Victims Rights & Compensation.
Victims' Rights:It is a difficult concept for most people to understand, but crimes are not committed against a person - they are commited against "the People." That is why the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) does not have to do what you want. In other words, the ADA can offer and accept a plea bargain even if you, the victim, want the case to go to trial.
New York, however, does have a Victim's Bill of Rights which is broader than in many other states. The following is a summary of some of the rights you have as the victim of a crime:
- To be notified of Court proceedings, including;
- The first time the defendant is to appear before a judge. At that appearance you can find out the next appearance date.
- If the defendant is released from jail while the case is pending.
- If the defendant pleads guilty.
- When and how the criminal case is disposed, if you have requested this notification from the ADA. The ADA has up to 60 days to notify you.
- Your right to submit a "Victim Impact Statement" in writing or in person.
- The date for sentencing and terms of sentencing.
- If you are the victim of a sexual assault or rape:
- You have the right to demand an HIV test of the defendant if he is convicted. The results are given only to you and the defendant.
- The police must give you, in writing, the name, address and telephone number of the nearest rape crisis center.
- The police must interview you in a private setting.
- The Emergency Room must offer you the opportuntity to have a "Rape Crisis Advocate" with you during a Forensic Rape Exam (FRE).
- The Crime Victims Board will reimburse you or pay for the Forensic Rape Exam (FRE).
- The Emergency Room must tell you about the availability of emergency contraception.
- A child may be allowed to use anatomically correct dolls and/or drawings while testifying.
- A child may be able to testify by video or closed-circuit in some cases.
- In cases where the victim is a child, the judge must be sensitive to the child's psychological and emotional needs while testifying.
- In cases where the victim is a child, the same ADA should handle the case from beginning to end, when possible.
- Any property should be return to you as quickly as possible, unless needed for evidence.
- The police and ADA should assist you if you are receiving any threats. This can include getting you an Order of Protection.
- In extreme cases you may be entitled to help to relocate you and your family and change your identities.
- In most felony cases the ADA is required to consust you regarding any plea bargain or dismissal of the case. The ADA, however, is not required to follow your wishes.
- In felony cases, you and your family may ask to speak at the sentencing. Court must be told this 10 days before the sentencing date. Usually, you will tell the ADA, who will then tell the Judge.
- You may be entitled to "Restitution" as part of any plea or sentence. This would require the defendant to pay you or the Crime Victims Board for specific expenses, such as medical bills or loss of property.
- Restitution is limited to $1,500.00 from juvenile delinquents and $1,000.00 from persons in need of supervision.
- You may be entitled to sue the defendant in a civil action. Once a defendant has been found guilty, or has pleaded guilty, they will automatically be found guilty in a civil lawsuit for that offense. If the defendant pleads guilty to assaulting you, for example, he/she will automatically be found guilty of that assault if you bring a civil case.
- You are entitled to a free copy of the police report of the crime.
- You may be entitled to a waiver of any fees to replace a driver's license, vehicle registration or license plates.
- If you got an Order of Protection, the police must serve it for you without a fee.
- If the defendant violates a valid Order of Protection, the police must arrest him/her if the violation is a felony or misdemeanor (which it usually is). If the police refuse to make the arrest, you can file the charge yourself and also file a complaint against the police officer.
- You cannot be fired from your job for having to appear in a criminal case although your employer does not have to pay you.
Victim Compensation:If you or someone in your family is the victim of a crime you may be entitled to compensation through the New York State Crime Victims Board (CVB). In fact, you may even be entitled to compensation if you came to a victim's aid and suffered a loss as a result (Good Samaritan). You will not get "pain and suffering" from the CVB. For that you would need to bring a civil suit.
Generally, you may be reimbursed for medical expenses, lost property, funeral expenses up to $6,000.00, lost wages or support up to $30,000.00, crime scene clean-up up to $2,500.00 and Good Samaritan property losses up to $5,000.00. For more information read the CVB pamphlet.
To apply for Victim Compensation, the criminal charge must be filed within 7 days and you must complete and submit your CVB application within 1 year of the crime. You can complete the application yourself, go to any of the Victims Assistance Programs listed below or hire a private lawyer to help you submit your claim. If you have a private lawyer assist you, the CVB may reimburse up to $1,000.00 to cover the lawyer's fee.
Bronx Victims Assistance Programs:
Top of Page