Your Rights as a Victim
Minnesota provides crime victims with important rights as their case moves through the criminal justice system, as outlines in Minnesota Statutes Chapter 611A.
WHEN THE CRIME IS REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
You have the right to:
- Request that the law enforcement agency withhold public access to data revealing your identity. The law enforcement agency will decide if this is possible. Information about sexual assault and child abuse victims is automatically withheld from the public.
- Be notified of certain crime victim rights by law enforcement.
- Be provided information on the nearest crime victim assistance program or resource.
- You have the right to apply for financial help for losses resulting from a violent crime. This assistance does not cover property losses. For application and information, 888-622-8799 or go to the OJP Website.
- 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.
- In homicide cases, be notified of rights and procedures for protecting the deceased victim’s property.
- You have the right, if an offender is charged, to be informed of and participate in the prosecution process, including the right to request restitution (money that is court-ordered from the offender and paid to the victim).
WHEN THE CASE IS PROSECUTED
You have the right to:
- Be notified of the prosecution of the case, the prosecution process, and all of your rights.
- Be notified of a proposed pretrial diversion referral for certain violent crimes and provide input.
- Be notified of a change in the hearing schedule if subpoenaed or asked to testify.
- Request restitution from the offender if there is a conviction.
- Be notified of the contents of a proposed plea agreement.
- Ask the prosecutor to request a speedy trial.
- Be notified of and attend the plea and sentencing hearings.
- Be present at court proceedings when the offender is a juvenile.
- Object to a proposed plea agreement at the plea hearing in writing or orally.
- If a presentence investigation is conducted, provide information about the impact of the crime and your position about the proposed disposition.
- Give a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing in writing or orally.
- If a community member, give a community impact statement at the sentencing hearing.
Certain rights address your safety, privacy, and protection during the prosecution, including the right to:
- Be notified of a bail hearing in cases of violent crime and domestic abuse.
- A secure waiting area or safeguards against the offender and their supporters in the courthouse.
- Report witness tampering and violations of criminal no contact or civil protective 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) for taking reasonable time off to attend hearings or to testify in cases of violent crime.
- In homicide cases, to request a court order preventing an offender from disposing of the deceased victim’s property. Laws also prevent the offender from financially benefitting from the crime.
After an offender is convicted, you have a right to:
- Be notified of the outcome of the case.
- Be notified of the release or escape from custody of the offender from jail or prison or transfer to a lower security facility. The victim must request this notification.
- Make a confidential request that the court order an HIV test of the offender in cases of sexual assault and some violent crimes where there has been exposure to bodily fluids during commission of the crime.
- Be notified of an appeal, the right to attend the related hearing, and the result of that appeal.
- In felony or violent crime cases, be notified of a proposed modification to the sentence, the related hearing, and the right to provide input.
- Be notified of an expungement petition and hearing and the right to make a statement orally or in writing. The victim must request this notification.
- Be notified of a petition to civilly commit the offender, the outcome of that petition, and, if committed, their release or discharge. The victim must request these notifications.
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.
- Request 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.
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 a domestic violence victim, get a free copy of the incident report the responding law enforcement agency is required to write.
- If a domestic violence victim, ask that the prosecutor file a criminal complaint.
- If a domestic violence victim, you also have the right to go to court and file a petition requesting an Order for Protection from domestic abuse. The order would include the following:
- an order restraining the abuser from further acts of abuse;
- an order directing the abuser to leave your household;
- an order preventing the abuser from entering your home (or a reasonable area around your home), school, business or place of employment;
- an order awarding you or the other parent custody of/or visitation of your minor child or children; or
- an order directing the abuser to pay support to you and the minor if the abuser has a court order to do so.
- If a sexual assault victim, have a confidential sexual assault exam at no cost and receive notice of rights and resources from the medical facility.
- If a sexual assault victim, refuse a polygraph exam without impacting whether the investigation or prosecution will proceed.
If you feel your rights as a victim have been violated, or if you do not understand your rights or the information presented here contact the Crime Victim Justice Unit at 651-201-7310, 800-247-0390, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated: June 2020