Victim and Witness Brochures & Resources

What are your rights as the victim of a crime?

If you are the victim of a crime, you have certain rights under the law.

If you are the victim of a crime, you have the RIGHT to be notified of:

  • Plea bargain agreements
  • Changes in court schedules, date, time and place of sentencing
  • Final disposition of criminal case
  • Transfer of offender to less secure correctional facility
  • Release of offender from prison or institution
  • Escape and apprehension of offender from prison or institution
  • Your rights as a victim

If you are the victim of a crime, you have the RIGHT to participate in prosecution, which includes the ability to:

  • Inform court of impact of crime at pretrial and sentencing
  • Have input in pre-trial diversion program
  • Object to plea bargain
  • Request a speedy trial
  • Bring a supportive person to any pretrial hearing
  • Attend the sentencing hearing
  • Write down your objections to the sentence and give them to the court

If you are the victim of a crime, and called to testify in court, you have the RIGHT to protection from harm, which means that:

  • Tampering with a witness is against Minnesota law and can be reported to the police
  • Witnesses do not have to give their addresses in court
  • Victims have the right to a secure waiting area during court proceedings
  • Employers may not discipline or dismiss victims or witnesses who are called to testify in court
  • A convicted sex offender can be required to take an HIV test

If you are the victim of a crime, you have the RIGHT to apply for financial assistance:

  • Victims who have suffered economic loss may be eligible for financial assistance from the state
  • Victims may request of the court that restitution be paid by the person or persons who are convicted of causing the harm

If you are a witness in a criminal prosecution, you play an important role in seeing that justice is done. Many of those called to testify are unfamiliar with the court system and how it works, and may be anxious about testifying, or may not understand what to do. Please look at the What’s Next: A brief description of the criminal court process for victims and witnesses link for some suggestions that might make things easier.

What’s Next: A brief description of the criminal court process for victims and witnesses.

When you receive a subpoena to appear in court

Grievances or Violations of Victim’s Rights

Federal laws prohibit crime victims be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, and wish to file a complaint, below is a direct link to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) website that provides you with the Formal Complaint Form and Identity Release Form and where to submit them. Also accessible are filing tips.

Have your rights been violated?

Victims in Minnesota have statutory rights regarding notification, participation, compensation, and protection.

Victims who feel their crime victim rights have been violated or they have been mistreated by a member or entity of the criminal justice system can contact the Crime Victim Justice Unit. This link provides you with a fillable complaint form, as well as information on where to submit it.

Crime Victim Justice Unit (CVJU)

The CVJU investigates complaints from victims about statutory rights violations and victim mistreatment. Their goal is to promote the highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and justice for crime victims. The CVJU is not a victim advocate, but an advocate for the fair and equitable treatment of crime victims and adherence to crime victim rights.

Crime Victim Justice Unit
45 Minnesota St. Suite 2300
St. Paul, MN 55101