Tallahassee Crime Victims’ Rights Attorney
When we speak of “rights” in the criminal justice system, we typically mean the rights of the person on trial. But Florida law also affords certain rights to the victims of criminal activities. These rights protect not just the victim’s ability to be heard and participate in the trial process but also help to protect their privacy and confidentiality.
At Luke Newman, P.A., we represent Tallahassee crime victims who need assistance and representation in exercising their legal rights. Many victims are not familiar with the legal system, and in particular the rules defining their rights in these situations. We can guide you through the process and work to ensure that prosecutors and judges respect your legal interests as much as those of the defendant.
Florida’s Victims’ Bill of Rights
The rights of crime victims are actually a part of Florida’s state constitution. Article I, Section 16 of the Constitution defines the following rights of individuals “beginning at the time of his or her victimization”:
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s dignity;
- The right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse.
- The right to “reasonable” protection from the accused–or anyone acting on their behalf–within the confines of the judicial process;
- The right to consideration of the safety and the victim of their family when determining the defendant’s bail; and
- The right to confidentiality, i.e., to prevent public disclosure of any information or records that could be used to locate or harass the victim or their family, or which otherwise would disclose the victim’s privileged information.
A victim may also request the following specific rights in any criminal trial:
- The right to reasonable notice of all public proceedings involving the defendant, including the trial and any sentencing hearing;
- The right to notice of the defendant’s release (or escape) from custody;
- The right to be heard in any public hearing regarding the defendant’s bail, plea bargain, sentencing, or parole;
- The right to confer with the State’s Attorney regarding any possible plea agreements or disposition of the case against the defendant;
- The right to provide information for any pre-sentence investigation of the defendant, including the right to receive any pre-sentence report;
- The right to know the terms of the defendant’s sentence, including the time and place of their incarceration and expected release date, if any;
- The right to notice of any post-conviction legal processes, such as a parole hearing, or any proceedings involving the possible clemency or pardon of the defendant;
- The right to the prompt return of any property belonging to the victim that is no longer required as evidence; and
- The right to restitution from the defendant upon conviction, which covers any direct or indirect loss suffered as a result of the criminal act.
Contact Criminal Victims’ Rights Lawyer Luke Newman Today
All criminal defendants have the right to an attorney throughout the criminal justice process. The same is true for crime victims. If you are the victim of a crime and need legal advice and representation in asserting your legal and constitutional rights, contact the offices of Luke Newman, P.A., today to schedule a consultation.