Rights as a Crime Victim

“Victim” means a person who is the victim of sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery or who has suffered bodily injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another.
Students who are victims, guardians of a victim, or close relatives of a deceased victim are entitled to the following rights within the criminal justice system.

The Right to receive from law enforcement agencies, adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts.

The Right to have a magistrate consider the safety of the victim or his/her family as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused.

The Right if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings and be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event.

The Right to be informed, when requested by a peace officer concerning the defendant’s right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the district attorney’s office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arraignments, restitution, and the appeals and parole process.

The Right to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his/her family by testimony, written statement , or any other manner prior to any sentencing of the offender.

The Right To receive information regarding compensation to victims including information related to costs and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation under the act, the payment for medical examination under article 56.06 of this code for a victim of a sexual assault, and when requested to referral to available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance.

The Right to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning a defendant in the victims case, to provide the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to this act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant’s release.

The Right to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender, and relatives of the offender; if a separate waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken to minimize the victims contact with the offender and the offender’s relatives and witnesses, before and during proceedings.

The Right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose.

The Right to have an attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim if requested, of the necessity of the victim’s cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate absence of the victim from work for a good cause.

The Right the right to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and testing for infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any probable causative agent of AIDS, if the offense is an offense under section 21.1(a) (1) [Indecency with a child] [Sexual Assault] or 22.021 [Aggravated Sexual assault]. Penal Code

A victim has the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, subject to the approval of the judge in the case.

The office representing the State, and the sheriff, police, and other law enforcement agencies shall ensure to the extent practicable that a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of deceased victim is afforded the rights granted by subsection 9a) of this article, and on request, an explanation of those rights.

A judge for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this article. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this article may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as grounds for appeal, a ground to set aside a conviction or sentence, or a ground in a habeas corpus petition.

The Right to request victim offender mediation coordinated by the Victim Service Division of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The Right to be informed of the uses of an Impact Statement and the Statements purpose in the Criminal Justice System, to complete the Victim Impact Statement and to have the Statement considered.

If you or your family have been contacted or threatened by the defendant or the defendant’s family since the crime occurred, please contact your local law enforcement agency and prosecutor immediately.