During the criminal process the defendant (perpetrator) has so many rights, as a crime victim do I have rights?
Yes. While the rights of crime victims vary from place to place there are rights that are common to most jurisdictions. Those rights are:
- The right to reasonable protection from the accused and those acting on behalf of the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate and timely notice of public court proceedings.
- The right to be present at public court proceedings that defendant has the right to attend.
- The right to be heard at any public proceeding, usually including proceedings involving release, pleas, sentencing or parole.
- The right to confer with the prosecution.
- The right to full and timely restitution. (Restitution is payment of monies from the offender to the victim to compensate for losses incurred from the crime).
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay. (This right is often also phrased as the right to a speedy disposition).
- The right to be treated with fairness and with dignity and respect for one’s privacy.
- The right to a copy of the presentence report or transcripts.
- The right to information about the criminal justice process and your rights, and the right to referrals.
- The right to apply for victim compensation. (Victim compensation is money paid from the government to a victim, usually to cover certain out of pocket costs incurred as a result of the crime. For more information on compensation contact the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards http://www.nacvcb.org/.)
What information do I need provide to an attorney to determine whether I have a case?
You need the following information
About the Criminal Event:
- Date and time of criminal occurrence
- Location of events, addresses, and description of premises
- Identification of witnesses to any stage of the occurrence
- Identification of known physical evidence
- Whether a police report was filed, and if so, identification of: the police department where the complaint was filed, the detective or officer assigned to the case, the complaint or report number, and statements taken as part of an investigation
- Whether there was or is a criminal case and if so, identification of: the prosecutor, current stage of criminal case, and description of the case investigation conducted
About the Perpetrator:
- If the perpetrator is known to the victim: nature of relationship with victim, perpetrator?s name and aliases, address, date of birth and social security number, employment information, and any information known about the perpetrator’s assets and insurance coverage
- If the perpetrator is not known to the victim: physical description of the perpetrator, identifying features
- If the perpetrator is not known to the victim, but a third party might bear some liability for the occurrence of the crime, details of events surrounding the crime and where it was committed become increasingly important, such as information about where the occurrence took place and whether there was any security, if known.
About Damages Sustained by the Victim:
- Medical information: degree of physical, emotional, and psychological injuries sustained and extent and cost of anticipated treatment
- Identification of hospital, physician services
- Identification of property damage
- Amount of victim’s or victim’s spouse’s lost time from work, lost wages, money recouped from workers compensation, or state or private disability insurance
- Source of funds to cover damages or losses such as insurance (policy number), crime victims compensation, Medicare, and restitution.