In Maryland, victims of crime have important rights. Maryland Criminal Procedure Article § 11-1002 offers guidelines for helping victims of a crime, declaring that they should be treated with “dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity”.
Unfortunately, due to heavy caseloads, crime victims are sometimes lost from the view of those who are responsible for prosecuting their offender. In fact, most crime victims are unaware of their rights and are never apprised of the legal rights and services available to them.
Why a Crime Victim Should Hire an Attorney
Many victims of a crime know that the police and the prosecutor are there to defend their rights. However even though the police and the prosecutor want to hold the offender accountable for his or her actions, the rights and concerns of the victim may not be their first priority. Consequently, once a suspect is arrested and a case is filed, police officers then move on to the next case. Busy States Attorney’s offices often give crime victims information about the progress of the case at the last minute, if at all.
In many cases there is no one to explain the complex procedures that go into a criminal case, and outcomes are often predetermined by plea deals made between the prosecutor and the defense with little or no input from the victim. The prosecutor and the police work for the State. If you are the victim of a crime, you need someone who will work for you. Isn’t the justice you now seek, the arrest and prosecution of the wrongdoer?
What a Crime Victim’s Attorney Does
A victim’s rights attorney employs his legal skills to bring your case to the attention of those responsible for prosecution of your offender. A victim’s lawyer duties may involve providing necessary photos to the prosecutor, preparing a summary of your case along with necessary documentation, and even identifying and interviewing important witnesses before they disappear from sight. An attorney can also help you to:
- understand each phase of the process
- act as a liaison to the Office of the State’s Attorney
- advise you regarding the outcomes of any hearings and let you know the next step
- prepare you for any court proceedings where you may have to testify
- write a victim impact statement to the Court;
- assist you with any statement you might want to make at sentencing.
An attorney who is focused on your interests may be the only one in the process you can depend on to look out for your rights and your interests. If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a crime, don’t compound your misfortune by allowing yourself to become a victim of the process. You do not have to be alone as you face the criminal justice courtroom. Hire an attorney to be your advocate so that you can get the justice you deserve.