Being a victim or a witness to a crime is often the first experience a person has with the criminal justice system. Knowing their guaranteed rights and knowing there is available assistance for the emotional, physical and financial crises often resulting from a crime will make the experience a little less traumatic.
The guaranteed rights of a victim of a crime or the next of kin of a homicide victim are:
THE RIGHT to be present, the right to be informed, and the right to be heard, when relevant, at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile justice system to the extent that these rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.
THE RIGHT to be free from threats, intimidation, or harassment and the right to information concerning the steps available to law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office to protect victims. It is against the law to cause a victim/witness to be placed in fear by force or threats, to make an assault on, or harm any victim/witness. If you are being threatened or intimidated, please contact the police.
THE RIGHT to be notified when an offender escapes or is released from a state correctional facility, county jail, juvenile detention facility or involuntary commitment facility.
THE RIGHT to restitution (payment for financial loss as a result of a crime) from the offender for certain expenses and information from the State Attorney if and when restitution is ordered.
THE RIGHT to request assistance from Law Enforcement and the State Attorney's Office to inform the victim's creditors and employer about serious financial hardship or necessary absences from work as a result of the crime.
THE RIGHT to a prompt, timely disposition of the court case, as long as this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.
THE RIGHT to receive advance notification, when possible, of judicial proceedings and notification of scheduling changes.
THE RIGHT to be consulted by the State Attorney's Office in certain felony cases in orde to obtain the victim or victims' family's views about the disposition of any criminal or juvenile case.
THE RIGHT to be accompanied by a Victim Advocate during any deposition of the victim. (Victims who are not
incarcerated are not required to attend discovery depositions in any correctional facility).
THE RIGHT to review certain portions of a pre-sentence investigation report for an adult and/or youthful offender prior to the sentencing of the accused.
THE RIGHT to make an oral or written victim impact statement to the court prior to sentencing of the offender who pleads guilty, nolo contendere or who is convicted of a felony crime.
THE RIGHT to the prompt return of property collected by law enforcement or the State Attorney's Office for evidentiary purposes following the
completion of the investigation and/or prosecution of the case unless there is a compelling law enforcement need to retain the property.
THE RIGHT to seek crimes compensation and restitution.
THE RIGHT to have their rights as outlined on this webpage enforced through the State Attorney's Office.
THE RIGHT to request, in certain sexual offense cases, HIV testing and to know at the earliest convenience, if the person charged with an offense involving the transmission of body fluids has tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
THE RIGHT, in certain circumstances, to request that the offender be required to attend a different school than the victim or siblings.
THE RIGHT, if you are a victim of domestic violence to be informed of the Address Confidentiality Program administered by the Office of the
Attorney General. Please contact 1(800)226-6667 for further information.
THE RIGHT, if you are a victim in jail, to be informed and submit written statements at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile justice systems.
The victim or the next of kin of a homicide victim is obligated by Chapter 960, Florida Statutes unless necessary in pursuit of legal remedies, to not release any information in a case involving a juvenile.
The victim, next of kin of a victim, or relative of a minor victim must receive advance notification of judicial and post proceedings relating to the
case including the arrest, release, work release, or release to community control of the accused, and proceedings in the prosecution of the accused.
The victim or next of kin of a victim cannot be excluded from any portion of a hearing, trial or proceeding based solely on the fact that such person
is subpoenaed to testify, unless the court determines their presence is prejudicial.
ARE VICTIMS ELIGIBLE FOR VICTIM COMPENSATION?
It depends. The victims or relatives of deceased victims may be eligible for financial assistance from the State of Florida. If determined
to be eligible by the Office of the Attorney General, assistance may be available for medical/dental expenses, burial expenses, lost wages,
relocation money for domestic violence victims and mental health counseling. For more information, call the Office of
the Attorney General at 1(850) 414-3300 or 1(800) 226-6667.
IS VICTIM INFORMATION PART OF THE PUBLIC RECORD?
Section 119.07, Florida Statutes, prohibits any information which reveals the identity, home or employment telephone number, address, or
personal assets of a victim of a crime, a victim of sexual battery, aggravated child abuse, aggravated stalking, harassment, aggravated battery,
or domestic violence from being available for public inspection.
For additional and more detailed information, contact the State Attorney's Office at (727) 464-6090 for their booklet on Victims Rights.