Crime Victims Have Rights Too

Being a victim of a crime rattles you to your very core. Crime victims often feel hopeless and that they may never receive the justice they deserve after being victimized. Furthermore, as a victim of a crime, you may not feel that the police department or prosecutor’s office is genuinely seeking justice on behalf of you in your case and is not keeping you informed of your case. For example, you may not know what is going on in your case, whether the defendant is going to trial, has pled guilty, or is already in jail.

Fortunately, the South Carolina State Constitution gives crime victims’ rights that are to be upheld and protected when exercised by victims. Below is part of the South Carolina Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights that every crime victim should know:

Article I, § 24 – Victims’ Bill of Rights

(A) To preserve and protect victims’ rights to justice and due process regardless of race, sex, age, religion or economic status, victims of crime have the right to:

  1. be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process, and to be informed of the victim’s constitutional rights, provided by statute;
  2. be reasonably informed when the accused or convicted person is arrested, released from custody or has escaped;
  3. be informed of and present at any criminal proceedings which are dispositive of the charges where the defendant has the right to be present;
  4. be informed of and be allowed to submit either a written oral statement at all hearings affecting bond or bail;
  5. be heard at any proceeding involving a post-arrest release decision, a plea or sentencing;
  6. be reasonably protected from the accused or persons acting on his behalf throughout the criminal justice process;
  7. confer with the prosecution, after the crime against the victim has been changed, before the trial or before any disposition and informed of the disposition;
  8. have reasonable access after the conclusion of the criminal investigation to all documents relating to the crime against the victim before trial;
  9. receive prompt and full restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victim’s loss or injury including both adult and juvenile offenders;
  10. be informed of any proceeding when any post-conviction action is being considered, and be present at any post-conviction hearing involving a post-conviction release decision;
  11. a reasonable disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case; (12) have all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims’ rights and have these rules subject to amendment or repeal by the legislature to ensure the protection of these rights.

If you were a victim of a crime, contact me for a free consultation. You may be able to sue the perpetrator as well as other responsible and negligent third parties in civil court. At Bailey Law Firm, I help crime victims, and their families take back their lives through the civil justice system. While I cannot change what happened, I help crime victims obtain justice and financial compensation directly from the perpetrators, property owners, and responsible and negligent third parties regardless of what the prosecutors do in criminal court.