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Victims' Rights

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

Board-certified lawyer Debra Sutton has spent more than 30 years enforcing the rights of her clients.

She is ready to fight for your rights as a crime victim, and has convenient offices in Lakeland, Bartow, and St. Petersburg.

What Are My Rights as a Victim of Violence?

When a man or woman suffers physical trauma as a victim of domestic violence or any other type of crime, there are certain protections put in place by federal and state governments to keep them safe from further harm. The Sutton Law Firm of Lakeland, FL, will fight to make sure these important protections are offered to you and your family:


The right to have certain information made available to you in order to ensure your safety.

Restraining Orders

The right to obtain orders from the court to ensure your safety from the offender, which includes having a say in pretrial release conditions and setting bail.  

Safety in Court

The right for crime victims to safely participate in the legal proceeding. This can include providing valuable information during sentencing.

Employment Security

The right to fight retaliation from an employer or termination of employment if you seek protection from domestic abuse. 

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, FL, office today to schedule a consultation:

(863) 533-8912

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


5-Star Google Reviews from Our Satisfied Clients ​"Debra and her staff are the best around"




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Debra Sutton and Sutton Law Firm are the epitome of what you hope lawyers are going to be... Debra and her staff worked tirelessly to resolve my legal issues on multiple fronts...

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Jimmy Chesnut


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If you are looking for the most knowledgeable Attorney in Central Florida. Look no further. Debra and her staff are the best around.

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What Are My Rights As a Crime Victim?

If you are a crime victim 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.

FAQ 2: What is 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:


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.


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. Contact us using our online form or call our Lakeland law office at:

(863) 533-8912

More Happy Florida Clients


Kevin Bracken


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I’ve known Debra Sutton for most of my life and can honestly say she has always went above and beyond no matter the task. She is super competitive and has an always win attitude. Debra is compassionate and cares deeply about people in general. You can rest assured that choosing her law firm is a solid choice that will provide you with the best possible outcome.

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michael kuehl


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This is the most professional attorney you could ever ask for If your needing assistance with any marital or family law issues also can help with business law as well she always ready to help with your law needs if she can help she will refer you in the best possible direction Guess this is why she has been in business for so long

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Debra J. Sutton Is On Your Side

Ms. 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.

Have a Voice in the Legal Process 

You deserve to be heard and fairly represented throughout your legal proceedings. Ms. Sutton has amplified clients’ voices throughout her 25 years of practicing family and appellate law in Florida. She will fight for your right to receive notifications involving your case and have your requests considered for the sentencing of the defendant. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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, issues such as notification will be made to the victim's parent and/or guardian. However, the victim 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 office in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, or Bartov to request a consultation today.

"Professional and Caring" Law Firm for Victims' Rights Protection in Florida 


Vicki Watson


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I have hired Ms. Sutton twice and both times she has gone above and beyond. She is professional but also caring. More then once she called me to calm my anxiety about my case. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law in the courtroom made me glad she was my lawyer. Hopefully I never need a lawyer again, but if I do, I will hire Ms. Sutton.

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David Smith


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Never has she waivered from anything but professional and effective legal representation. She will remain your advocate throughout any process from start to finish and continue to provide prompt service after the case is completed. If you need an attorney who will be YOUR advocate during stressful times, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.

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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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Lakeland Office

625 Commerce Dr
Lakeland, FL 33813

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St Petersburg Office

7024 Central Ave
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325 W Main St
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