According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center, 32,348 violent crimes were committed in 2017. In each of those crimes, someone was a victim. Should you be a victim of a violent crime, you are entitled to specific rights by law.
General Victim's Rights
All victims of violent crimes have specific general rights. They are:
- To be present at all criminal proceedings
- To confer with the prosecutor regarding all hearings and pleas
- To be present at any probation or parole hearing in which the defendant is present
- To be heard at juvenile probation and parole hearings, and release proceedings for persons found not guilty by reason of insanity
- To protection from threats of harm from a defendant, or someone acting on behalf of the defendant, for cooperating with law enforcement officials, and the right to a secure waiting area during a court proceeding
- To a speedy disposition of cases and quick appellate review
- To fair employment rights
- To regain property from a prosecutor or law enforcement officer once it is no longer used as evidence unless it is contraband or subject to forfeiture proceedings
- To creditor intercession services by the prosecuting attorney if the victim is unable, as a result of the crime, to temporarily meet financial obligations
- To limited compensation for out-of-pocket loss and qualified medical care necessary as a result of the crime
Expenses and Losses Victims Suffer
Victims of violent crimes suffer emotional, physical and economic hardships as a result of their experience. Medical or dental care, psychiatric care, counseling, lost wages, stolen or damaged property, and funeral expenses can create a considerable burden on a victim and or their family.
What to Expect From a Criminal Case
The law holds individuals who commit such heinous crimes accountable for their actions in a criminal case. A criminal court can require an offender that is convicted of a violent crime to pay compensation to the victim for out-of-pocket expenses related to the crime and court fines. Unfortunately, the offender may not be able to pay, leaving the victim to shoulder the cost.
Right to File a Civil Lawsuit
In addition to a criminal case, every crime victim has the right to file a civil lawsuit to obtain financial restitution from the perpetrator of the crime and from any other parties that contributed to conditions that permitted the offense to happen. A civil suit can provide compensation for both economic and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Civil Suit Against a Third Party
Many violent crimes take place in shopping malls, apartment communities, college campuses, hospitals, day care centers, parking garages, parking lots, service stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants and other similar public and privately owned establishments.
Businesses and public property owners sometimes fail to take property security measures because of the expense involved and the additional time and human resources it may require. A civil court can hold the business or property owner liable for the contributing to the circumstances that led to your injuries as a result of the crime. The court can order a third party to pay monetary damages.
The State of Missouri Crime Victim Compensation Fund
The Missouri Crime Victims Compensation Fund is provided to victims when no other source of funds is available. It does not cover expenses that have been covered by a third-party payer such as insurance or public assistance and does not cover non-monetary damages.
The Missouri Crime Victims’ Compensation Program provides a maximum benefit of $25,000 to include:
- $200 per week for lost wages/loss of support
- $5,000 funeral expenses
- $2,500 counseling expenses; and
- $250 personal property
Get the full restitution you are due and ensure your rights are protected by consulting a civil law attorney experienced in victims’ rights in Missouri.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with us, call (417) 865-2181. Our office is located in Springfield. Call Dean Price Law today.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.