Most people know that our federal and state laws afford the accused a number of protections when facing a criminal charge – the right to remain silent, the right to a lawyer, and the right to due process of law. What may come as a surprise to many is that victims of crimes have rights too.
Know Your Rights as a Victim
Florida Statute section 960.001 delineates the rights of crime victims. Some of the most important statutory rights are summarized as follows:
· Information about crime victim compensation
· Access to social services
· Knowledge about the important stages of the case
· Understanding of the victim’s role in the case
· Participation in all crucial stages of the proceeding
· Input in sentencing
· Freedom from intimidation
Who Will Enforce Your rights?
Although Florida law requires law enforcement and state attorneys to implement victims’ rights laws, it is important to note that neither of these governmental bodies actually represent victims. Police officers are not lawyers, and prosecutors only represent the State of Florida. Accordingly, police and prosecutors cannot give legal advice. This means that a victim has no personal representation unless he or she hires an attorney. Moreover, due to the volume of cases addressed by the government, a victim can expect limited contact with law enforcement and state attorneys.
A criminal justice attorney can ensure that a victim receives the full extent of the protections and information he or she is entitled to by law. The victim’s lawyer advocates for the victim by attending court on his or her behalf, maintaining regular contact with the State Attorney’s Office and police, collecting restitution information, and notifying the court of the victim’s input regarding sentencing. Additionally, the victim’s attorney documents cooperation with the government to preserve the possibility of a U-Visa for undocumented crime victims. The attorney’s specialized knowledge in criminal law, courtroom procedure, and victims’ rights laws provide the victim with a strong mouthpiece at a time when stress and trauma can silence the injured.
Victim Representation is one of the services we offer at Casanova Law.
Are you the victim of a crime? Are you wondering what your rights are as a victim or where to go from here? Let Casanova Law be of service. Attorney Lourdes Casanova is a former prosecutor with years of experience in criminal law and procedure.
We are passionate about protecting your rights. Let us be your voice in court.