What are the Rights of a Victim?
As a victim, a minor victim's
parent or guardian, their lawful representative, or the next of kin in a
homicide, you have certain rights as set forth in the State Constitution
and state law. These rights are:
- To be informed, present, and heard when relevant, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, to the extent it does not interfere with
the constitutional rights of the accused. (Incarcerated victims have the right to be informed and submit written statements at all crucial stages.)
- The victim or next of kin of a
victim may not be excluded from any portion of any hearing, trial or
proceeding pertaining to the offense based solely on the fact that such person
is subpoenaed to testify, unless upon motion, the court determines such
person's presence to be prejudicial.
- To receive advanced
notification of proceedings in the prosecution of the accused as well as
judicial proceedings relating to the arrest, release, work release or release
on community control.
- To have a prompt and timely
disposition of the case, to the extent that this does not interfere with the
constitutional rights of the accused.
- To have your employer notified
that your cooperation may be necessitate absences from work and to explain to
creditors the reasons for your financial hardships when it is a direct result
of a crime.
- To request and have the court
appropriate restitution for your financial losses as a result of the crime and
to receive information on the right to enforcement of the court's order.
- If you are the victim of a
felony involving physical or emotional injury or trauma, the parent/guardian
of a minor child victim or the next of kin of a homicide, you shall be
consulted by the State Attorney to obtain views about the release of the
accused pending judicial proceedings, plea arrangements, participation in
pretrial diversion programs and the sentencing of the accused.
- To submit (oral or written) a
Victim Impact Statement to the Court prior to sentencing. This statement
may include a request that a juvenile offender be required to attend a
different school that the victim or the victim's siblings.
- If you are the victim in a
sexual offense, you have the right to have the courtroom cleared during
your testimony of all persons except those as provided by in Florida Statute
receive notification of all schedule changes regarding your case as soon as
- To be informed concerning the
escape of the accused from prison, jail, juvenile detention facility or
residential commitment facility.
- To notify you of a defendant's
release from prison, jail, juvenile detention facility or residential
treatment facility if you are the victim of domestic violence, any sexual
offense, stalking, attempted murder or if you are the next of kin of a
- To have property that was held
for evidentiary purposes returned, unless there is a compelling reason for
- To review a copy of the pre-sentence investigation report upon request, excluding confidential information pertaining to the offender's medical history, mental health, substance abuse, or to another victim.
The victim and the State Attorney, with the consent of the victim, have the legal standing to assert these rights.
You may waive your rights regarding notification of crucial proceedings and request to be notified only when your attendance is required at a proceeding or the final disposition of the cause. Also, you may waive any of the other rights mentioned above. If you wish to waive any of your rights, please contact the Assistant State Attorney handling your case or a member of our
Victim Assistance Unit.