Crime Victim Rights
Victims of crimes have been given certain rights by the legislature. The prosecutor’s office is responsible for enforcing most of these rights. Following is a review of most of these laws, many of which affect domestic assault.
Notification of Victim Rights
Notice must be given to each victim by a peace officer when the peace officer takes a formal statement from the victim. The notice must inform a victim of:
- right to request restitution;
- right to request that their identity not be available to the public;
- right to be notified of plea negotiations;
- right to be present at sentencing and to object to a proposed settlement.
Domestic violence victims are to be given resource information by the police.
Notification of Pre-Trial Release
In domestic violence cases, prior to release of offender, the custodial agency must inform the victim of the conditions of release, time of release, date and place of next court appearance and of the victim’s right to be present, location, and number of shelter.
Before the entry of a plea, the prosecuting attorney shall make a reasonable and good faith effort to inform the victim of:
the contents of the plea agreement, including the amount of jail or prison time recommended;
the right to be present at the sentencing hearing and to express orally or in writing any objection to the agreement.
If the victim is not present when the court considers the recommendation, but has communicated objections to the prosecuting attorney, the prosecuting attorney shall make these objections known to the court.
For most person crimes (not property offenses) the prosecutor must make reasonable effort to notify the victim and obtain input prior to referring a person into a pretrial diversion program.
Notification of Devision Not To Prosecute
In domestic abuse cases, the prosecutor must make every effort to notify the victim when the prosecutor has decided not to prosecute the case or to dismiss criminal charges which have been filed.
The prosecutor is to inform the victim of his/her OFP options.
Notification of Schedule Changes
The prosecutor must make reasonable efforts to notify a victim who has been subpoenaed or requested to testify of any changes in the schedule of the court.
A victim has the right to request that the prosecutor make a demand that the trial be scheduled within sixty days of the request.
Separate Waiting Areas in Courthouse
A separate waiting area for victims to use during court proceedings is to be provided by the court. If a separate area is not available, the court is to provide other safeguards such as victim escorts or bailiffs.
Confidentiality of Victim's Address
Victims or witnesses testifying in court proceedings do not have to give their home or employment address during their testimony unless the court finds it is relevant testimony.
Victim Impact Statement/Presentence Investigation
A presentence investigation report must include the following information:
- summary of damages or harm and any other problems caused by the crime;
- a concise statement of what disposition the victim deems appropriate for the defendant including reasons given by the victim;
- An attachment to the report, consisting of the victim’s written objections, if any, to the proposed disposition.
The probation officer must notify the victim of:
- the conviction offense;
- his/her right to request restitution;
- the time and place of sentencing;
- the victim’s right to be at sentencing;
- the victim’s right to object to sentence or plea agreement.
Victim's Right to Notice of Defendant's Release
The court must make reasonable efforts to inform a victim at the time of sentencing of the victim’s right to request future notice from the Department of Corrections when the defendant’s release is pending.
Right to Submit Impact Statement at Sentencing
A victim has the right to submit an impact statement, either orally or in writing, to the court at the time of the sentencing or disposition hearing. If the victim requests, the prosecutor must orally present the statement to the court.
Right to be Notified of Final Disposition
The prosecutor must notify the victim orally or in writing of the final disposition of a case within 15 days of the disposition.
A victim has the right to request that restitution be considered as part of the disposition of a criminal charge or juvenile delinquency proceeding. If a civil lawsuit against the defendant arises out of the crime, the fact that there is a civil lawsuit cannot be used by the judge as a basis for denying courtordered restitution to the victim.
Right to Request a Probation Review Hearing
If defendant is not complying with a restitution order, the victim may ask the probation officer to schedule a review hearing.
Right to be Notified of Defendant's Release
A victim is entitled to notice that the defendant will be released from incarceration or imprisonment, the conditions of defendant’s release, and who is supervising the release. The victim is required to be notified if the defendant’s custody status is reduced. This includes furlough or work releases or transfers to minimum security facilities. The victim must make a written request to be notified of defendant’s release.
If defendant escapes from prison, the victim is to be notified within 6 hours.
If defendant escapes from furlough or work release, the victim is to notified within 12 hours.
Financial Compensation through Crime Victims Reparations
Financial compensation is available for victims who have suffered personal injury as the result of a violent crime. Victims may recover up to $50,000 for medical and therapy costs, funeral expenses, substitute child care, and lost wages.
In order to qualify, victims must have reported the crime to the police within 30 days and must cooperate with the investigation of the crime.
Direct link for application forms & program information: https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ojp/help-for-crime-victims/Pages/crime-victims-reparations.aspx
Crime Victim Reparations Board
445 Minnesota St., Suite 2300
St. Paul, MN 55101
Phone: 651-201-7300 Tollfree: 888-622-8799
fax: 651-296-5787 TTY: 651-205-4827