As a victim of a crime, you may not know where to begin to get the help you need. You may be suffering financially or had to make life changes, such as moving or quitting a job. Getting the best outcome in a court case isn’t always a given. Arete Law has the experience you need to handle the complexities of criminal proceedings, all while making sure that your rights are number one. In this article, we discuss what you can expect as the victim of a crime, and what rights you have available to you in the state of California.
What are Victims’ Rights?
If you are the victim of a crime, it’s important to know your rights. California has established rights through what is known as Proposition 8, the “Victims’ Bill of Rights.” Marsy’s Law also expands the rights under the California Constitution. Our law firm ensures that you are aware of your rights as a victim and negotiates on your behalf.
There are many services available for crime victims. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Victim Services is available to assist victims with various means of support. However, our law firm can provide personalized help regarding the case. Our team of compassionate lawyers is here for you.
For example, throughout the court proceedings, you have the right to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity. You have the right to privacy and to get court documents upon request.
Exploring Victim’s Rights
Crime disrupts lives — which is why it’s important to know how you can legally protect yourself. Your lawyer can work to ensure that your interests are protected at every step in the legal process. Below are a short summary of rights you have as a victim of crime:
Whether you were a victim of theft, or the crime simply placed a financial burden on you, we can determine that you are paid. Any victim that suffers a loss is entitled to receive restitution, and it is collected before any other monetary payments or monies are collected by the court.
What is Restitution?
Victims of a crime are paid restitution by the convicted person to cover financial losses. During a juvenile court hearing, this happens during disposition. It can include any stolen property, medical expenses, wages or expenses. Parents of a juvenile victim are responsible for restitution. Whether a person is convicted as a minor or adult, restitution is due upon sentencing. Victims are entitled to charge 10 percent interest on restitution per year.
There is a state-managed victim fund for California, the California Victim Compensation Fund. To receive payment, you must apply within a year of the crime and provide written proof of your losses and expenses.
The Victim Witness Assistance Center is a helpful resource for victims to apply for compensation, job retraining, medical, funeral, or burial expenses. The Centers are grouped by county. For assistance in your area, call 1-800-256-6877.
Our trusted team of lawyers are experts at handling restitution, so you can get the money that is owed to you.
The right to a fair and speedy trial is guaranteed under The Victims’ Bill of Rights.
Victims have the right to attend hearings regarding the crime committed and affect the hearing’s disposition.
The court process can be confusing and daunting for victims. Everyone else has an attorney. It makes sense that you would want a capable law firm that can help you through this challenging time. You are allowed to bring two support people. If you cannot attend a hearing, you have the right to provide a Victim Impact Statement, which may determine the severity of sentencing.
Sanctions imposed on a sentenced defendant can include:
● Community service
● Limits to freedom such as probation or parole
● Commitment to a correctional center including a ranch, camp, or prison
If the defendant is sentenced to probation or parole, victims have the right to be informed about the defendant’s sentencing, including location and release date. Your safety and your family’s safety is our top priority, and it must be accounted for before making any judgments about the release.
As a victim of a crime, you have the right to tell the defendant how their crime impacted you. Participation in supervised mediation is available to those who wish to participate. There are even classes available for group support, where victims can talk about how the crime impacted them.
Victims that fear retaliation or simply do not feel safe around the offender may choose to file a restraining, or no contact, order through the civil court. We understand that as a victim of crime, you may not want to attend court proceedings, or you may want to have limited contact with the offender. Our law firm can help you navigate court proceedings so that you feel confident and safe.
Our Commitment to You at Arete Law
Our lawyers don’t settle a deal just for the sake of ending a trial. We pursue all avenues to get you the best outcome. With years of experience and a long history of success, Arete Law is the trusted leader in California constitutional and criminal law.
For more information, give us a call at (619) 693-6474.