You have rights.

As a victim of crime, Minnesota law provides you with specific rights as listed in Minnesota State Statute 611A.

We can help.

As a victim of crime, Minnesota provides you with important rights as your case moves through the criminal justice system.

The Redwood County Attorney’s Crime Victim Services Program works to ensure that the rights of crime victims are upheld. Our staff promotes the rights and interests of crime victims by providing information, assistance, support, and referrals in a timely manner.

 

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Who is a crime victim?

Under Minnesota law, a crime victim is defined as a person who incurs loss or harm as a result of a crime. A victim includes the family member, guardian, or custodian of a minor, incompetent, incapacitated, or deceased person.

What are my rights?

When Reported

When the crime is reported to law enforcement

You have the right to:

  • Ask the law enforcement agency to keep your identity private in reports available to the public.
  • Be notified of certain crime victim rights and information on the nearest crime victim assistance program or
    resource.
  • Apply for reparations (financial compensation) for non-property losses related to a violent crime.
  • In cases of violent crime and domestic abuse where an arrest has been made, be provided notice of the release of the offender along with information on the release conditions and supervising agency.

When Case is Prosecuted

You have the right to be notified of:

  • The prosecution process and your right to participate in it.
  • Information on the nearest crime victim assistance program or resource.
  • The right to apply for reparations (financial compensation) for non-property losses related to a violent crime.
  • A proposed pretrial diversion referral.
  • A change in the hearing schedule if subpoenaed or asked to testify.
  • The right to request restitution from the offender upon conviction.
  • The contents of a proposed plea agreement.
  • The outcome of the case.
  • After conviction and upon request, the release or escape from custody of the offender from jail or prison or transfer to a lower security facility.
  • An appeal and the right to attend the related hearing and to be notified of the result of that appeal.
  • In felony or violent crime cases, a proposed modification to the sentence, the related hearing, and the right to provide input.
  • A petition for expungement, upon request.

You have the right to participate in the process:

  • Provide input in a pretrial diversion decision.
  • Ask the prosecutor to request a speedy trial.
  • Be notified of and attend the plea and sentencing hearings.
  • Object to a proposed plea agreement at the plea hearing.
  • When a presentence investigation (PSI) is conducted, provide information about the impact of the crime and your position regarding the proposed disposition.
  • Give a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing in writing or orally.

Certain rights address your safety, privacy, and protection, including the right to:

  • Be notified of and provide input for a bail hearing in cases of violent crime and domestic abuse.
  • A secure waiting area or safeguards against the offender and his/her supporters in the courthouse.
  • Report witness tampering or violations of no contact or restraining orders.
  • Ask that your home and employment addresses, telephone numbers, and birthdate be withheld from the offender and in open court.
  • Protection against employer retaliation for you or your family member(s) taking reasonable time off to attend hearings or to testify in cases of violent crime.
  • Make a confidential request that the court order an HIV test of the convicted offender in cases of sexual assault and some violent crimes.
  • In homicide cases, to seek a court order preventing an offender from disposing of the deceased victim’s property.
  • Laws also prevent an offender from financially benefitting from the crime.

To address the financial impact of the crime, you have the right to:

  • Apply for reparations (financial compensation) for non-property losses related to a violent crime.
  • Seek restitution from the offender for out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the crime if the offender is convicted.
  • Ask the offender’s probation officer to schedule a hearing if the offender fails to pay restitution.
  • Pursue a civil case against the offender for your losses, whether or not criminal charges have been filed.

Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Victims

You have the right to:

  • Be informed by the prosecutor of any decision to decline or dismiss a case along with information about seeking an order for protection or harassment restraining order at no cost.
  • Terminate a lease without penalty or payment to escape a violent situation.
  • If you are a domestic violence victim, obtain at no cost a copy of the incident report the responding law enforcement agency is required to write.
  • If you are a sexual assault victim, have a confidential sexual assault examination at no cost and receive notice of rights and resources from the medical facility.
  • If you are a sexual assault victim, refuse a polygraph examination without impacting whether the investigation or prosecution will proceed.

Financial Assistance

Crime victims have a place to turn for help

The Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations Board helps victims and their families ease the financial burden they face as a result of a violent crime. The Board provides financial assistance to reimburse victims for their out-ofpocket losses suffered as a direct result of the crime.

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Who is eligible to apply?

