Knowing Your Rights and Legal Options as a Crime Victim
Being the victim of a crime can be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life. Not only do you face physical danger but you can also be affected by a lifetime of trauma and pain that can interfere with the everyday activities of your life.
You deserve peace of mind for the agony you have undergone.
If you have been the victim of a crime, know that you are not alone. There is help and hope available to you.
Let the Texas crime victims attorney of De La Garza Law Firm help you to secure the compensation you need to begin healing and bring those who have harmed you to justice.
How Do I Know If I’m a Crime Victim?
A crime victim is someone who has suffered damages as the result of another person/party committing some sort of illegal activity, in most instances, a felony.
Examples of crimes which can have a detrimental effect on your life include aggravated robbery, kidnapping, sexual assault, attempted voluntary manslaughter, family violence, or negligent endangerment of a child.
Victims of a crime can also include:
- Someone who came to the aid of a crime victim and was injured or died.
- First responders who were injured or died while responding to a crime.
Eligibility Through the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program
If you have suffered financial damages as a result of the incident you experienced, you might be eligible to receive financial support through the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS).
Under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program, which is operated by the TxDPS, crime victims can receive partial or full compensation for the damages they have suffered. Depending on the specifics of your particular situation, you may be able to recover compensation for but not limited to:
- Lost earnings.
- Loss of wages due to legal proceedings.
- Care of a child or dependent.
- Medical expenses.
- Funeral-related expenses.
- Disability accommodations and benefits.
- Reasonable attorney fees.
Individuals who may qualify under the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program may include:
- A victim of a crime who suffers physical and/or emotional harm.
- A legally authorized individual acting on behalf of a victim.
- A dependent of the victim.
- An immediate family member who requires emotional care as a result of the incident.
In the event that the crime victim is forced to relocate for the sake of their own safety, the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program will provide compensation for the cost of relocating including monthly rent, transportation, moving vehicle rental costs, and other utility fees for the first 3 years.
What You Need to Know About the Crime Victims’ Rights Act
According to 18 U.S.C. § 3771, your rights as a victim of a crime include:
- Protection from the accused.
- The right to be involved and be in physical attendance of any testimonies in court, unless there is clear and obvious evidence that your testimony can be altered due to hearing other testimonies.
- The right to be heard by the court when it comes to a release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding of the accused.
- The ability to confer with an attorney.
- Full and timely restitution.
- Proceedings without any delays.
- To be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.
- Being informed of any plea bargains or deferred prosecution within a timely manner.
- Being informed about your full rights and services under this section by law.
In the State of Texas, victims of crimes have additional rights which include:
- Being informed of court decisions before they are made public.
- The right to victim-offender mediation.
- The right to have the prosecutor notify your employer that you will be absent from work so that you can handle court-related dealings.
- The right to have your safety taken into account before bail is set for the perpetrator of the crime.
Other Notable Information That Should Be Taken Into Account
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program will not fully cover all damages that you may have suffered. Additional compensation you may be able to recover includes damages for:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Your right to live a happy life should not be stripped away due to a traumatic and scarring experience that you never asked for.
The trustworthy and dependable Texas crime victim attorney of De La Garza Law Firm will represent you in a court of law in a tenacious manner and will make sure you receive every form of compensation that you deserve.
De La Garza Law Firm is one of the premier law firms in Texas offering a wide variety of legal services. Our honest and committed team provides legal counseling for individuals dealing with: funeral & cemetery negligence, trucking, motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents, premises liability claims, workplace accidents, product liability claims, as well as supporting victims of crime on a third-party premise.