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What Rights Do Crime Victims Have?


To assure each individual of a given court case is treated equally, there is a set list of rights that have been deemed by the state and federal government. The defined list of rights as well as the individual deemed a “victim” will be established by the court system in the given state. A victim can be defined as the person(s) who has been directly harmed by the crime that has taken place. Depending on the crime or incident that has taken place, the court may grant these rights to the victim of a felony, misdemeanor, or to the family or guardian of an individual that has been victimized.

Below we have provided a list of basic victim’s rights that one can expect in most jurisdictions:

1.    Right to Be Treated with Dignity, Respect, and Sensitivity

In any court case, a victim has the right to be treated with fairness and courtesy by court officials and law enforcement throughout the process. The victim is also given the right to describe their psychological, financial, physical, or emotional harm that was inflicted on them to aid in the decision the court faces when ruling against the offender.

2.    Right to Be Informed

In order to assure fairness in ruling for a court case, both parties must be informed of what their rights are and how they may attain resources. Amongst this information, victims should have access to information on how to contact criminal justice officials, what they may expect through the court system process, and how to apply for victim compensation.

3.    Right to Protection

This includes police escorts, witness protection programs, relocation, and restraining orders. If a victim feels there is an existing threat, they will be informed of these options to assure their safety while the court continues to address the issue at hand.

4.    Right to Apply for Compensation

As mentioned earlier, this right should be mentioned when the initial information is given to the victim. Every state should provide the right to compensate or reimburse a victim for crimes that result in financial losses. The individual that experienced this financial loss should have the right to apply for compensation that will award them for the crime if seen fit.

5.    Right to Restitution from the Offender

This includes the right to cover losses by restitution such as lost wages, property loss, and insurance deductibles. The offender would be responsible for covering these losses or damages that resulted from the crime. In doing this, the offender is held responsible for their actions.

6.    Right to Prompt Return of Personal Property

In cases that involve evidence or personal belongings from any party of the crime, individual’s belongings involved must be returned as soon as they are no longer needed. In some cases, photographs take the place of the physical items to assure the belongings are returned promptly.

7.    Right to a Speedy Trial

Time is sensitive in many cases that involve both a victim and an offender so court systems honor the time committed to each trial by keeping track. However this is counter balanced by the right of the defendant to have a fair trial.

8.    Right to enforcement of Victims’ Rights

Court systems must enforce all rights of victims to keep consistency and fairness between individuals of a case as well as between various cases themselves.

For more information on what rights you can expect to have as a victim in a crime case, contact Hart Law Offices. Call 414-271-1775 for a Free Consultation today!

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