If you are a victim of a crime that occurred in the State of Florida then you are entitles to certain legal rights as a victim. The term “victim” includes a relative of a minor who is a victim or the relative of a homicide victim.

As a victim of a crime, you have the following rights:

  1. You have the right to be informed, to be present and to be heard, when relevant, at all crucial stages of a criminal or juvenile proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with constitutional rights of the accused.
  2. You have the right to submit an oral or written impact statement at such sentencing or juvenile disposition hearing.
  3. You have the right to request and receive restitution from the defendant for any direct or indirect loss you may have suffered as a result of the defendant’s act, if the defendant is convicted at trial or ad judicatory hearing or pleads guilty or no contest to the offense.
  4. If you have property held for evidentiary purposes by a law enforcement agency, you have the right to have it photographed and returned, unless there is compelling law enforcement reason for retaining it.
  5. You may have a right to receive compensation for any physical injury you have received as a result of the defendant’s criminal or delinquent activity. The Victim’s Compensation Fund established under Florida Law may entitle you to financial assistance if you qualify. Applications are available at The Desoto County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Office of the State Attorney.
  6. You have a right to have information furnished to you on steps available for law enforcement officers and state attorneys to protect you from intimidation.
  7. You have a right to receive prompt advance notification, if possible, of:
    a. The arrest of the accused.
    b. The release of the accused pending judicial proceedings.
    c. Proceedings in the prosecution of the accused, including the arraignment, disposition of the accusatory instrument, trial, ad judicatory hearing, sentencing, disposition hearing, appellate review, subsequent modification of sentence, collateral attack of a judgment , and, where a term of imprisonment, detention, or involuntary commitment is imposed, the release of the defendant from such imprisonment, detention or commitment.
  8. If you are a victim of a felony involving physical or emotional injury or trauma or in the case of a minor child or a homicide, the guardian or family of the victim, you have a right to be consulted by the assistant state attorney assigned to your case concerning the disposition of the case, including:
    a. The release of the accused pending judicial proceedings.
    b. Plea agreements, if any.
    c. Participation in pretrial diversion programs.
    d. Sentencing or disposition of the accused.
  9. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may ask the state attorney to file a criminal complaint. You also have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an injunction for protection from domestic violence which may include, but need not be limited to, provisions which restrain the abuser from further acts of abuse.
  10. A victim who has been scheduled to attend a criminal or juvenile justice proceeding shall be notified as soon as possible of any change in scheduling of such proceeding.
  11. A victim has the right to have a victim’s advocate attend and be present during any deposition of the victim.
  12. At your request, you have a right to assistance by the Office of the State Attorney in informing your employer of the need for victim and witness cooperation in the prosecution of the case and that it may necessitate the absence of the victim or witness from work.
  13. If you have suffered a serious financial strain as a direct result of a crime, or cooperation with law enforcement agencies of the State Attorney, you have a right to be assisted by the State Attorney in explaining to creditors the reason for such serious financial strain.
  14. General Victim Assistance – as a victim or witness, you also have a right to assistance in other areas such as transportation to court, parking, separate pretrial waiting areas and translator services, as is practical. The Witness Management Office of your local Circuit and County Court can assist you in these areas.