Victims' Rights in a Criminal Case

Were you recently accused of sexual assault, violently assaulting someone, auto theft, identity theft, fraud, or seriously injuring someone in a drunk driving accident? If “yes,” or if you’ve been accused of something similar, you may be wondering, “What rights to victims have in California?” Or, you may be more than wondering – perhaps you’re concerned.

Like other states, crime victims in California have rights and on November 4, 2008, California voters approved Marsy’s Law, which gave additional rights to crime victims. Under Marsy’s Law, California’s crime victims now have the following rights:

  • To be treated with dignity and respect.
  • To be free from abuse, intimidation and harassment.
  • To be protected from the defendant or people acting on behalf of the defendant.
  • To have their safety and their family’s safety considered when fixing a bail amount, as well as release conditions for the offender.
  • To protect information so the victim and their family won’t be located or harassed.
  • To refuse a deposition, an interview, or a discovery request by the defense, or anyone acting on the defendant’s behalf.
  • To receive reasonable notice, upon request, regarding the defendant’s arrest, charges being filed, or the decision to extradite the offender.
  • To receive reasonable notice, upon request, of any public proceedings, including parole and post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at any of these proceedings.
  • Upon request, to be heard at any of the defendant’s proceedings, including plea, sentencing, and a post-arrest release decision.
  • To give information to an official from the probation department regarding the impact the crime had on the victim and their family.
  • Upon request, to be informed of the defendant’s conviction, sentence, scheduled release date, place and time of imprisonment, escape or release of the offender in custody.
  • To be involved in the parole process, and upon request, to be notified when the offender is released on parole.

In addition to the above, crime victims may be entitled to restitution from the people convicted of crime of which they suffered. According to the State of California Department of Justice’s website for Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General of California, “Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss.”

We’re only scratching the surface in regards to victims’ rights in California. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced member of our criminal defense team.

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