An Explanation Of Victims’ Rights

Debra J. Sutton at the Sutton Law Firm has over 30 years of experience practicing marital and family law. In that time, Ms. Sutton has represented men and women who have been victims of or at risk for domestic violence. She has seen the need to help victims find their voice and protect themselves by whatever legal remedies are available. A strong advocate and aggressive victims’ rights lawyer, Ms. Sutton makes your safety her first priority. If you need help enforcing your rights or need information on what to do in a dangerous situation, call us in Bartow, FL, for help.

Gavel on top of folder titled "Domestic Violence"

Victims' rights can make sure that you and your family are safe in the wake of a separation or divorce.  

What Are Victims’ Rights?

Both the federal and state governments have certain protections in place to keep victims of domestic and other forms of violence safe. There are laws that give victims the right to have certain information made available to them, to obtain orders from the Court for their protection, and to participate in a criminal proceeding. There are also laws to prevent retaliation or termination from employment when one seeks protection from domestic violence.

Victims’ rights are an important part of family and domestic law cases. The Sutton Law Firm makes sure you are safe and helps you take steps to protect yourself and your family.

What Do Victims’ Rights Include? 

Victims have the following rights, which should be enforced at all times:

  • The right to be treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity. Law enforcement and court officials are required to treat you courteously and fairly.
  • The right to be informed of your rights. Victims must be advised of which services and resources are available and be given information about how to seek compensation.
  • The right to protection, by law enforcement or other agencies. This might include an escort to and from court, relocation, or a restraining order.
  • The right to apply for compensation, which will reimburse a victim for out-of-pocket costs associated with the crime. There are certain rules that have to be followed when applying for compensation and a qualified attorney can make sure your application is timely and complete.
  • The right to restitution from the offender. Like compensation, restitution is paid by the perpetrator directly to the victim for any economic damages suffered by the victim. Common damages include medical bills, lost wages, and damage to personal property.
  • The right to a speedy trial. Rather than waiting for a long time to get closure, victims can move beyond the event as quickly as possible once the legal proceedings are over.
  • The right to enforce victims’ rights. This is done by taking advantage of the laws governing victims’ rights. The best results are accomplished when a skilled attorney takes charge of your case.

If you have been the victim of domestic violence or another crime, we can help.

Marsy’s Law

Marsy’s Law acts as an expanded Bill of Rights for victims of state or federal crimes. Named after a homicide victim in California, Marsy's Law has been adopted in several states across the country to provide or improve protections for victims and to their families. Marsy’s Law was adopted in Florida in January 2019. It provides a detailed list of the rights afforded victims of crimes under the Florida Constitution.

With the 2019 amendment to Florida’s Constitution, these rights now include:

  • The right to be notified of events relevant to the case, which can include the right for the victim to address the Court.
  • 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.
  • The right to be protected from the accuser through judicially enforceable remedies such as a protective order or other law enforcement protection.

Unfortunately, how these rights should be implemented is still uncertain. Within weeks of the amendment going into effect, Ms. Sutton filed a challenge on behalf of a victim of domestic violence. 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 challenge of Marcy’s Law in Florida. Ms. Sutton is knowledgeable, experienced and ready to fight for your rights as a victim of a domestic violence or other crimes. 

How We Can Help

Debra J. Sutton is a Board Certified attorney in Appellate Practice since 1997 and is also Board Certified in Marital and Family Law since 2001. As one of less than six percent of attorneys in Florida to achieve certification, Ms. Sutton takes your safety and that of your family seriously.  She works diligently and tirelessly to protect you and your children by enforcing all remedies available at law. Call our office at (863) 533-8912 or contact us online for help with your case today.

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