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Name: People v. Gross
Case #: C076635
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/27/2015

Dismissal of criminal charges under former Welfare and Institutions Code section 3200 does not relieve defendant of obligation to pay direct victim restitution. Gross pled guilty to a number of offenses. The trial court sentenced him to prison, but suspended execution of that sentence and committed him to the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). The trial court also ordered him to pay direct restitution to his victims in the amount of $80,140.51. After Gross successfully completed his CRC commitment, the trial court dismissed the criminal charges pursuant to former section 3200. Years later, the Franchise Tax Board sent him a demand for payment indicating that he was delinquent in paying the court ordered direct restitution. Gross filed a motion to be relieved of restitution pursuant to section 3200 and Penal Code section 1203.4. The trial court denied the motion. Gross appealed. Held: Affirmed. Former section 3200 provided that the trial court could dismiss criminal charges if a defendant successfully completed a CRC commitment. The dismissal “shall have the same force and effect as a dismissal under [Penal Code] Section 1203.4 . . . .” Section 1203.4, subdivision (a)(1) in turn, provides that a dismissal releases the defendant from “all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.” However, a dismissal does not release a defendant from nonpenal restrictions adopted for the protection of public safety and welfare. Direct victim restitution is not punitive, and its purpose is to make the victim whole, to rehabilitate the defendant, and to deter future criminality. It does not qualify as a penalty or disability from which a defendant is relieved under section 1203.4. (Compare People v. Guillen (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 975 [restitution fines are a penalty or disability].) Additionally, victims have a constitutional right to restitution “regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed.” (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28, subd. (b)(13).)