Crime Victim Rights During the Criminal Case

In general, court personnel must treat crime victims with dignity, courtesy and respect. Court personnel have a duty to explain your rights to you as a crime victim in the criminal case. See Fair Treatment Standards for Crime Victims. Below is a list of some of your rights. But many of these rights are not automatic. If you want to stay informed about what is going on in the criminal case you should keep in contact with the prosecutor. If you want to have a say about the defendant’s release from prison, you must contact the Parole Board. For more information about your rights, read New York State Office of Victim Services: The Rights of Crime Victims in New York State.

For information about recovering your losses or expenses, visit Crime Victim Compensation.


Right to Know What is Happening

If you want to be notified of what is happening during the criminal case, give the prosecutor your address and phone number. You have the right to be notified of:

  • defendant's first appearance before a judge
  • defendant's release from jail while the criminal case is pending
  • entry of a guilty plea
  • trial
  • sentencing
  • maximum and minimum terms of any prison sentence
  • reversal or modification of the judgment after an appeal
  • defendant's release - speak to the prosecutor if you want to be notified or register with VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday System)

Right to Protection

You have the right to be protected from threats, physical injury or any intimidation. The court must help you with the steps to take to be protected, including getting an order of protection if you need one.

When you are waiting to appear in court, you are entitled to wait in a secure area away from all other witnesses in your case.

Right to Have a Say in Sentencing and Parole

A pre-sentence report is prepared by the Department of Probation whenever the defendant has been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor when the sentence includes probation or more than 180 days in prison. The Pre-Sentence Report can contain a Victim Impact Statement from you. It is important that the prosecutor knows your views about sentencing.

You have a right to share your views with the court concerning the release of the defendant while the case is pending. You also have a right to share your views about sentencing or alternatives like community supervision and Restitution.

If the defendant is being sentenced for a felony, you have a right to make a statement. If you want to speak in court you have to ask the Judge at least 10 days before the court date. Ask the prosecutor to help you.

If the defendant goes to prison, you have a right to submit a written or recorded Victim Impact Statement or appear in person before the Parole Board when the Board is deciding whether to release the defendant. Learn more from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

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