Idaho has passed statutes that allow criminal courts to order defendants to reimburse victims of crime for the damages caused by their criminal actions. The idea behind this statutory scheme is to provide a quicker and less expensive method for victims to obtain financial reimbursement than going through the civil system. There is no guarantee that a court will order the defendant to reimburse the victim through the criminal case; however, this is done in a great majority of cases.
The laws regarding the compensation of victims of crime are set out in Title 19, Chapter 53 of the Idaho Code.
The primary statute governing when and what courts may order the defendant to pay for in a criminal proceeding are set forth in Idaho Code Section 19-5304. That statute defines the people or entities that qualify to apply for reimbursement through the criminal system. It also sets out the types of damages for which restitution can be ordered and the procedural requirements for handling restitution requests. The types of loss that are reimbursable "includes, but is not limited to, the value of property taken, destroyed, broken, or otherwise harmed, lost wages, and direct out-of-pocket losses or expenses, such as medical expenses resulting from the criminal conduct, but does not include less tangible damage such as pain and suffering, wrongful death or emotional distress." Although the victim rights statute does not allow a criminal court to order restitution for such things as pain and suffering, victims have the right to seek these types of damages in civil court.