Victims’ Rights - Laws
Are There Laws That Cover Victims’ Rights?
Maryland law provides for the rights of victims in criminal cases. Some of these rights include the following:
- The victim or the victim’s representative has the right to be present at every court proceeding in which the defendant also must be present, except in very limited circumstances.
- A victim or victim’s representative may not lose his or her job by attending court proceedings that they have the right to attend.
- Upon first contact with a victim or victim’s representative, the police, commissioner or juvenile intake officer must provide the victim with a victim’s rights pamphlet. The State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) will also provide the victim with a notification form to fill out and return to the SAO. The purpose of a notification form is to notify the victim or the victim’s representative of all future significant court dates, the terms of any plea agreements offered to the defendant, and the right of the victim or victim’s representative to submit a written or oral impact statement to the court.
- If the victim or victim’s representative has filled out and returned the victim notification form to the SAO, upon the defendant’s conviction, a copy of this form will be attached to any probation order or commitment order and sent to the respective agencies responsible for supervising the defendant while on probation, or housing the defendant while he or she is incarcerated. The information contained in the notification form will assist these agencies with notifying the victim with regard to future significant events that occur in relation to the defendant’s probation or incarceration, such as parole hearings. Finally, if the case is appealed, a copy of the notification form will also be sent to the Maryland State Attorney General’s Office for possible future notifications.
- If a case involves a victim having been exposed to the HIV virus during the commission of the crime, the victim has the right to request that the defendant be tested for HIV, and those results may be released to the victim. In such cases, the victim should contact the assigned Assistant State’s Attorney for assistance in carrying out this procedure.