In the past, victims of crimes were essentially voiceless. In other words, they were not bestowed with any genuine powers. Consequently, since victims did not have any real rights in the criminal process, they had to passively sit back and wish for the best outcome—hoping justice was served. Fortunately, a lot has changed in contemporary society to give victims a voice, as well as provide avenues to exercise their rights.
Article 1 Section 16 of the Florida Constitution—and recent amendments—gives victims various rights they did not previously have. An important right that victims now have in a criminal case is the right to be represented by counsel. A victims’ rights attorney can aid those that have been victimized by crimes. Having experienced and effective counsel by your side can help an individual navigate a fundamentally complex judicial system, as well as aggressively fight to enforce the rights enumerated under the Florida Constitution. Schisani Law will aggressively fight for you to help ensure justice is served.
Below is a brief overview of a victim’s rights in a criminal prosecution under Article 1 Section 16 of the Florida Constitution:
- The right to due process and to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s dignity;
- The right to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse;
- The right to have the safety and welfare of the victim and the victim’s family considered when setting bail, including setting pretrial release conditions that protect the safety and welfare of the victim and the victim’s family;
- The right to be protected from the accused and the accused person’s counsel. Defense attorneys will oftentimes try to question victims or conduct depositions. A victims’ rights attorney can help prevent the Defendant’s attorney from questioning a victim without a proper subpoena, and even file a Motion with the court. If a victim is subpoenaed for a deposition, the victim must attend and answer any questions subject to the evidence code. A victims’ rights attorney can help a victim prepare for the deposition, attend the deposition with the victim, object when appropriate to improper questioning, and ultimately guide the client throughout the process, as this can be intimidating for those that have not been engaged with the criminal process before;
- The right to prevent the disclosure of information that could be used to locate or harass the victim, or which could disclose confidential or privileged information of the victim;
- Upon request by the victim, the right to be heard in any public proceeding involving pre-trial or other release from any form of legal constraint, plea, sentencing, adjudication, or parole, and any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated;
- Upon request by the victim, the right to confer with the prosecuting attorney regarding the plea agreement, participating in pre-trial diversion programs, release, restitution, sentencing, or any other disposition of the case;
- Upon request by the victim, the right to get property back, once the criminal matter is resolved. A victims’ rights attorney can file a Motion with the court for the return of the victim’s property—that was used as evidence in the prosecution against the Defendant—at the conclusion of the case;
- Among other rights.
As a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, attorney Christopher Schisani has successfully represented numerous crime victims. Schisani Law employs a proactive and persistent approach with these specific matters. Sometimes, with the prosecuting attorney’s heavy case load, they can be difficult to get in touch with or sometimes inadvertently fail to follow up with the victim in a case. As soon as we are retained on the matter, we immediately reach out to the prosecuting attorney to inform them of the client we represent, and express that all communications must be conveyed to counsel. Further, we convey that our office wants to be kept up-to-date on any and all actions pertaining to the case, including upcoming hearing dates, plea negotiations, pre-trial release conditions, bond amounts, our client’s desires as the victim in the case, among other matters. Having a victims’ rights attorney can sometimes help lessen the likelihood of a victim being brushed to the side and help prevent the possibility of the victim not receiving the attention they deserve during these often difficult times.
Schisani Law can help enforce your rights and ensure that your wishes and desires are transparent to the prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and judge. If you or a loved one is in need of a victims’ rights attorney, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Schisani Law Firm today. We can be reached via telephone at (407) 853-2606, through the “Contact” tab at the top, or via e-mail at [email protected] Remember, we are here to protect you and your rights!