Rights of Crime Victims
A victim is someone who suffers actual or threatened physical, emotional, or financial harm as a direct result of a crime or delinquent act.
A victim's representative is a family member or legal guardian who represents a victim who has died, is disabled, or is a child.
If you are a victim, under Maryland law:
- 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, Criminal Procedure § 11-914(9)(i).
- The District Court or juvenile intake officer must inform you of your rights as a victim. If you complain about your injury to a District Court Commissioner or juvenile intake officer instead of contacting the police, the Commissioner or intake officer must give you a copy of the pamphlet, “Maryland Crime Victims and Witnesses: Your Rights and Services.” Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-104(b).
- The Maryland Constitution, Declaration of Rights states that you have the right to be notified of, to attend, and to be heard regarding victim issues at public criminal justice proceedings. Read the Law: Article 47 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-102.
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 for treatment.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 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. However, if you receive any other medical treatment, the hospital and physician may charge you or your insurance company.
Read the Regulation: Code of Md. Regulations 10.12.02.05
HIV testing of the offender. If you are worried that the assault may have exposed you to the HIV virus, 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, Criminal Procedure § 11-113
Maryland courts must ensure that victims receive all rights provided to them by law. If a court finds that a victim’s right was not considered or was denied, the court may grant relief to the victim so long as the remedy does not violate a criminal defendant’s or child respondent’s constitutional right to be free from double jeopardy. The court cannot provide a remedy that modifies a sentence of incarceration of a defendant or commitment of a child respondent unless the victim requests relief from a violation of the victim’s right within 30 days of the alleged violation.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-103(e)
Under Maryland law, a victim or of a crime or delinquent act (or a representative in the event the victim is deceased, disabled, or a minor) has a broad range of specific rights during the criminal justice process.
Below is a list of some of those rights:
- 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" ("Sus Derechos como Víctima en el Proceso de Justicia Penal y Juvenil").Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 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 with the prosecuting attorney 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.
- Any parole plan, agreement, initial parole release hearing, or parole revocation hearing.
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 change in the defendant's release status, or any plea agreement, judicial action or court proceeding that affects your interests, if you were not present in court. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure §§ 11-104, 11-503, 11-505.
- Right to have a private attorney enter an appearance to represent you or your representative. Organizations such as the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center can provide an attorney or help you locate an attorney. Read the Rule: Md. Rule 1-326.
- Right to know the terms of any plea agreement. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-104(f).
- 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. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-8A-06(c)(2)(i).
- Right to be notified by the Maryland Department of Health if the Court has ordered the Department of Health to determine whether the defendant was criminally responsible for the alleged crime or is competent to stand trial. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-204.
- Right to be present, to make a statement, and/or request an order of protection, at pretrial release, bail or sentence review hearings. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure. §§ 5-201, 8-106(b)(2).
- Right to seek restitution. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-603.
- Right to appeal – You have the right to file an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals from an interlocutory order and have the right to a direct appeal to the Court of Special Appeals from a final order denying you specific victim's rights. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-103
If you have submitted a request for notification under Criminal Procedure § 11-104, or if you have submitted a written request for notification to the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, you have certain rights;
- Right to notice and opportunity for comment- You have the right to be notified and to the opportunity to comment, before the Patuxtent Board of Review grants work releases, a leave of absence, or parole to an eligible person (a Patuxtent inmate), and you have the right to notice if the Patuxtent Board of Review decides to petition a court for the permanent release of a person who has successfully completed three years of parole without violation of the conditions of parole. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-504.
- Right to be notified of a parole hearing - You have the right to be notified of a parole hearing conducted by the Maryland Parole Commission. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-505(b).
- Right to be notified of a predetermined parole release agreement - You have the right to be notified before the Parole Commission enters into a predetermined parole release agreement with an inmate. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-505(f); Correctional Services § 7-803.
- Right to open a parole hearing to the public - Certain victims have the right to open a parole hearing to the public; to request as a special condition of release that the person have no contact with the victim; to request a meeting with a commissioner; and to present brief testimony during the hearing. Read the Law: Md. Code, Correctional Services § 7-304; § 7-801; Code of Md. Regulations 12.08.02.
- Right to notification of revocation proceedings - You have the right be notified if the Parole Commission issues a retake warrant for a person convicted of a violent crime, and you have the right to be notified of the outcome of that person's revocation hearing. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure. § 11-505(c) and (e); Correctional Services § 7-804.
- Right to notification of consideration for commutation, pardon, or remission - You have the right to be notified if a person is considered for a commutation, pardon, or remission of sentence. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-505(d); Correctional Services § 7-805(b) and (f).
- Right to notification of release - You have the right to be notified of the escape, recapture, transfer to another commitment unit, release (including any conditions attached to the release), and death of an inmate. Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 11-508.
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.
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. Payment of restitution to a victim has priority over any payments to any other person or governmental unit.
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.
- If your request for restitution is not considered or is improperly denied, the law grants you the right to file a motion for reconsideration within 30 days of the denial or alleged failure to consider. If the court finds that your right to restitution was not considered or was improperly denied, the court may enter a judgment of restitution.
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 Department of Health or the Office of the State’s Attorney will notify you when one of the following happens.
- 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.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 3-123
If the Crime is Committed by a Juvenile
Most of the rights available to a victim of a crime in which the offender is an adult are also available to a victim of a delinquent act by a child (juvenile). In general, a child or juvenile means a person under the age of 18.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 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, Criminal Procedure § 11-104(d)(2)(i-ii).