Information for Victims

 

Information for VictimsAdvocacy

The State Attorney’s Office recognizes that this may be a difficult and confusing time for you. Our victim advocate staff is available to help you through the criminal justice system by offering you information about services such as counseling, crime victim’s compensation, restitution, or any other information concerning your case.

What Does Florida Law Provide for Victims?

Florida Law provides guidelines for the fair treatment of victims and witnesses in the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. It authorizes a direct-support organization to assist victims of adult and juvenile crime.

Florida Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights FL statue 960

Victims of crime or their lawful representatives, including the next of kin of homicide victims, are entitled to the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, to the extent that these rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.

Helpful Resources

State Attorney’s Office Victim Advocate 630-2400
Domestic Violence Information (Injunctions) 255-2000
Hubbard House 354-3114
Women’s Center of Jacksonville 722-3000
Probation 695-4045
City of Jacksonville Victim Service Center 630-6300
Florida Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-500-1119
FCASV Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline 1-888-956-7273
Florida Abuse Hotline (Adult and Child) 1-800-96-ABUSE

 

Mayor’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council (VAAC)

Recreation and Community Services

Victim Assistance Advisory Council

Office of the Attorney General

My Florida Legal

Florida Department of Corrections Victim Assistance Office

Victim Assistance Office

National Crime Victim Service Center

National Crime Victim Service Center

GUIDE TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

A CRIME IS COMMITTED

The criminal justice process is set into motion when a crime is committed and law enforcement is contacted. As a victim/witness your role is crucial.

A law enforcement officer will question you about the identity of the suspect, details of the crime, the location of the crime scene, etc. Your cooperation is necessary. Failure to provide complete information may result in our inability to prosecute the case.

ARREST

Once a criminal complaint is made, law enforcement must establish sufficient probable cause in order to make an arrest. After the arrest, a judge reviews the arrest report to determine if probable cause exists.

FIRST APPEARANCE

Occurs within 24 hours of an arrest. Bond and other special conditions determined.

FILING DECISION

The State Attorney’s Office may file formal charges.

ARRAIGNMENT

The accused is formally charged and enters a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCE HEARING(S)

Several hearings may be held and if the defendant does not enter a plea of guilty, trial is set.

PLEA NEGOTIATIONS

Prior to Trial Defendant may agree to plea.

CONTINUANCES

The case may be continued or postponed.

TRIAL PREPARATION

Prosecutor and/or defense attorney interviews witnesses and/or victim(s).TRIAL (Adults Only)

SENTENCING

If the defendant is found guilty, the Judge reviews sentencing guidelines, plea agreements, etc. and determines what type of sentence the defendant should receive.

JUVENILE OFFENDERS

POST ARREST RELEASE (Juveniles Only)

Many Juveniles arrested are released to a parent and/or guardian and given a return court date.

ADJUDICATORY HEARING-(Juveniles Only)

Prosecutor presents evidence to either the judge or jury concerning the case.

DETENTION HEARING (Juveniles Only)

The child is placed in secure detention due to offense or prior record and not release to a parent and/or guardian.

TYPES OF JUVENILE DETENTION

  • Home Detention: Sent home with parent under supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Secure Detention: Held in locked facility called the Detention Center.
  • Released to parent or guardian without supervision.

TYPES OF JUVENILE DISPOSITIONS

Judicial Sanction: Judge may order juvenile to perform community service hours, write letter of apology, and pay court costs.

Probation: Juvenile given rules to follow and tasks to complete (may include restitution) and is supervised by the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Commitment: Juvenile placed by the Court in a treatment program

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

SUBPOENA

You may receive a subpoena requiring you to be present at a certain time and place. If you do not appear, the court could charge you with contempt of court resulting in a fine or jail sentence. If you have any questions regarding a subpoena, contact the State Attorney’s Office.

VICTIM/WITNESS HARASSMENT

Interference with a victim/witness by threats, intimidation, or acts of revenge is a serious crime and a matter that local law enforcement, the State Attorney’s Office, and the court take seriously.

INJUNCTION FOR PROTECTION

Injunction for Protection or Restraining Orders are issued as a result of domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence. You will need to contact the Clerk of Court’s Office or the Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence to see if it is possible to pursue an injunction.

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT

This is a statement made either verbally or in writing to the court before sentence is imposed. In the statement, you have the right to describe the effect the crime has had on you and/or your family emotionally, physically, and financially.

VICTIM’S COMPENSATION

The Office of the Attorney General has a program that compensates eligible victims of crime for certain crime-related expenses such as medical bills, counseling expenses, and lost wages. The program may also assist with funeral related expenses, and loss of support for homicide survivors.

RESTITUTION

If you have suffered direct or indirect damages, the court may order restitution for certain losses. This is done once a sentence is imposed. If you desire restitution, itemize and document your losses and provide it to the Assistant State Attorney as soon as possible. If you have questions what constitutes damages, call your Victim Advocate.

Your Assistant State Attorney will ask the court to order restitution, if appropriate, but the court must issue the order. Legally, the Defendant cannot be compelled to pay if he or she is financially unable. However, if he or she obtains employment while incarcerated, the Department of Corrections (DOC) has the authority to order restitution. You have the right as a victim of a crime to contact the DOC to determine the employment status of an inmate.

If the Defendant is ordered to pay restitution as a part of probation, the probation officer will set up a schedule for payments and upon receipt of payment will forward them to the Clerk of Court. The Clerk will then distribute payments to victims.