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Your Rights as a Victim of Violent Crime
When a Crime has Been Committed Against You
A victim is someone who suffers actual or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a direct result of a crime or delinquent act. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim Pro. §11-104(a)(2)
If you are a victim of a violent crime, Maryland law requires that:
- Police must inform you of your basic rights as a victim - The police or sheriff’s deputies usually notify victims of their basic rights by giving them a copy of the pamphlet, “Maryland Crime Victims and Witnesses: Your Rights and Services.” Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §11-914(9)(i).
- The District Court must inform you of your rights as a victim - If you go before a District Court Commissioner instead of contacting the police, the Commissioner must give you a copy of the pamphlet, “Maryland Crime Victims and Witnesses: Your Rights and Services.” Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. Code Ann. §11-104(b).
Rights of Sexual Assault Victims
- Police must offer transportation - If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, the police must offer to transport you immediately to a hospital or other facility approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for treatment. Read the Law: MD Crim. Pro. §11-924(b)(1)
- Free medical help - If you go to a hospital or other facility, the physician and hospital cannot charge you for an examination, gathering information and evidence about the assault giving you emergency treatment or providing follow-up medical testing for up to 90 days after the initial examination. But if you receive any other medical treatment, the hospital and physician may charge you or your insurance company. Read the Regulation: COMAR 10.12.02.05
- HIV testing of the offender - If you are worried that the assault may have exposed you to the HIV virus, you should talk to the State’s Attorney and/or your local sexual assault counselor for guidance. You have the right to file a written request to have the State’s Attorney ask the court to order that the person who assaulted you be tested for HIV. If the court orders the test, you will be notified of the results and be given counseling. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §11-113
In the Court System
In 2011 the General Assembly passed a law requiring courts to ensure victims receive all rights provided to them by law.Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §11-103
Right to Notice of Indictment - The State’s Attorney’s Office must notify you within 10 days of filing or unsealing an indictment or information charging the person who abused you. This notice is given by giving you a copy of the pamphlet, “Your Rights as a Victim in the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Process.” Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. Code §11-914(9)(ii).
Right to request notification of Court proceedings - The State’s Attorney’s Office will also give you a copy of the Victim Notification Request Form that you can file if you want to be notified before:
- Each court proceeding in the case.
- All proceedings after a conviction, adjudication and sentencing or disposition.
- Any request for a hearing to modify or vacate the sentence of the convicted person.
- All appeals to the Court of Special Appeals and the Court of Appeals.
Note: If it is not practical to notify you in advance, but you have filed a Victim Notification Request, the prosecutor will tell you as soon as possible after any plea agreement, judicial action or court proceeding that affects your interests, if you were not present in court. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §§11-503, 11-104
Right to know the terms of any plea agreement. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim Pro. §11-104(c)(ii)(e)(1).
Right to submit a victim impact statement to the court in a hearing to determine whether a case should be transferred into or out of juvenile court. The court is legally required to consider your statement in deciding whether to transfer the case. Read the Law: MD Cts. and Jud. Pro. §3-8A-06(c)(2)(i), §4-202(i)(2)(iii).
Right to be present and to make a statement at a sentence review hearing. Read the Law: MD Crim. Pro. Code Ann. §8-106(b)(2).
Financial Compensation Options for Crime Victims.
- Victim Emergency Funds
- Private Insurance
- Civil Lawsuit
- Criminal Inquires Compensation Board
- More on these options from the MD Crime Victims Resource Center.
Right to seek Restitution - The State’s Attorney must notify you of your right to seek restitution. Restitution means that the person who committed the crime must repay the victim, the state government, an insurance company or another person that has compensated the victim for injuries, loss or damage. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §§11-603(a), 11-606(a)
The law grants victims the right to file a motion for consideration of restitution for 30 days when a court has denied or failed to consider restitution to a victim.
There are different ways you may be compensated for your losses.
- You may receive compensation from the state - The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which is part of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, may compensate victims of crime who suffer physical injuries for their medical expenses and loss of earnings, up to $45,000. In cases of homicide, the Board may pay funeral expenses and loss of support to a surviving spouse or child, or to another person dependent on a homicide victim for his/her principal support.
- You may receive compensation from the offender - You may seek restitution from the person who committed the crime. To do this, you or the State’s Attorney must ask the court to order restitution. The court may order it if you have proof of expenses that you suffered as a result of the crime. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim. Pro. §11-603(b).
Mental Health Commitment and Release
You have a right to be notified about the mental health commitment and release of an offender. If you have filed a Victim Notification Request, the State’s Attorney will notify you when one of the following happens. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim.Pro. §3-123
- Mental Health Commitment - The Health Department receives a court order to examine or commit a defendant.
- A hearing is scheduled or the Health Department is notified that the person accused of the crime has applied for a hearing or filed a petition for release.
- The person accused of the crime is recommended for release.
- Released - A facility that has charge of the person accused of the crime notifies the State’s Attorney that the person is absent without authorization, or the court orders the person released.
If the Crime is Committed by a Juvenile
- Who is a Juvenile? In general, a child or juvenile means a person under the age of 18. Read the Law: MD Code, Cts. and Jud. Pro. §3-8A-01.
- When tried as adults - Children who have committed some crimes will be tried as adults in Circuit Court rather than in juvenile court.
- If the person who committed the violent crime is a juvenile, and the case is one that could only be tried in Circuit Court if the crime had been committed by an adult, the State’s Attorney must notify you of your right to seek restitution (compensation for injuries, loss or damage) and provide you a copy of the Victim Notification Request Form. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim Pro. §11-104(c)(2)(i-ii).
Source:Edits by the Maryland Crime Victims' Resources Center with updates by Jessica Nhem
Is this legal advice?
This site offers legal information, not legal advice. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options. However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney. The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site. In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”