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CRIME VICTIM RIGHTS

The Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison represents crime victims. We prosecute Crime Victim lawsuits and Inadequate Security Cases. Please contact us for further information regarding whether or not you may have a civil claim against someone who has injured you as a result of an intentional crime. The spouse, children, parents, or estate of a person who is killed by the criminal actions of another (homicide) may have a wrongful death claim against the criminal who intentionally or negligently causes the death of another.

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This includes murder, death as the result of an assault, death as the result of a collision with a drunk driver, or death as a result of alcohol poisoning, fraternity binge drinking, or hazing causing death to a student. In addition to the legal right to assert a civil lawsuit for monetary damages against the criminal responsible for the victim’s injuries or death, the victim or victim’s family may have certain statutory rights under state law. We will describe what these crime victim rights are in Texas, below.

Texas Crime Victim Rights

A victim of violent crime is:

(1) Someone who is the victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery or who has suffered bodily injury or death because of the criminal conduct of another;

(2) The close relative (spouse, parent, adult brother or sister, or child) of a deceased victim, or

(3) The guardian of a victim. These rights also apply to victims of juvenile crime, including victims who suffer property loss.


Crime Victim Rights

A victim of crime is defined by Chapter 56 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, as TEXAS CRIME VICTIM RIGHTS A victim of violent crime is:

(1) Someone who is the victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery or who has suffered bodily injury or death because of the criminal conduct of another;

(2) The close relative (spouse, parent, adult brother or sister, or child) of a deceased victim, or

(3) The guardian of a victim. These rights also apply to victims of juvenile crime, including victims who suffer property loss.

In Texas victims of crime are entitled to the following rights by law, but only if you invoke your rights. This means you must tell the District Attorney or County Attorney and their Prosecutors that you want to assert the rights granted to crime victims in Chapter 56 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This notification of Crime Victim Rights should be in writing.

Click here if you want to download a crime victim rights notification letter to send to the District Attorney's Office, County Attorney's Office, and the Court Clerk's Office. Download this letter and hand-deliver it to the prosecutor's office or send via certified mail, return receipt requested.

You should also file a copy of your "invocation of crime victim rights" letter with the Court Clerk so the judge will see your letter in the criminal file. When you download the letter, make sure you put your name, address, and telephone number at the top of your letter. Also reference your case and the cause number for the criminal case, if you have it.

WE SUGGEST THAT CRIME VICTIMS DO NOT USE THEIR PHYSICAL ADDRESS IN ANY LETTERS TO THE COURT OR TO PROSECUTORS BECAUSE THE PERPETRATOR OR HIS ATTORNEY MAY BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THESE LETTERS. WE STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU USE A POSTAL BOX NOT A PHYSICAL STREET ADDRESS.

CRIME VICTIMS SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER GETTING A CONFIDENTIAL POST OFFICE BOX WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS SO THE PERPETRATOR CANNOT TRACK YOU DOWN THROUGH YOUR ADDRESS.

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 56.82 states that The Texas Attorney General shall establish an address confidentiality program for victims of sexual assault, stalking, and family violence. The Texas Attorney General designates a P.O. box address for victims to use and then forwards all mail to victims. This greatly reduces the probability that the perpetrator can locate you by trying to trace your postal box.

CRIME VICTIMS
INVOCATION OF RIGHTS LETTER
(Microsoft Word format)

 

Here are the legal rights that crime victims in Texas are entitled to:

Code of Criminal Procedure, Chapter 56 Texas Constitution, Article I Section 30

The right to receive protection from harm and threats of harm from the perpetrator arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
   
The right to have your safety considered by the magistrate when setting bail;
   
Receive information, on request, of relevant court proceedings, including appellate proceedings, of cancellations and rescheduling prior to the event, and appellate court decisions after the decisions are entered but before they are made public;
   
The right to be informed, when requested, by a peace officer about the defendant’s right to bail and criminal investigation procedures, and from the prosecutor’s office about general procedures in the criminal justice system, including plea agreements, restitution, appeals and parole;
   
The right to provide information about the impact of the crime to the probation department prior to sentencing for inclusion in a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI);
   
The right to information about the Texas Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund and payment for a medical examination for a victim of sexual assault, and, on request, referral to social service agencies that provide additional assistance;
   
The right to information, on request, about parole procedures; notification of parole proceedings and of the inmate’s release; and the opportunity to participate in the parole process by submitting written information to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file for consideration by the Board prior to parole;
   
The right to a separate or secure waiting area at all public court proceedings;
   
The right to prompt return of any property that is no longer needed as evidence;
   
The right to have the prosecutor notify, upon request, an employer that the need for the victim’s testimony may involve the victim’s absence from work;
   
The right to on request, counseling and testing regarding AIDS and HIV infection and testing for victims of sexual assault
   
The right to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the Victim Services Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice;
   
The right to be informed of the use and purpose of a victim impact statement, to complete a victim impact statement and to have the statement considered before sentencing and acceptance of a plea bargain and before an inmate is released on parole.
   
A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim may be present at all public court proceedings, with the consent of the presiding judge;
   
A judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a service enumerated herein.
   
Victims should also know that they can have a victim advocate accompany them during the sexual assault exam if an advocate is available at the time of the examination.

Please call your crime victim services contacts in law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office for more information about victim services in your community.

For more information call: CRIME VICTIMS COMPENSATION DIVISION TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERALS OFFICE 1-800-983-9933

Texas VINE

Texas VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) is the name of the automated system. It provides crime victims with offender status and court information via a toll-free number and website. While Texas VINE is a valuable informational tool, it isn’t a guarantee of safety. Please maintain contact with your local law enforcement and prosecutor’s offices. VINE 24-hour-information on jail status and court events: 877-894-8463

 
For more information about our services, or to speak with an experienced lawyer, please contact The Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison, P.C. at (512) 708-1650 for your FREE and confidential consultation. We have an experienced RN (Registered Nurse) on staff.