Louisiana Victim's Rights
Those accused of breaking the law in Louisiana are entitled to constitutional rights under our justice system, but so are the victims of crimes. In fact, the Louisiana Constitution includes a section that provides a list of constitutional rights victims are entitled to.
Article I, Section 25 of the Louisiana Constitution lists the following rights for victims:
1. Any person who is a victim of crime shall be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect;
2. A victim of a crime shall be informed of his/her rights;
3. A victim of crime shall have the right to reasonable notice and to be present and heard during all critical stages of preconviction and postconviction proceedings;
4. A victim of a crime has the right to be informed upon the release from custody or the escape of the accused or the offender;
5. A victim of a crime has the right to confer with the prosecution prior to final disposition of the case;
6. A victim of a crime has the right to refuse to be interviewed by the accused or a representative of the accused;
7. A victim of a crime has the right to review and comment upon the presentence report prior to imposition of sentence;
8. A victim of a crime has the right to seek restitution; and
9. A victim of a crime has the right to a reasonably prompt conclusion of the case.
Depending on the nature of the alleged crime, there might also be services offered by the prosecuting agency or the government that assists the victim in dealing with the stress, trauma, or loss of being a victim. There might be assistance in getting a protective order against the accused or help with getting counseling. These services are generally offered to a victim at no charge.
Of course, victims of crimes also may have civil causes of action that are separate from the criminal justice system. What’s important to remember is that victims don’t have a right to appointed counsel. The prosecutor also doesn’t “represent the victim” as an attorney in the course of their prosecution of the criminal case.
Some victims, once advised of their rights, decide to hire an attorney to advocate and assist them through the criminal justice system. The attorney helps translate the criminal justice process and procedures and communicates their voice to the parties involved. If you are the victim of a crime and want more information about such representation, please do not hesitate to contact the Borghardt Law Firm.
Franz N. Borghardt