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Victims' Rights

If you are a victim of domestic violence or another crime, you need a lawyer to represent you and protect your rights.

Board-certified lawyer Debra Sutton has been enforcing the rights of her clients since 1989.

She is ready to fight for victims' rights and has convenient offices in Lakeland, Bartow, and St. Petersburg, FL.

Take Advantage  of Your Rights

As a victim or witness of a crime, you have legal rights. While this may be your first experience with the criminal justice system, Debra J. Sutton can help you understand your rights, answer any questions you have, and help keep you safe. Contact our Lakeland office today.

What Are My Rights as a Crime Victim?

The Florida Office of the Attorney General has put forth a Crime Victims' Bill of Rights. If you are a victim of physical abuse, domestic violence, or any other type of crime in Florida, your rights include:


You must be treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity by police and court officials, including the prosecutor and the defendant's lawyer. 

Available Resources

You must be advised of which legal services and resources are available to you, including a choice of prosecutors. 

Professional Protection

You must be offered the right to be kept safe through police escorts, relocation services, or a restraining order against the defendant or another person who might wish to do you harm. 


You must have the right to apply for financial compensation, which will reimburse you for out-of-pocket costs associated with the crime perpetrated against you. A qualified attorney like Debra J. Sutton can make sure your application is timely, accurate, and complete.


You must have the right to restitution from the offender. Like compensation, restitution is paid by the offender directly to you for economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and costs to repair your personal property.

Speedy Trial

This makes it easier for those affected by crimes to receive justice and move toward healing and closure once legal proceedings are over.

Access to Legal Protections

The best accessibility is accomplished when an attorney such as Debra J. Sutton takes charge of your case.
"If you have been subject to domestic violence or another criminal act, Debra will aggressively work to ensure your rights as a victim are respected in court."

Debra Sutton Is Prepared to Protect Your Rights

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Crime victims' rights can make sure that you and your family are safe when domestic violence and other criminal activity affect you. However, those rights can be violated or overlooked in our strained legal system. Debra Sutton is here to make certain that justice is served throughout Polk County and the surrounding Florida area. 

Are You in a Dangerous Situation?

​Contact Debra J. Sutton Today

Debra J. Sutton is a compassionate, ethical, and aggressive victims' rights lawyer who is board certified in both Appellate and Marital and Family Law. She is one of only 6% of Florida attorneys to achieve certification, with less than 1% earning certification in family law. She welcomes clients from throughout Polk County and surrounding areas.

Your safety is our number-one priority, so if you are in a dangerous situation due to criminal activity such as a violent domestic situation, contact us immediately. Use our online form or call our Lakeland-based practice today to request a consultation:

(863) 533-8912

Ms. Sutton serves the central Florida area from our offices in Lakeland, Bartow, and St. Petersburg.

Debra J. Sutton

Our Legal Team Goes Above and Beyond "Make the call today! You will not regret it!"


Anita Rodriguez

Bartow, FL


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I highly recommend Ms.Sutton to everyone. She has incredible knowledge and very professional. Her and her staff, the ladies at the office went above and beyond, listened to me and helped me and my children through a very difficult case. They are kind and caring human being. I am forever grateful to the Sutton Law firm.

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Chelsea Faulkner

Bartow, FL


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Mrs Debra Sutton has been amazing! Very up front and honest! She has so much knowledge and know how about the laws and how to handle situations... You can’t go wrong if you hire her and her team to get the job done! They have had our backs from the get go, and haven’t let us down! Will recommend her to anyone!! We love her! If you’re wondering if they are worth it, yes they are! Make the call today! You will not regret it!

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Understanding Marsy's Law "It elevates the rights of a victim."

Debra J. Sutton explains Marsy's Law, which is relatively new legislation in Florida that grants victims many rights in the interest of their safety.

Victims' Rights Offered by Marsy’s Law

This state constitutional amendment acts as an expanded Bill of Rights for those affected violently by state or federal crimes in Florida. Named after a California homicide victim, it provides or improves protections for crime victims and their families. This groundbreaking amendment was adopted into Florida's state constitution in January 2019 and provides a detailed list of the rights afforded to people affected by crimes. These rights include:
All of our clients are treated with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. It's important for clients to know their personal legal matters will be handled privately, and we carefully manage our schedule to preserve confidentiality.
All of our clients are treated with the utmost sensitivity and discretion. It's important for clients to know their personal legal matters will be handled privately, and we carefully manage our schedule to preserve confidentiality.


The right to be notified of events relevant to the case, which can include the right for you to address the court.

