Know Your Victim's Rights
California victims have rights provided by both the California Constitution and the California Penal Code. The California Constitution Article 1 Section 28 states that victims have:
- The RIGHT to be treated with fairness and respect for their privacy, and to be free from intimidation harassment, and abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process
- The RIGHT to be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons acting on behalf of the defendant
- The RIGHT to have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for the defendant
- The RIGHT to prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, which could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family or which disclose confidential communications made in the course of medical or counseling treatment, or which are otherwise privileged or confidential by law
- The RIGHT to refuse an interview, deposition, or discovery request by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, and to set reasonable conditions on the conduct of any such interview to which the victim consents
- The RIGHT to reasonable notice of and to reasonably confer with the prosecuting agency, upon request, regarding, the arrest of the defendant if known by the prosecutor, the charges filed, the determination whether to extradite the defendant, and, upon request, to be notified of and informed before any pretrial disposition of the case
- The RIGHT to reasonable notice of all public proceedings, including delinquency proceedings, upon request, at which the defendant and the prosecutor are entitled to be present and of all parole or other post-conviction release proceedings, and to be present at all such proceedings
- The RIGHT to be heard, upon request, at any proceeding, including any delinquency proceeding, involving a post-arrest release decision, plea, sentencing, post-conviction release decision, or any proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue
- The RIGHT to a speedy trial and a prompt and conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings
- The RIGHT to provide information to a probation department official conducting a pre-sentence investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and the victim’s family and any sentencing recommendations before the sentencing of the defendant
- The RIGHT to receive, upon request, the pre-sentence report when available to the defendant, except for those portions made confidential by law
- The RIGHT to be informed, upon request, of the conviction, sentence, place and time of incarceration, or other disposition of the defendant, the scheduled release date of the defendant, and the release of or the escape by the defendant from custody
The RIGHT to receive restitution.
- It is the unequivocal intention of the People of the State of California that all persons who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity shall have the right to seek and secure restitution from the persons convicted of the crimes causing the losses they suffer.
- Restitution shall be ordered from the convicted wrongdoer in every case, regardless of the sentence or disposition imposed, in which a crime victim suffers a loss.
- All monetary payments, monies, and property collected from any person who has been ordered to make restitution shall be first applied to pay the amounts ordered as restitution to the victim.
- The RIGHT to the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence.
- The RIGHT to be informed of all parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to provide information to the parole authority to be considered before the parole of the offender, and to be notified, upon request, of the parole or other release of the offender.
- The RIGHT to have the safety of the victim, the victim’s family, and the public considered before any parole or other post-judgment release decision is made.
- The RIGHT to be informed of the rights enumerated above
The California Penal Code provides similar rights that can be found HERE. The District Attorney’s Office Victim Services Division has a special unit dedicated entirely to serving victims. Please visit https://www.sdcda.org/helping/victims/victim-services to learn more.