Your rights in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Systems
you are a victim of a crime or a witness because you have seen, heard, or know
something about a crime that has been committed, you are important to the case.
Your testimony may be necessary to establish the facts. Understandably, you
might feel anxious about testifying in court. However, without your testimony
the defendant might go unpunished. VICTIM - A person against whom a crime was
committed. Some victims suffer physical injury or property damage, and some have
psychological injury. Victims have certain rights in Florida. Others who can
claim these rights are the victim's parent or guardian if the victim is a minor,
the lawful representative of the victim or of the victim's parent or guardian if
the victim is a minor, and the next of kin of a homicide victim. As a victim of
a crime, you have the following rights:
you or the State Attorney's Office with your consent, have standing to
assert any legal rights of a crime victim as provided by law or The Florida
some cases, victims (or their relatives where the victim is deceased) may be
eligible for financial compensation from the State of Florida. Information
regarding eligibility may be obtained from the State Attorney's Office,
local Witness Management Office (where available), law enforcement agency or
from the Bureau of Crimes Compensation, Office of the Attorney General
right to receive information on available crisis intervention services and
local community services to include counseling, shelter, legal assistance,
or other types of help, depending on the particular circumstances. Telephone
numbers of these services are provided on this website.
right to receive information regarding the role of the victim in the
criminal or juvenile process, including what the victim may expect from the
system as well as what the system may expect from the victim.
right to receive information regarding the stages of the criminal or
juvenile justice process and the manner in which information about such
stages may be obtained. Note: You cannot be notified if we cannot locate
you. It is your responsibility to keep the State Attorney's Office informed
of any changes in your address or telephone number.
right to be informed, present, and heard when relevant, at all crucial
stages of a criminal or juvenile proceeding, to the extent the right does
not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.
right, if you are incarcerated, to be informed and submit written statements
at all crucial stages of the criminal and juvenile proceedings.
right to a prompt and timely disposition of the case as long as it does not
interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.
right to be notified of the arrest and release of the offender, including
release to community control and/or work release. When an arrest is made in
a reported case, the victim, witnesses, relatives of minor victims and
witnesses and relatives of homicide victims, who have furnished current
addresses and telephone numbers to the local law enforcement agency shall be
right to receive information on the steps available to law enforcement and
the State Attorney's Office to protect you from intimidation and/or
harassment. It is a third degree felony to knowingly use intimidation or
physical force, or threaten another person, or attempt to do so, or engage
in misleading conduct toward another person, or offer pecuniary benefit or
gain to another person. If you are being threatened or intimidated, please
contact your local law enforcement.
right of the victim of domestic violence to be informed of the address
confidentiality program administered through the Attorney General's Office.
You may contact the Attorney General's Office at 1-800-226-6667. The State
Attorney's Office may assist with this paper work if necessary.
right of each victim or witness who has been scheduled to attend a criminal
or juvenile justice proceeding to be notified as soon as possible by the
agency or person scheduling his/her appearance of any change in scheduling
which will affect the victim's appearance.
right to receive advance notification of judicial and post judicial
proceedings relating to the case, including all proceedings or hearings
arrest of the accused.
release of the accused pending judicial proceedings, any modification of
release condition to include release to community control or work release.
in the prosecution or petition for delinquency of the accused, including
the filing of the accusatory instrument, the arraignment, disposition of
the accusatory instrument, trial or adjudicatory hearing, sentencing or
disposition hearing, appellate review, subsequent modification of
sentence, collateral attack of a judgment, and when a term of
imprisonment, detention, or involuntary commitment is imposed, the release
of the defendant or juvenile offender from such imprisonment, detention or
commitment by expiration of sentence or parole and any meeting held to
consider such release.
right to not be excluded from any portion of any hearing, trial or
proceeding pertaining to the offense based solely upon the fact that such
person is subpoenaed to testify, unless the court determines otherwise.
addition to the provisions of FS 921.143, the rights of the victim of a
felony involving physical or emotional injury or trauma, or in a case in
which the victim is a minor child or in a homicide, the guardian or family
of the victim shall be consulted by the State Attorney in order to obtain
the views of the victim or family about the disposition of any criminal or
juvenile case brought about as a result of such crime, including their views
about: the release of the accused pending judicial proceedings, plea
agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs, sentencing of the
right to review certain portions of a pre-sentence investigation report for
adult and youthful offenders prior to the sentencing of the accused.