  • Person who suffers a physical or emotional injury or death as a result of a crime
  • Person injured or killed trying to prevent a crime, apprehend a suspect, or help a police officer
  • Person who paid for services for the victim
  • Family member, dependent, or estate of the victim
  • Guardian, guardian ad litem, conservator or authorized agent of any of these persons

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Crime must have occurred in Minnesota, or in a foreign country without a compensation program
  • Crime must have been reported to police within 30 days (no time limit for sexual assault and child abuse victims, but crime must be reported)
  • Victim must cooperate FULLY with police in their investigation and with the city or county attorney in the prosecution of the offender
  • Application form must be submitted within 3 years of the crime (child abuse claims must be filed within 3 years of the date the crime was reported to police)
  • Victim must not have committed a crime or contributed to the incident through their own misconduct
  • All available collateral sources must be used first, including health insurance, Medical Assistance, auto insurance, short and long term disability, social security benefits, etc.

Types of Crimes Covered

  • Homicide
  • Assault
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Sexual Assault
  • Child Abuse (Physical and Sexual)
  • Human Trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Harassment/Stalking
  • Felony Hit and Run
  • Driving under the Influence
  • Criminal Vehicular Operation

Property crimes are not covered.

What benefits are available?

There are limits on most of the following benefits, and total benefits may not exceed $50,000 per victim.

  • Medical expenses – hospital, doctor, ambulance, medication management, prescriptions, chiropractic care, acupuncture, chemical dependency treatment, prosthetic devices
  • Counseling expenses for victims and their family members
  • Cultural healing services
  • Mileage to and from medical, mental health and dental appointments
  • Funeral expenses – funeral services, cremation, burial, headstone, flowers, obituary, lodging and travel for family members to attend funeral
  • Lost wages due to a disabling physical or psychological injury
  • Loss of support to dependents (spouse/domestic partner and minor children) of a homicide victim
  • Child care if victim unable to provide the care due to injury or death
  • Home health care provided by licensed professional
  • Transportation costs, meals and lodging to return an abducted child
  • Crime scene clean-up
  • Pain and suffering, stolen money and property loss are not covered.

Restitution vs Reparations

What is the Difference between Restitution and Reparations?

  • Reparations can compensate victims regardless of whether the case is charged or successfully prosecuted. In comparison, restitution can only be ordered if an offender is convicted.
  • Reparations payments are funded through Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA funds come from criminal fines, penalties, forfeited bail bonds and special assessments, not from taxpayers. Restitution payments come directly from the defendant.

Safe at Home

Safe at Home is designed to help people who fear for their safety maintain a  confidential address. Many times program participants are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

When someone enrolls in Safe at Home, they are assigned a PO Box address that they can use as their legal address. In Minnesota, all public and private entities must accept a participant’s assigned address and a participant cannot be required to disclose their real address. This allows a program participant to go about his or her daily life without leaving traces of where they can typically be located, such as their residential address, a school address, or an employment address. This safety measure is an attempt to keep their aggressor from locating them.

Because program participants use a PO Box address assigned to them, Safe at Home provides a mail forwarding service. First Class Mail is forwarded to a participant’s home address. The participant’s real address remains under security with the Safe at Home office. In addition to being the participant's agent to receive mail, the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State is a participant's agent to receive service of process (legal papers).

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Eligibility requirements to join Safe at Home are:

  • A person must reside in Minnesota
  • A person must be afraid for their personal safety, or be afraid for the safety of their child or ward, or be afraid for the safety of another person with whom they reside.
  • A person who is a registered predatory offender, or a predatory offender required to register in any state, is not eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get specific information about the case?

Call your local law enforcement agency, prosecutor’s office, or victim service provider for information.

What if I need financial assistance?

You could be eligible for reparations from the State of Minnesota if you are a victim of a violent crime and have out-of-pocket costs related to medical care, counseling, a funeral, lost wages, or certain other expenses. You could be eligible for restitution from the defendant if he/she is found guilty or enters a guilty plea.

Can I attend all the hearings?

Yes. In general, criminal court proceedings involving adult defendants are open to the public. A judge may close a hearing or exclude a party under certain circumstances. Victims in cases involving juvenile offenders may attend the court proceedings.

What should I do if I receive a subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order to appear in court. Read it very carefully. It will have instructions on whom to call for court information and location. If you have a scheduling conflict or have any questions, call whomever sent the subpoena as soon as possible. As a witness, you will receive a small fee for your time and mileage.

Do crime victim rights apply when the offender is a juvenile?

Yes, the same rights apply in both adult and juvenile cases.

How will I know when the offender gets out of jail or prison?

Prior to conviction, a county jail or detention facility must notify a victim of a violent crime of the offender’s release. All victims, regardless of the crime, are strongly encouraged to register with the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) program to request automatic release notification. Following conviction, victims of inmates in a county facility must make a request for release notification to that facility and can also register with VINE. Victims of inmates in a Department of Corrections facility must register with the Minnesota CHOICE program for release notification.

How can I provide feedback about services from CVS I received?

If you are a crime victims who has received services through the RCAO CVS program, you can provide feedback by filling out our online form.

Need Help?

Contact the Redwood County Crime Victims Services department today!

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