4 Key Stages of the Legal Timeline for Crime Victims in Maryland
Today’s blog entry will focus on the legal timeline for crime victims in Maryland. The following sections will explore four key stages of the post-crime process: Crime Reporting; Case Prosecution; Sentencing Hearing and Post-Sentencing Proceedings.
- Victim Reports the Crime to Law Enforcement
There are certain rights that come into play after the victim reports a criminal incident to law enforcement.
Specifically, crime victims and witnesses will receive a brochure from law enforcement with information about available rights and services. Crime victims will also receive information on orders of protection and similar legal mechanisms.
At this point, crime victims can:
- Apply for a protective or peace order from the courts;
- Obtain assistance from crisis intervention organizations;
- Request compensation from the Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board; or
- Enroll in V.I.N.E. (Victim Information and Notification Everyday).
In the meantime, law enforcement officers will investigate the crime report and follow up on leads. If the officers make an arrest, the victim will receive a notification. If the case proceeds past the law enforcement stage, the state’s attorney will begin to prosecute the case.
- State’s Attorney Begins Case Prosecution
Once the state’s attorney begins case prosecution, the victim will receive a Crime Victim Notification Request and Demand For Rights form within 10 days. The victim must complete and submit this form to exercise their notice rights throughout criminal proceedings.
Additionally, the state’s attorney will distribute a brochure to each victim within 10 days. This brochure will provide a high-level overview of the judicial process for criminal and juvenile matters.
Assuming completion of all required steps, the victim will receive notice of all legal proceedings connected to their case. The victim may exercise their right to attend these hearings.
- Court of Law Conducts Sentencing Hearing
At the conclusion of a trial or plea bargain, the court will conduct a sentencing hearing to determine an appropriate punishment. Before rendering a decision, the court may consider an impact statement from the victim.
At this stage, the victim has two important rights:
- Impact Statement — The victim can submit an impact statement to detail the harm of the crime in question; and
- Restitution — The victim can apply for restitution and seek compensation for harm incurred as a result of the crime in question.
- Post-Sentencing Proceedings Occur As Needed
If the criminal case enters post-sentencing proceedings, the victim will receive a notification. For example, the victim may be notified if:
- The court modifies or reviews the sentence;
- Either party files an appeal; or
- The offender has a parole hearing.
In all of the situations above, the victim may exercise their right to be heard or present at the proceeding in question.
Contact Us Today for help
If you were a victim of or a witness to criminal conduct in Maryland, it can be tremendously helpful to consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer. The lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have proven experience representing and protecting a wide variety of crime victims. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.