Victims Have Rights

As the victim of a crime or the next of kin of a homicide victim, you have rights. These guaranteed rights as outlined in Florida Statue 960 include:

  • The Right to be present, informed, and heard when relevant at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile system, as long as that right doesn’t interfere with the rights of the accused.

  • The Right to be free from threats, intimidation, or harassment. It is against the law to cause a victim/witness to be placed in fear by force or threats, or 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 a defendant escapes or is released from a correctional facility.

  • The Right to ask the court for restitution (payment for financial loss as a result of a crime) from the defendant and information from the court on enforcement of that order.

  • The Right to request assistance from Law Enforcement and the State Attorney’s Office in notification to creditors and employers in regards to financial hardship or absences resulting from a crime.

  • The Right to a prompt, timely disposition of your case, provided this right does not interfere with the rights of the accused.

  • The Right to be notified of scheduling changes in your criminal or juvenile justice system appearances by the scheduling agency or person.

  • The Right to be consulted by the State Attorney’s Office in certain felony cases in order to obtain you or your family’s views about the disposition of any criminal or juvenile cases.

  • The Right to have a Victim Advocate accompany you to a deposition. Victims who are not incarcerated shall not be required to attend discovery dispositions 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 submit an oral or written victim impact statement to the court.

  • The Right to prompt return of property 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 have your rights outlined in this brochure asserted through the State Attorney’s Office.

  • The Right to request and know at the earliest convenience, if the person charged with an offense, which involves the transmission of bodily 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.

  • In addition:

    A victim of a sexual offense has the right to have the courtroom cleared, with certain exceptions, during his or her testimony, regardless of their age or mental capacity.

    A victim of domestic violence has the right 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.

    Victims in jail have the right 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 are obligated by Florida Statute 960 to not release any information in a case involving a juvenile. The exception to this is if it is necessary in the pursuit of legal remedies.

    The victim, next of kin of a victim, or relative of a minor victim must receive advance notification of judicial and post judicial 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 position 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.

    Additionally, it is the right of a victim or the victim's legal guardian, or the parent or legal guardian of a victim, if the victim is a minor, to request that a person who is charged with any offense enumerated in section 775.0877(1)(a)-(n), Florida Statutes, that involves the transmission of body fluids from one person to another, undergo hepatitis and HIV testing.

    Your involvement as a victim or witness begins when a crime is committed and reported to a law enforcement agency. Your role is vital in that you have knowledge, have seen or heard something concerning the act that was in violation of the law. Officers may interview you with questions about the details of the crime. It is important to recognize that investigations of crimes can be time consuming and your cooperation is necessary. The Criminal Justice System must work within legal guidelines and definite procedures which may take days, weeks and even months.