Appeal Limits

A cap on the number of times a death penalty defendant can file an appeal.


Keeping certain information about the victim private and out of the court records.

Safety Precautions

The right to be protected from the offender through judicially enforceable remedies such as a protective order or other law enforcement protection.

Putting Marsy's Law Into Effect
Debra J. Sutton Is On Your Side

Ms. Debra J. Sutton is ready to fight for your rights as a victim of domestic violence or other crimes. She takes your rights as a crime victim very seriously and is prepared to take the actions necessary to uphold those rights.

Within weeks of Marsy’s Law going into effect in Florida, Ms. Sutton filed a challenge on behalf of a victim of domestic abuse. This woman was not notified when the court offered the accused a plea deal, denying her the right to provide the court with relevant information during sentencing. This appears to be the first use of Marsy’s Law in Florida.


You Don't Have to Fight Alone

Call the Sutton Law Firm Today

If you are a victim of a crime, you may feel overwhelmed and scared. You don't have to fight alone. Attorney Debra J. Sutton will fight for your rights and guide you along the way to ensure that you have the support you need. We have offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow, FL, for your convenience. 

You have rights before, during, and after your accuser is prosecuted, and our team will fight tirelessly for you throughout. Contact us using our form or call our Lakeland-based law offices at:

(863) 533-8912

Victims' Rights May Apply to Your Situation

Having victims' rights in the aftermath of a criminal act may seem obvious, but you also have these same rights when the perpetrator of violence is someone close to you. Many clients don't even realize that they could be eligible for victims' rights when going through situations like:


Divorces can become contentious quickly, and if you're still living with your soon-to-be ex, you may become a victim of domestic violence. Exes can become verbally abusive, withhold money, or even resort to physical violence when divorces turn sour. Debra Sutton can help protect you and make the case that you deserve more than your abusive ex in your divorce.

Explore Divorce Representation

Child Custody

People can become aggressive when they think their access to their children may be limited or revoked. If your child's other parent has made threats or resorted to physical or psychological harm, our attorney can help prove that your child is safer with you and hold your abusive ex accountable for their actions and threats.

Ask About Child Custody Representation

In these cases, you may be able to achieve justice by pressing charges, securing an order of protection, or suing for compensation.

While our law firm, serving Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow, mostly focuses on divorce and family law cases, we also aim to uphold the rights of people who have been victims of criminal acts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Victims' Rights

What do I do if I already have a protection order and the accuser does not abide by that order?

Contact law enforcement immediately. If your protection order is being violated, first contact the authorities, and then contact your attorney. We will ensure the prosecutor is notified and appropriate action can be taken to protect you.

My attacker was released and I wasn't notified. What do I do?

Contact our office; we will ensure your rights have been upheld. We will first determine if an attempt was made to notify you. Crime victims in Florida must fill out a notification card if they wish to be notified about changes in their case, such as the defendant being released. It is also the victim's responsibility to inform the state of changes such as a change of address should you wish to be notified. If a reasonable attempt was not made to notify you, we will pursue appropriate legal action. 

Are these rights still valid if the victim is a minor?

Yes. Oftentimes, notifications regarding cases will be given to the victim's parent and/or guardian. However, a victim who is a minor still has the same rights as an adult. 

I had property stolen. Can I get it back?

Yes. Unless there is a compelling legal reason to withhold that property, it will be returned to its rightful owner. It is sometimes held for evidentiary purposes, but then must be returned under Florida law.

Have more questions? Contact our law offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, or Bartow to request a consultation today.

More Happy Lakeland Clients "Helped me through an exceedingly challenging time."


Uzuel Arteaga

Bartow, FL


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If your looking for a Lawfirm that will take your case personally and get you results, look no further. Having Debra’s extensive legal knowledge, intimidating presence and shear confidence on your side of the courtroom is truly a comforting feeling. I definitely recommend them to anyone who wants results.

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Dawn Weikle

Bartow, FL


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For the first time in my life, I needed to hire an attorney and I highly recommend Debra Sutton and Sutton law firm. Sutton Law Firm came highly recommended to me, and I have not been disappointed. Debra is deeply knowledgeable of the collaborative law process. Debra and her staff have helped me through an exceedingly challenging time in my life... The whole staff is always thoughtful and caring while I am in the office.

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Debra J. Sutton

Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton is an attorney who is board-certified in both appellate practice and marital and family law by the Florida Bar. At the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Kovschak, and their team provide individualized, compassionate, and private legal services. Our popular practice areas include:

You can request a consultation with our board-certified attorney right now by filling out our online form or calling (863) 533-8912.

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