State of Minnesota
More about
Attorney General
Lori Swanson

Minnesota Attorney General's Office

1400 Bremer Tower
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, MN 55101

(651) 296-3353
(800) 657-3787

M - F 8 am - 5 pm

TTY:(651) 297-7206
TTY:(800) 366-4812

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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.

Victim/Witness Services:

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