Rights of Victims of Crime

Restitution

The California Constitution requires that the court order a convicted person to pay restitution to the victim. Restitution is money paid by the offender to the victim to cover financial losses. Such financial losses include the value of any stolen property, medical expenses, and wages or profits lost by the victim or by the parents or guardians of a victim who is a minor.

At the time the convicted person is sentenced (for a juvenile this is during the dispositional hearing), the judge will order him or her to pay you (the victim) for losses caused by the crime. You are allowed to ask for interest at the rate of 10 percent per year. The parents of a juvenile offender are legally responsible for the restitution to the victim.

There is also a state-managed victim restitution fund, the California Victim Compensation Program, to assist victims of crime. The money in the fund comes from persons convicted of crimes. To receive payment from the fund, you must apply within 1 year of the crime (minors can apply within a year after they turn 18). You must also cooperate with law enforcement agencies and provide written proof of your losses and expenses.

There are court forms and instructions that can help if you decide to file (ask) for an order for restitution:

  • Order for Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Form CR-110/JV-790); and
  • Instructions: Order for Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Form CR-112/JV-792).

You can also find out if the defendant has assets so you can collect restitution. You can ask the judge to order the defendant to fill out a Defendant’s Statement of Assets (Form CR-115). If you are the defendant, you can find out how to fill out Form CR-115 by reading Instructions: Defendant’s Statement of Assets (Form CR-117).

Get information

If you are a victim of a crime, and you believe that a juvenile committed the crime, contact the crime victim/witness assistance center in your county to find out the best place to get information in your county or call 1-800-VICTIMS (1-800-842-8467). Many counties have a victim witness department. The juvenile probation department or the District Attorney’s Office also can provide information. Victims have the right to be notified of all juvenile court hearings and the right to attend and express their views about the disposition of the case.

If there is a court hearing and you do not want to or are unable to go to the hearings, you can still find out about the final disposition of the case, including the restitution order. Ask the county’s probation department to let you know. They should let you know by letter within 60 days of the case’s final disposition.

Attend court hearings

As a victim you are entitled to attend the juvenile court hearings that deal with your case, and you should receive notice of the hearings. Inform the county’s probation department that you want to attend. Victims are allowed to bring up to 2 support people. But any party to the case, including the offender, can prohibit the victim and the support people from attending. If you are excluded from the hearing, you can still express your views, in a reasonable way, by submitting a victim impact statement.

At the dispositional hearing, if the judge rules that the youth committed the offense, the judge will impose sanctions on him or her. Sanctions may include the following:

  • Restitution to you;
  • Payment of a fine by the youth (funds will go to the state victim restitution fund);
  • Community service performed by the youth for the benefit of the community;
  • Limitations on the youth’s liberty imposed as a condition of probation or parole (this may include probation with formal supervision or placement outside the youth’s home);
  • Commitment of the youth to a local detention or treatment facility, such as a juvenile hall, camp, or ranch;
  • Commitment of the youth to Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

Let the offender know how the crime affected you

Many counties have programs that give you the opportunity to tell the offender how the crime affected you. You can do this by writing a statement that you or an advocate can read in court or the probation officer can forward to the offender.

Another possibility is a facilitated dialogue with the offender, such as supervised victim-offender mediation. The choice to participate is entirely up to you.

Protect Yourself From the Offender

If you are afraid of the offender and are worried about your safety once the offender is released from custody, the court may issue “no contact” orders or restraining orders preventing the offender from having contact with you. And, you may be able to get a restraining order through a civil proceeding.

Other Victims’ Rights

It is against the law for your address or telephone number to be given to the offender. (See California Penal Code section 841.5.)

California Welfare and Institutions Code section 742(b) states that victims of juvenile offenders must be informed of any victim-offender conferencing program or victim impact class available in the county. Victim impact classes give victims an opportunity to express, when they are ready, how the crime affected their lives to a small group of offenders. The youth responsible for the offense in which you were involved will not be in the class.

from California Courts

 

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