime. In this case, defendant’s crime was not being involved in a traffic accident, nor does his conviction imply that he was at fault in the accident. Defendant’s crime, rather, was leaving the scene of the accident without presenting identification or rendering aid. Thus, under section 1202.4, the trial court was authorized to order restitution for those injuries that were caused or exacerbated by defendant’s criminal flight from the scene of the accident, but it was not authorized to award restitution for injuries resulting from the accident itself.

Under California law, convicted criminals may be required to pay one or more of three types of restitution. They may be required to pay a restitution fine into the state Restitution Fund, to pay restitution directly to the victim, or to pay restitution as a condition of probation. The statutory requirements vary depending on the type of restitution at issue.

Section 20001(a) of the Vehicle Code provides: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident and shall fulfill the requirements of Sections 20003 and 20004.” Vehicle Code sections 20003 and 20004, in turn, require the driver to stop and provide identification and render aid to the victim, as well as to report the accident to authorities if there is no police officer present. Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offense.

The Santa Rosa criminal defense lawyers at Adams Fietz offer Free Consultations for those accused of any crime.