Office Hours 8:00-5:00 M-F
Brown County Crime Victim's Assistance
Brown County Courthouse
Aberdeen, SD 57401-4212
phone: (605) 626-7130
fax: (605) 626-7132
If you need immediate assistance dial 911
INFORMATION FOR PROPERTY CRIME VICTIMS
If your property has been damaged, destroyed, or lost because of another person's criminal activity, there are certain steps you can take to request restitution from the criminal.
First, report the crime to the police if the crime occurred within city limits or to the Brown County Sheriff if the crime occurred outside city limits. An officer or deputy will take a report, do follow-up investigation, and submit the report to the Brown County State's Attorney for possible criminal charges.
If the State's Attorney charges a crime, a criminal file is opened, a warrant for arrest is issued, and the suspect will be arrested. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge may order as part of sentence that the defendant repay you for your losses.
Keep track of all expenses associated with the crime. If you intend to have damaged property repaired, get two estimates. If you go ahead with repairs, keep the itemized receipt of payment and canceled check. If your property is destroyed or lost, prepare an estimate of its value and, if possible, talk to an expert in the field to verify the object's worth.
Write a request for restitution, summarizing and totaling your losses, and take the request as well as copies of all estimates and receipts to the State's Attorney's office on the east side of the Brown County Courthouse complex. There, ask that your request and receipts be included in the criminal file.
If the crime is a misdemeanor, the defendant (if convicted) will set up a restitution plan with a Court Services Officer and will be required to pay a set sum on schedule. Payments are recorded with the Clerk of Courts before checks will be sent out to you. If the defendant fails to make payments, he/she can be called back before the sentencing judge to show cause for nonpayment.
If the crime is a felony, the defendant (if convicted) will be either on probation or sent to the SD State Penitentiary. Court Services supervises probationers, so the above instructions apply also to convicts on probation. Convicts sent to the penitentiary most probably will not start making payments until released from prison, and then will make payments under supervision of a parole officer.
Property crime victims have civil recourse against criminals. You may speak to a private attorney about suing or you may file in small claims court at the Clerk of Courts office on the second floor of the Brown County Courthouse. If the defendant is a juvenile, his/her parents might be responsible for up to $1,500 damage caused by the child's intentional act (SDCL 25-5-15).
See SDCL Chapter 23A-28 for more information on restitution laws in South Dakota.