Article 56.02—Code of Criminal Procedure
A victim of a crime is (1) a person who is the victim of the offense of sexual assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual or who has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the criminal conduct of another (2) the close relative (spouse, parent, or adult brother, sister or child) of a deceased victim, or (3) the guardian of a victim. As a victim of violent crime, a close relative of a deceased victim, or guardian of a victim, you have the following rights:
- The right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts.
- The right to have the magistrate take the safety of the victim or his family into consideration as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused.
- The right, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings, including appellate proceedings, and to be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event.
- The right to be informed, if requested, by an appellate court of decisions of the court, after the decisions are entered but before they are made public.
- The right to be informed, when requested, by a peace officer concerning the defendant’s right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the district attorney’s office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arrangements, restitution, and the appeals and parole process.
- The right to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his family by testimony, written statement, or any other manner prior to any sentencing of the offender. In addition, state law provides that a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim, may complete a Victim Impact Statement and have that statement considered by the court in a criminal case prior to the imposition of a sentence and by the Board of Pardons and Paroles in the parole process. Victims may also appear in court and present a statement to the court after the sentence has been pronounced.
- The right to be informed of the uses of a Victim Impact Statement and its purposes in the criminal justice system.
- The right to have your Victim Impact Statement considered by the prosecutor and judge before sentencing and before a plea agreement is accepted, as well as by the Board of Pardons & Paroles before an inmate is released.
- The right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by the Crime Victims Compensation Act (Chapter 56 of the Code of Criminal Procedure), including information related to the costs that may be compensated under that Act and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for application for compensation under that Act, the payment for a medical examination under article 56.06 of this code for a victim of a sexual assault, and when requested, to referral to available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance.
- The right to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning the defendant in the victim’s case, to provide to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant’s file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to this Act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant’s release.
- The right to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender and relatives of the offender, before testifying in any proceeding concerning the offender; if a separate waiting area is not available, other safeguards should be taken to Minimize the victim’s contact with the offender and the offender’s relatives and witnesses, before and during court proceedings.
- The right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose.
- The right to have the attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim if requested, of the necessity of the victim’s cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for a good cause.
- The right to counseling, on request, regarding AIDS and HIV infection and testing for AIDS and HIV related infections, if the offense is a sexual offense or sexual assault.
- The right to request victim-offender mediation through TDCI B Victim Services.
- The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, subject to the approval of the judge in the case.
- The right to privacy as far as is reasonably practical, the address of the victim may not be part of the court file except as necessary to identify the place of the crime. The phone number of the victim may not be a part of the court file.
If you or your family have been contacted or threatened by the defendant or the defendant’s family since the crime occurred, please contact your local law enforcement agency and prosecutor immediately.
Contact the Northeast Texas Child Advocacy Center at 903-629-7588 if you need your rights explained further.