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S. Huband, Esq.
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Is there a time limit on a restitution hearing being scheduled

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Is there a time limit on a restitution hearing being scheduled in PA? it has been over 6 mnths since my case was closed.
Thank you for the opportunity to assist you.

Q) Is there a time limit on a restitution hearing being scheduled in PA?


Generally, PA follows the "prompt sentencing" rule. That basically means that the judge should announce the sentence from the bench in open court at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing. By statute, the sentencing judge must state on the record the amount of restitution, if determined at the time of sentencing, or the basis for determining an amount of restitution. 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106.

So, if the judge does not know the amount of restitution at the time of sentencing, the judge must state at least the basis for determining that restitution figure. I think inherent in this requirement is that SOME sort of date should be set by the court. If the court forgets, it's really then up to prosecutor to get the case back in court, since it's the prosecutor who's asking for the restitution in the first place.

Most of these sentencing procedure rules come from Rule 1405 of the PA Rules of Criminal Procedure. That rule was amended in 1996. I found the notes online as to what the committee considered when changing this rule. One of the things they considered was just what you are asking about: a deadline following sentencing for determination of restitution, if the amount was not determined at the actual sentencing hearing. The committee rejected a deadline approach.

Nonetheless, consider rule 704. That rule requires that sentencing be done within 90 days of a finding of guilt. Sentencing includes ALL parts of the sentence: jail time, community service, a fine, AND restitution (or whichever combination of these punishments is applicable.)

A failure to sentence a person within 90 days could be the basis for a person to be discharged from the case altogether. Commonwealth v. Anders, 555 Pa. 467 (1995). But, you have to show prejudice to get the remedy of discharge.

It's tough to know exactly what to recommend to you. Clearly, you're well past the 90 day mark, since six months have passed.

On the one hand, you don't want to wait around for years and then suddenly get dragged back to court. If you've got to pay back money, why not just get it over with so you can move on with your life?

On the other hand, it's not YOUR responsibility to make sure that you get sentenced on time; that's up to the prosecutor and the court. So, if you're the only one out of the bunch who is concerned about restitution, maybe you could keep that concern to yourself for the time being. It's not your job to do the prosecutor's job, after all.

I hope my response has been helpful. If you have follow-up questions or concerns on this topic, please ask. Otherwise, please rate my answer positively so that I can receive credit for my work. Doing so will NOT cost you any additional fee.

Take care,
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Hello again,

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