right to a prompt return of property unless there is a compelling law
enforcement need to retain it.
right to request that the State Attorney or law enforcement agency help you
explain to employers and creditors that you may face additional burdens by
taking time off from work to assist law enforcement and you may undergo
serious financial strain either because of the crime or by cooperating with
Enforcement agencies and the State Attorney shall inform you of your right
to request and receive restitution and of your rights of enforcement in the
event an offender does not pay. The State Attorney shall seek your
assistance in the documentation of your losses for the purpose of requesting
and receiving restitution. If an order of restitution is converted to a
civil lien or civil judgment against the defendant, the clerks shall make
available at their office, as well as on their website, information provided
by the Secretary of State, the court, or The Florida Bar on enforcing the
civil lien or judgment. The State Attorney shall inform you if and when
restitution is ordered.
right to submit an oral or written impact statement to the court, pursuant
to s.921.143 F.S., prior to sentencing of the offender. The State Attorney
or any assistant state attorney shall advise all victims or, when
appropriate, the victim's parent, guardian, next of kin, or lawful
representative that statements, whether oral or written, shall relate to the
facts of the case and the extent of any harm, including social,
psychological, or physical harm, financial losses, loss of earnings directly
or indirectly resulting from the crime for which the defendant is being
sentenced, and any matter relevant to an appropriate disposition and
right to receive reasonable consideration and assistance from employees of
the State Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, or Police Department. When
requested, you will be assisted in locating accessible transportation and
parking, and shall be directed to separate pretrial waiting areas when such
facilities are available. When requested, you shall receive assistance in
attempting to locate translators when practicable.
right to be notified when the offender escapes from custody. The State
Attorney shall make every effort to advise the victim, material witness,
parents or legal guardian of a minor who is a victim or witness, or
immediate relative of a homicide victim of the escape of a criminal
defendant. The State Attorney shall also notify the Sheriff of the county
where the criminal charge or petition for delinquency arose. The Sheriff
shall offer assistance upon request.
right of the victim to request that a victim advocate be permitted to attend
and be present during any deposition. The victim advocate may be designated
by State Attorney's Office, Sheriff's Office, or Municipal Police
Department, or one representative from a not-for-profit victim services
organization, including, but not limited to, rape crisis centers, domestic
violence advocacy groups, and alcohol abuse or substance abuse groups.
right of the victim of a sexual offense to have the courtroom cleared, with
certain exceptions during his or her testimony, regardless of the victim's
age or mental capacity.
right to request, in certain circumstances that the offender be required to
attend a different school than the victim or siblings of the victim. If the
victim of an offense committed by a juvenile is a minor, and the victim or
any sibling of the victim attends or is eligible to attend the same school
as that of the offender, the Department of Juvenile Justice or the
Department of Corrections shall notify the victim's parent or legal guardian
of the right to attend the sentencing or disposition of the offender and
request that the offender be required to attend a different school.
right of the victim who is not incarcerated to not be required to attend
discovery depositions in any correctional facility.
statutory obligation of the victim, or next of kin of a homicide victim,
that any information gained pursuant to FS Chapter 960, regarding any case
handled in juvenile court, must not be revealed to any outside party, except
as reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.
The right of a victim to know in certain cases and at the earliest possible opportunity, if the person charged with an offense has tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and hepatitis. In such cases, upon request of the victim or the victim’s legal guardian, or of the parent or legal guardian of the victim if the victim is a minor, the court shall order such person to undergo HIV testing and hepatitis. In addition, in certain cases, if requested by the victim, the right of the victim to receive information on the results of the testing within two weeks of the court’s receipt of such results.
right to request, for specific crimes, that your home and work telephone
numbers, home and work addresses, and personal assets not be disclosed to
right of a victim of a sexual offense to request the presence of a victim
advocate during the forensic medical examination. An advocate from a
certified rape crisis shall be permitted to attend any forensic medical
law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney or government official shall
ask or require a victim of a sexual offense to submit to a polygraph
examination or other truth-telling device as a condition of the
The State Attorney’s Office commitment is to provide professional, effective and equal services to all individuals regardless of their ability to read, write or speak English. Services to Limited English Proficiency individuals are available over the phone, in writing, in person, and through electronic media.