Minnesota Attorney General's Office
1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
M - F 8 am - 5 pm
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YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM OF CRIME
From the Office of Attorney General Lori Swanson
Your participation in the criminal justice process is important. Please read the following to learn how we can help you, and how you can contact us with your ideas, questions, and concerns.
LORI SWANSON, Attorney General
Crime victims are afforded specific rights by state and federal law. Most often those rights remain unknown until a person learns that, as a consequence of the criminal acts of another, they are a crime victim. Services are provided therefore, to assist crime victims with understanding their rights, ensuring their participation in the criminal justice process, and maintaining communication between the victim and the victim service provider.
Your right to be notified of:
Rights provided crime victims by law
The content of a plea agreement
When required to testify, the date, time and place of hearings and changes in court schedules
The final disposition of the case
The offender’s release, transfer, or escape from incarceration and the offender’s subsequent apprehension
In a domestic assault/harassment matter, a decision to not file a criminal complaint
Right to protection from harm:
Tampering with a witness is a crime in Minnesota. If you are threatened, coerced, or feel pressured, call your local law enforcement agency immediately and notify the county prosecutor’s office.
Victims have the right to a secure waiting area during court proceedings.
Victims/witnesses may object to providing their address in court proceedings.
Employers may not discipline or discharge victims or witnesses who are called to testify in court.
To participate in prosecution:
To request a speedy trial
To have input in a pre-trial diversion program (for crimes against persons)
To object to a plea bargain
To bring a supportive person to a pre-trial hearing
To attend sentencing and/or disposition hearings
To inform the court of the impact the crime has had in your life (at the pre-trial and at sentencing or disposition hearings)
To give written/oral response to a proposed sentence/disposition
To receive restitution
To request a probation review hearing if offender fails to pay restitution as ordered
Victims of criminal sexual conduct may ask the prosecutor to request that the court order the convicted offender to submit to testing for the virus that causes AIDS.
Test results are available, on request, to the victim or his/her parent or guardian. This is a right that is available ONLY IF certain conditions occurred during the commission of the crime. The prosecutor or the victim/witness coordinator can discuss these conditions with you.
Victims of domestic assault or harassment have a right to receive notification from the prosecutor if a decision is made not to prosecute or if the charges filed against the defendant are dismissed. If charges are dismissed a record must be made of the specific reason for the dismissal. The prosecutor shall inform the victim as to how to obtain an order for protection; these orders may be obtained by the victim free of charge.
Assistance in understanding the criminal justice process and court proceedings
Assistance in understanding your rights and exercising those rights
Assistance regarding proposed settlement offers or plea agreements
Assistance regarding testifying in court proceedings and obtaining witness fees
Assistance recovering property held as evidence
Assistance in seeking reparations and/or restitution for economic loss or harm
Assistance with finding agencies and/or organizations providing victim services
REPARATIONS A claim for payment of costs (such as medical care, counseling, lost wages, child care, or funeral expenses) incurred by crime victims as a result of a violent crime may be submitted to the Reparations Board for compensation. The crime must have been reported to law enforcement when it occurred. The victim must file a claim with the Reparations Board within three years of the incident. Claim forms are available from Reparations or your victim/witness coordinator. Reparations are not available to compensate crime victims for property losses.
THE CRIME VICTIM JUSTICE UNIT- monitors for fair and proper administration of services and information, and has demonstrated a commitment to stringent compliance with crime victims’ rights. Please contact the crime victim justice unit if you believe your rights have been violated, or feel that you have been treated unfairly by the criminal justice system.
Both Reparations and the Crime Victim Justice Unit are located in the MN Office of Justice Programs:
MN Office of Justice Programs:
445 Minnesota St., Suite 2300
St. Paul, MN 55101
651/282-6256 Toll free: 1-888/622-8799
WITNESSES are subpoenaed to testify at criminal hearings. Services are provided witnesses to alleviate real and imagined fears about testifying. Witnesses receive information they need regarding travel, witness fees, and reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.
If you are a witness in a criminal prosecution, you may expect:
A subpoena that will provide you with the location and time of the trial
Information regarding the day and the time your testimony is needed
Assistance with questions and concerns you have about testifying, and information that will be helpful in obtaining witness fees and mileage reimbursement
You are invited to call the victim/witness coordinator at any time at the following telephone number. Your questions and comments are welcomed.
To contact us for more information call 651/297-2040