Respect for Victims’ Rights in Florida

If you’re a crime victim, Attorney Michael Panella can be your voice in the legal system, so you need not relive your story and trauma over and over. You’ve been victimized already — don’t let the criminal justice system do it again. We can help you speak out, assert your rights, so prosecutors and judges will consider what you have to say.

The Panella Law Firm helps crime victims have a say during criminal proceedings. As a criminal defense attorney, Michael Panella has extensive experience with how criminal prosecutions work and the effect crime can have on victims. To learn more about how he can help you, call his office at 407-233-1822.

Are You a Crime Victim?

Under Section 16 of Article I of the Florida Constitution, “victim” is defined as:

  • A person suffering direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm due to the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act or against whom the crime or delinquent act is committed
  • The victim’s lawful representative, the parent or guardian of a minor, or the next of kin of a homicide victim, unless the person’s interests would be in actual or potential conflict with the victim’s interests.

The term “victim” does not cover the accused.

What Rights Do You Have as a Crime Victim?

Defendants have constitutional rights, so they’re fairly treated, and you do, too. Crime victims have state constitutional standing equal to that of those who are accused and convicted of crimes. You have many rights and protections, including the right to due process and to be treated with fairness and respect.

Take advantage of the protection of victims’ rights. Don’t let your experience overwhelm you. Speak out and let the powers that be know what you and your family have dealt with. Do your part to make sure the defendant’s case is handled with all the seriousness you deserve.

What Protections Do Victims Have in Florida?

Crime victims are often traumatized, and their fear of retaliation may stop them from filing charges. Protection of victims’ rights include:

You have the right to . . .

  • Be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse
  • Be reasonably protected from the accused and any person acting on their behalf
  • Have your and your family’s safety and welfare considered when bail is set, including pretrial release conditions
  • Prevent disclosure of information or records that could locate you or lead to your harassment, or the disclosure of confidential or privileged information about you.

At your request, you’ll also know the offender’s disposition, place and time of incarceration, and when they have been released or they escaped from custody.

Victims’ Rights in Florida

You deserve to know what’s going on, to have your say, and to have an impact on a case’s outcome. Upon your request, you have the right to have information and appear at various proceedings, give your input into how you were affected, and have your views considered. Specifically, you have the right to . . .

  • Receive reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of, and to be present at, all public proceedings involving the alleged criminal conduct
  • Have reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the defendant’s release or escape as well as of any proceeding where your rights are impacted
  • Be heard in any public pretrial or release proceeding of anyone that involves your rights
  • Confer with the prosecuting attorney concerning plea bargain agreements, pretrial diversion programs, release, restitution, sentencing, or any case disposition
  • Provide information on how the offender’s conduct affected you and your family to the person writing a report concerning the case’s disposition and to have your information considered in sentencing recommendations given to the judge
  • Receive a copy of this report and any others impacting your rights
  • Be informed of all postconviction processes and procedures, to participate in them, to provide information before a release decision is made, and to be notified of any release decision
  • Be informed of clemency and criminal record expungement procedures, to provide information for these procedures, to have that information considered before a decision is made, and to be notified of this decision in advance of the offender’s release.

You also have the right not to be taken advantage of by the court system, including:

  • The prompt return of your property when it’s not needed as evidence
  • Full and timely restitution for all losses suffered, both directly and indirectly, as a result of the criminal conduct.

The Protection of Victims’ Rights Include Attorney Representation and Access to Courts to Enforce Your Rights

You have a right to legal representation. You may assert and seek enforcement of your rights in any trial or appellate court involved in the case, or with any authority with jurisdiction over it. The court or other authority must promptly act on your requests and give you a remedy if they violated your rights.

Marsy’s Law in Florida

Marsy’s Law was a state constitutional amendment passed by referendum in 2018; it greatly expanded victims’ rights in Florida. The state constitution addressed victims’ rights starting in 1988, and it was a standard for the rest of the country, reports WLRN.

Those rights were repealed and replaced by the language in Marsy’s Law. The effort to get it passed was led and mostly funded by California billionaire Henry Nicholas, whose sister, Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas, was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 1983.

What Laws Protect Victims in Florida?

State statutes that cover victims’ rights include one setting guidelines for the criminal justice and juvenile justice systems for fair treatment. Another concerns a victim’s right to a speedy trial.

Attorney Michael Panella Protects Victims’ Rights in Florida

If you’re a victim of a crime, you may feel frightened and confused. Having an attorney on your side can ease your anxiety and be your voice in court. Our attorneys at Panella Law Firm have been trusted by many clients involved in criminal cases. They’re passionate about achieving justice for those victimized by offenders. Don’t wait to hire an attorney following a crime. Call us now at 407-233-1822 so that we can discuss what happened and how we can help.

Contact Attorney Michael Panella

Need a criminal defense service? Turn to Panella Law Firm and contact us today with your question.

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