If you have been a victim of a crime, you have rights. Marsy’s Law came into effect on January 8, 2019 and gives specific rights to victims – including the right to be heard and the right to be treated with fairness and respect. It important that you have an experienced attorney by your side so you can assert your rights.
If you have been the victim of a crime, you can file this motion in your assailant’s case and demand that your rights be respected. We highly recommend you consult with a lawyer before doing so.
What is Marsy’s Law in Florida?
Marsy’s Law is the Florida Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, in which a victim is afforded certain rights by the courts.
You can find more information on Marsy’s Law on the website of the Office of the Attorney General for Florida.
Who is considered a victim under Marsy’s Law?
A victim is any person who suffers physical, psychological and/or financial hard as a result of a crime committed by another person or persons. This can include your family and/or legal representative.
What are my rights as a victim or family of a victim?
Article 1, Section 16(b) of the Florida Constitution guarantees the following rights to victims and their families:
How does the criminal court process work?
The court process can be long and confusing. Here are some of the important stages you should be aware of in a criminal proceeding:
Initial Appearance – the defendant has the right to go before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest. At the hearing the judge will consider bail and other release conditions. The victim can be present and tell the court if they want to have contact with the defendant and their concerns about the defendant being released from jail.
Arraignment – once the defendant has been formally charged with a crime there is an arraignment. At the arraignment the defendant is notified of the formal charges and given future court dates. Most defendant enter a plea of not guilty at this hearing, but they can sometimes plea guilty if they choose to do so.
Pretrial Conference – the prosecutor and the defense attorney will tell the judge if the case is going to be a trial, a plea or if a continuance is needed for more time to prepare the case.
Plea – a defendant will enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges. There are certain rights a defendant gives up when entering a plea such as the right to go to trial and the right to remain silent.
Trial – the prosecutor will present evidence to prove the crime charged was committed. The defendant’s attorney can also present evidence. A victim will be needed to testify at trial. Ultimately a judge or a jury will decide if the prosecutor has proven the defendant committed the crime beyond every reasonable doubt.
Sentencing – the defendant will be told their punishment for violating the law. Victims have the right to be present and heard. You can make a victim impact statement which you or a representative can read to the court.
How does the injunction court process work?
This process can move rather quickly. It is important to be ready with evidence to ensure the injunction is granted.
Petition – the victim files a petition for an injunction. You must include specific examples to the court in the petition along with other information about the victim (Petitioner) and the offender (Respondent).
Petition Review – A judge will review the petition. The judge can grant the petition and provide a temporary injunction, they can order a hearing to get more information without a temporary injunction or they can deny the petition outright.
Temporary Injunction – if the judge grants a temporary injunction, the respondent must be served, and the case will be scheduled for a hearing to determine of the injunction should be extended for a longer period of time.
Injunction Hearing – the petitioner must present evidence for the injunction to be granted. The respondent can also present evidence. The judge will make a decision and either grant or deny the injunction. If the injunction is granted, it can be for any length of time from a year to a lifetime.
How can Fighter Law help?
Fighter Law can help you assert your rights. We can represent you in obtaining an injunction or restraining order. For a criminal case, attorneys can communicate with the prosecutor on your behalf and be by your side in court and make sure your voice is heard. We can prepare you to testify at a deposition or trial. Let us walk you through the court process with care and professionalism. Our team can also assist you in finding the resources you need such as housing, restitution, counseling.
Can I get damages or money because I was the victim of a crime?
Yes, you can. First, you can apply for victim compensation through the State of Florida. Second, we can file a civil demand against your assailant if there is a legitimate civil claim and the settlement (or non-settlement) of the civil case in no way affects the criminal matter. Attorneys can make such demands for money on behalf of our clients so long as we comport with Florida Laws and the rules governing attorney conduct. Here is an interesting case on point: https://casetext.com/case/florida-bar-v-machin
We fight because we care. Call us at 407-344-4837 to learn more.
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