Florida Statute 960
Guidelines for Fair Treatment of Victims and Witnesses in the Criminal Justice System
The Florida Constitution guarantees that victims of crime, including the next of kin of homicide survivors, are entitled to certain basic rights, including but not limited to, the right to be informed, to be present, 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.
What are victims entitled to?
- To assert victim's rights as provided by law or the State Constitution. The victim of a crime and the State Attorney, with the consent of the victim, have standing to assert the rights of a crime victim which are provided by law or s. 16(b) Art. 1 of the State Constitution.
- To information concerning services available to victims of adult and juvenile crime.
- To information regarding the availability of funds through Crime Victim Compensation, when applicable.
- To information about the community-based treatment programs, crisis intervention services counseling and social services.
- To information on the role of the victim in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice process.
- To information about the stages in the Criminal or Juvenile Justice process which are of significance to the victim and how such information can be obtained.
- 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 right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.
- To be informed and to submit written statements at all crucial stages of the criminal proceedings and parole proceedings, if the victim is incarcerated.
- To the prompt and timely disposition of the case, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the Constitutional rights of the accused.
- To information concerning the steps available to law enforcement and the State Attorney to protect the victim or witness from intimidation.
- To be notified as soon as possible, by agency scheduling your appearance in a Criminal or Juvenile Justice proceeding, of any change in scheduling which will effect your appearance.
- To receive notification of the arrest, the release or modification of the release conditions and proceedings in the prosecution or petition for delinquency of the accused.
- To be consulted by the State Attorney in order to obtain the views of the victim or family about: the release of the accused pending a judicial proceeding, plea agreements, participation in pretrial diversion programs and the sentencing of the accused, in those felony and juvenile cases that involve physical or emotional injury or trauma.
- To have your property returned to you as soon as possible after the investigation and/or prosecution is completed unless there is a compelling reason for retaining it.
- To have your employer, creditors or school informed that your cooperation with a criminal prosecution may cause absences or financial hardship.
- To request restitution and to be notified if restitution is ordered by the Court.
- To submit an oral or written Victim Impact Statement describing how the crime affected you and your family. The State Attorney shall assist in the preparation of such statement if necessary.
- To have any special needs accommodated as is practicable. (For instance: physical handicaps, parking or translator services)
- To receive a Victim's rights information card or brochure which explains your rights as a crime victim and services available to you.
- To be notified if the offender escapes from a state correctional facility, county jail, juvenile detention facility, or involuntary commitment facility.
- To have a Victim Advocate present during any depositions of the victim.
- To request that the State Attorney permit the victim to review a copy of the presentence investigation report prior to the sentencing hearing if one was completed.
- To request that the court shall clear the courtroom of all persons, with certain exceptions, during his or her testimony concerning sexual offense, regardless of the victims age or mental capacity.
- To request, for specific crimes, an exemption prohibiting the disclosure of information to the public which reveals your identification, home and work phone numbers, home and work addresses, and personal assets not otherwise held confidential under the Public Records Law.
- To know, at the earliest possible opportunity, if the person charged with the offense, which involves the transmission of body fluids, has tested positive for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
- To guarantee the right of a victim of a sexual offense to request the presence of a victim advocate during the forensic medical examination. An advocate from a certified rape crisis center shall be permitted to attend any forensic medical examination.
- To ensure that no law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney or government official shall ask or require a victim of a sexual offense to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device as a condition of the investigation.