Crime Victim Bill of Rights
Florida has a Crime Victim Bill of Rights designed to help provide and protect some rights of victims of crime. These rights are very limited and are available only to the extent that they do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. Our Florida Victim's Rights Attorneys, however, represent victims of crime and can help pursue additional avenues of justice for victims. Call a Florida Crime Victim Rights Attorney at the Law Offices of Jason Turchin today at 800-337-7755 for a free consultation. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if you ever receive a financial settlement and waive all fees and costs if there is no recovery.
Florida Crime Victim Bill Of Rights
Victims of crime or their lawful representatives, including the next of kin of homicide victims, are generally 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.
Florida Constitutional Amendment, Article I
Sec. 16. Rights of accused and of victims (a) In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall, upon demand, be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and shall be furnished a copy of the charges, and shall have the right to have compulsory process for witnesses, to confront at trial adverse witnesses, to be heard in person, by counsel or both, and to have a speedy and public trial by impartial jury in the county where the crime was committed. If the county is not known, the indictment or information may charge venue in two or more counties conjunctively and proof that the crime was committed in that area shall be sufficient; but before pleading the accused may elect in which of those counties he will be tried. Venue for prosecution of crimes committed beyond the boundaries of the state shall be fixed by law.
(b) 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.
Rights of Crime Victims in Florida
Florida crime victims typically have three main avenues of pursuing justice or receiving financial assistance. Crime can cause unnecessary expenses, including medical fees, loss of income, lost earning capacity, or in the case of a fatality, loss of support and services, funeral expenses, and of course, emotional pain and suffering.
Restitution in the Criminal Case
A crime victim in Florida can seek restitution for financial loss through the criminal case. Often, a defendant if convicted may be ordered to pay the victim for financial losses caused by the crime. The challenge here is that many defendants have little financial resources to pay the victim, and they do not stand to make much money sitting in a jail cell. Unfortunately, restitution is very limited and may not help a victim much.
Florida's Crime Victim Compensation Fund
Florida has a fund set up to help victims of crime. The Florida Crime Victim Compensation Fund provides payment to the victim or his or her family up to a limited amount, and covers things like medical expenses, property damage, lost wages and funeral expenses. A claim is limited in time to file or it could be barred, and the Fund typically claims a lien on any other recovery you might get as a result of the crime. That is, you may have to reimburse them if you get money from another source for money they paid you.
Civil Action for Crime Victim in Florida
This is where we come in. While victims in Florida have limited constitutional rights in the criminal case, they have a vast amount of rights in a civil claim. The focus of the criminal case is on the defendant. The focus in a civil action for a crime victim is on the crime itself. We look to see if it could have been prevented, why it happened, who contributed to it, or was it foreseeable. We try to get answers for our victims, and seek to hold anyone who contributed to the crime accountable.
In a civil action, the victim may also be entitled to significant financial compensation to pay for any of the following:
- past medical expenses
- future medical care
- lost wages
- loss of earning capacity
- out of pocket expenses
- funeral expenses, if any
- loss of support and services
- pain and suffering
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