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Victim Rights

Victims’ Rights laws are designed to provide justice, fairness, and dignity to victims. Information about your rights as a victim and how to exercise them can be found here.

Need Help? Take our quiz to clarify your first steps.

Victims' Rights

What are victims' rights?

Victims’ rights are rights granted to victims of crime under Article 2, Section 2.1 of the Arizona Constitution.

Victims' rights are meant to make sure that victims receive justice, due process, fairness, and respect. They focus on helping victims stay informed and make sure that victims’ voices and decisions are heard and respected.
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What is the Victims' Bill of Rights?

In 1990, Arizona voters passed an initiative creating the Arizona Victims’ Bill of Rights. The following year, legislation was implemented guaranteeing specific rights for crime victims.

The Victims’ Bill of Rights’ says that to preserve and protect victims’ rights to justice and due process, a victim of crime has a right:

1
To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process.
2
To be informed, upon request, when the accused or convicted person is released from custody or has escaped.
3
If the victim requests it, to be told about and be present at all criminal proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.
4
To be heard at any proceeding involving a post-arrest release decision, a negotiated plea, and sentencing.
5
To refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on the defendant’s behalf.
6
To speak with the prosecution after criminal charges are laid, before trial, or before the case is decided, and to be told how the case is decided.
7
To read pre-sentence reports relating to the crime against the victim when they are available to the defendant.
8
To receive prompt restitution from the person or people convicted of the crime that caused the victims’ loss or injury.
9
To be heard at any proceeding when any post-conviction release from confinement is being considered.
10
To a speedy trial or decision and prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction and sentence.
11
To have all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims’ rights.
12
To be informed of these constitutional rights.

Who must follow the rules in the Victims' Bill of Rights?

To ensure that crime victims can exercise these rights, Arizona law requires certain individuals and agencies involved in the criminal justice process to support these rights. This group includes law enforcement officials, prosecutors and lawyers, judges and court staff, corrections staff, and even the person who committed the crime. These people must actively support victims’ rights by sharing information or doing certain other things that are required of them.

Here are some examples:

Right 1

To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse throughout the criminal justice process.
This right places a duty upon everyone involved in the criminal justice process – law enforcement, lawyers, the court, corrections, and the defendant must all behave as this right dictates.

Right 2

To be informed, upon request, when the accused or convicted person is released from custody or has escaped.
This right most directly places a duty on corrections staff and law enforcement – If the accused or convicted criminal is released or escapes, these will be the ones that have to inform the victim.

Right 8

To receive prompt restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victims’ loss or injury.
This right most directly places a duty on the convicted criminal who has been ordered to pay restitution, as well as the court that collects and gives the funds to the victim.

Right 10

To a speedy trial or disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction and sentence.
This right most directly places a duty on the court and prosecutors or lawyers involved in the case – The court must do whatever they can to ensure a speedy trial, and the lawyers must not slow down the case for improper reasons.

Which of these rights are given automatically and which need to be requested?

All the rights in the crime victim bill of rights are afforded to crime victims automatically, except for three. These rights are “upon request.”

The victim must indicate that they wish to request these rights on the Victims’ Rights Request/Waiver Form that they receive from law enforcement.
Right 2: To be informed, upon request, when the accused or convicted person is released from custody or has escaped.
Right 3: To be present at and, upon request, to be informed of all criminal proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.
Right 6: To confer with the prosecution, after the crime against the victim has been charged, before trial or before any disposition of the case and to be informed of the disposition.

When do victims’ rights take effect?

Arizona law says that the rights and duties established by the Victims’ Bill of Rights take effect when the person who committed the crime against the victim is arrested or formally charged.
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The rights and duties continue to be enforceable until the final disposition of the charges, including acquittal or dismissal, all post-conviction release and relief proceedings and the discharge of all criminal proceedings relating to restitution. If a defendant is ordered to pay restitution to a victim, the rights and duties continue to be enforceable until restitution is paid, or a criminal restitution order is entered in favor of the victim.

What happens if rights are violated?

If you feel that your rights as a victim have been violated at any point during the criminal justice process, the first step is to contact the agency directly. If this does not resolve the issue, you are encouraged to file complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
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