The criminal justice process starts with a crime. There are four basic ways a case can proceed:
As the victim or witness, your role is critical. You may have seen, heard, know or experienced something that is important to the investigation of this case. You may be interviewed by law enforcement to identify the assailant if recognized, to help in finding the crime scene, to identify stolen property, etc. Please keep our agency advised where you are living and your telephone number (work and home).
As a victim you have a right to be notified of an arrest. Each case will proceed differently. The Law Enforcement Agency making the arrest will notify you of the arrest. Interviewing witnesses and the collection of evidence can be a timely process. There is no set time frame. If you would like information about your case call 352-367-4000. Please give the defendant's name and the case number when you call.
In more violent crimes or if the defendant cannot post bond, within hours of the arrest, the Court holds a "First Appearance" hearing. The Judge decides whether the defendant can be released based on the nature of the offense, evidence, defendant's employment status, mental condition, ties to the community, and previous convictions and if so, what conditions are necessary to protect the victim/witness.
Bail may be set when the arrest is made on probable cause by law enforcement. There are times when the defendant is released on his/her own recognizance (signature bond). The Judge can include special conditions ordering the defendant to have "no contact" with the victim and/or witness. You may attend the First Appearance hearing at 9:00 a.m. the morning following the arrest at the Alachua County Criminal Courthouse, 220 S. Main Street, Gainesville, Florida.
Bail or bond is an amount of money or property posted by the defendant for his/her release to ensure the defendant appears in court. The judge sets the amount of bail at the time that the arrest warrant or arrest capias is issued. The Court considers: the nature of offense, evidence, defendant's employment status, mental condition, ties to the community, and convictions before setting bail. In less violent crimes, the defendant may be allowed to post bond and be released immediately.
If the defendant is able to post bond he/she may be released pending trial. You, as a victim, have a right to be advised of the release of the defendant. The jail will attempt to contact you by phone or letter or you may call the jail at 352-491-4444.
You may also contact 1-877-846-3455 or go to VINE for more information.
A juvenile (under 18 years of age) who is accused of a crime and arrested or charged with a misdemeanor or non-violent felony, may be immediately released to the custody of his/her parents or guardian. Juveniles who are not released will go to a detention hearing within 24 hours to determine the conditions of release. If you wish, you may attend the detention hearing at 9:00 a.m. the morning following the arrest at the Alachua County Courthouse, 201 E. University Avenue, Gainesville, Florida.
In the event you receive threats, bribes, or other attempts to persuade or intimidate you into testifying untruthfully, or to forget, or to make yourself unavailable as a witness, report it immediately to the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, 352-367-4000.
If you are the victim of domestic violence (violence within the family) or repeat violence (two incidents), you can file an injunction for protection with the Clerk of the Circuit Court 352-374-3636, Alachua County Courthouse, 201 E. University Avenue, Gainesville, Florida.
Since each case is unique, it may be at different stages in the criminal justice system. You can get a case update by calling the Victim Advocate Unit at 352-384-3317 during regular business hours between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Due to the confidential nature of the incident report, there may only be portions of the report that are available to the public. You can request a copy of the public records portion of the report through the Records Bureau of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office at 352-367-4006.
The victim of a crime has a right to submit an oral or written impact statement to the judge, prior to the sentencing of the offender. Due to many cases being resolved by a plea agreement, the Victim Impact Statement may be the only opportunity to express to the judge how the crime has affected you. Only you, the victim, knows how to best describe the impact the crime has had on you and those close to you.