Instructions and Forms
There are different types of restitution liens.
A Criminal Restitution Order (CRO) is typically entered by the court after the completion of the defendant's probation period or sentence (or if the defendant absconded) when there is an unpaid balance of any restitution order. The law also allows the court to enter a CRO at the time the defendant is ordered to pay restitution. Interest accrues at the rate of 10% per year. Before you proceed with obtaining your own restitution lien, you should check to see if there is a CRO already filed in the criminal case in which you were named a victim and an order entered for you to receive restitution. Contact the Victim Services Unit of the prosecutor's office if you are unsure (Click here for Victim Services page). If there is a CRO, check with the county recorder (of the sentencing county) to see if it has been recorded, and with the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). If the defendant tries to sell real property in the sentencing county or a vehicle in the state, any monies paid will go to the clerk of the court for distribution as prioritized by law (Authority: ARS § 13-805).
A Restitution Lien is used when restitution has been ordered but no CRO has been entered. Any person entitled to restitution pursuant to a court order may file one. Establishing a Restitution Lien does take some time, but can be an effective tool in collecting restitution. It attaches to real property (in the county or counties it is recorded in) and vehicles owned by the defendant (when filed with MVD). A Restitution Lien filed with the Secretary of State perfects against interests in personal property. Once paid off, it is the responsibility of the lien-holder to releases the lien(s) involved (Authority: ARS § 13-806).
A Pre-Conviction Restitution Lien may be requested by the victim or prosecutor after the filing of a misdemeanor complaint or felony information or indictment. If the request is granted by the court, then the lien is treated the same as a Restitution Lien. If the case is dismissed or the defendant acquitted, it is the court's responsibility to order the release of any pre-conviction restitution lien (Authority: ARS § 13-806).