Sections

You are at: Home Victim Services Victim's Rights Victim's Rights if the Defendant is Convicted

Document Actions

Victim's Rights if the Defendant is Convicted

You have the right to attend the defendant's sentencing hearing. A sentencing hearing is when the judge decides on the defendant's punishment, which might include incarceration, probation, treatment, release with certain conditions, or a combination of these things.

You have the right to be told when the hearing is scheduled and if the schedule changes. If you do not attend, you have the right of be informed of the result of the hearing.

The Victim Advocate can help you with transportation to court for the sentencing hearing.

If you attend the hearing, you have the right to express your views. You can tell the judge what you think about the sentence and your feelings about the crime. You can read to the court something you've written, give something for the judge to read, or you can testify at the hearing. The defense attorney is allowed to ask you cross-examination questions.

You have the right to know what a prison sentence means in terms of the actual time a defendant will serve, and the earliest and latest times a defendant will be released. The defendant's time in prison may change because of "good time" credit, furlough, parole, work-release programs, or other early release programs. You have a right to have these different programs explained to you by the prosecutor's office, at or before the sentencing hearing.

If you are a minor (under age 18) or if you can't act on your own behalf, a family member may act as your representative at the sentencing hearing. If your family is not able to do this, the advocate or someone else you name can present your views to the court.

Unlike criminal hearings, juvenile hearings are closed to the public; but you can tape-record a statement of your views about the crime to be played at the juvenile's sentencing, or you can write something for the judge to read.