Victim Rights

“To be informed, present, and heard…”

In 1992 Colorado enacted the Victim Rights Act to give victims of violent crime a more active role in the criminal justice process. You have rights as a victim of crime under the Constitution of the State of Colorado. The Crime Victim Rights Act is to ensure that victims of crime are honored and protected by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges in a manner no less vigorous than the protection afforded criminal defendants.

If you are a victim of a crime listed under the Victim’s Rights Act, you have the right to be informed by our office about your case, present at court hearings and heard by the Court at critical hearings throughout the process. Your Victim Witness Assistant is available to answer questions you may have about upcoming hearings and will help you prepare for critical stages where you might wish to speak directly to the Court.

While every effort is made to ensure victims’ rights, the court is responsible for ensuring these rights do not infringe on the constitutional rights of the accused.

CRIMES COVERED UNDER THE VICTIMS RIGHTS ACT:

The Constitution of the State of Colorado and the laws of the state (Section 24-4.1-302(1) C.R.S.) guarantee certain rights to victims of the following criminal acts:

  •  Murder
  •  Manslaughter
  •  Criminally negligent homicide and vehicular homicide
  •  Assault
  •  Menacing
  •  Kidnapping
  •  Sexual Assault
  •  Incest and aggravated incest
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Crimes involving child prostitution
  • Crimes against at-risk adults and at risk juveniles
  • Indecent exposure
  • Violation of a criminal protection order issued against a person charged with sexual assault
  • Violation of a criminal protection order issued against a person charged with stalking(effective 8/9/17)
  • Robbery – aggravated, aggravated of a controlled substance
  • Crimes for which the underlying foundation has been determined to be domestic violence
  • Careless driving that results in the death of another person
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident that results in the death of another person
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident that results in serious bodily injury (effective 8/9/17)
  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking
  • First degree burglary
  • Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification
  • A bias motivated crime
  • Retaliation against a victim or witness
  • Tampering with a victim or witness
  • Intimidation and aggravated intimidation of a victim or witness
  • Retaliation against a judge, prosecutor, or juror
  • Posting a private image for harassment or pecuniary gain (effective 8/9/17)
  • Any criminal attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation, or accessory involving any of the crimes specified above

If a victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights may be exercised by the victim’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, significant other, or other lawful representative.

DA RESPONSIBILITY TO VICTIMS OF CRIME

  • To be treated with fairness, respect and dignity and to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process
  • To be informed of the steps to be taken if you are intimidated or harassed, including information about protective services
  • To be informed of the existence of the criminal protection order and process to modify or add to the order
  • To be informed of the process to request that your residential address is protected (the court makes the decision) and to prevent any party at an court proceeding from compelling testimony regarding your address, phone number, place of employment or other locating information
  • To be informed if your records have been subpoenaed
  • To have your SSN number excluded from the police reports when released to someone other than the victim, criminal justice agency, or defense attorney of record
  • To be informed of and present for the critical stages of the criminal justice process, and to give input about: continuances, bond reduction or modification, acceptance of a plea negotiation, sentencing or resentencing, when records are subpoenaed, and expungement of a juvenile record
  • To minimize contact between you and defendant, before, during and immediately after a court hearing
  • To consult with the Deputy District Attorney concerning the reduction of charges, negotiated pleas, dismissals, or other dispositions or before the case goes to trial
  • To be informed of the status of the case, any scheduling changes or cancellations (if known in advance) and the final disposition of the case
  • For the court to make reasonable efforts to accommodate victims who wish to be present for the verdict
  • To prepare a Victim Impact Statement and to be present and heard at sentencing
  • To be informed of the function of a presentence report and the name and telephone number of the probation officer preparing the report, as well as the defendant’s right to view the presentence report and the victim impact statement
  • To be heard by phone when unavailable to appear in court
  • To be informed of a pending motion which may substantially delay the prosecution and give your position to the delay to the prosecutor who will relay your input to the court
  • To be notified if a defendant is referred to Community Corrections as a sentencing option and to provide a written or oral statement to the Community Corrections Board
  • To be informed of how to continue to receive notification regarding the offender once he/she is sentenced
  • To be informed of the availability of restorative justice practices
  • To be informed of the results of the defendant’s HIV testing when ordered by the court in applicable cases
  • To have the court determine restitution and the right to pursue a civil judgment against anyone who has committed a crime against you
  • To receive your property back when it is no longer needed for evidence
  • To be informed of the availability of financial assistance and community services or resources
  • To be provided appropriate employer intercession regarding court appearances and meetings with criminal justice officials
  • To be assured that in any criminal proceeding, the court, the prosecutor, and the other law enforcement officials will take appropriate action to achieve a swift and fair resolution of the proceedings
  • Shall inform the victim, if practicable, of any pending motion or decision by the District Attorney’s Office to sequester the victim from a critical stage in the case. (effective 8/9/17)
  • To be informed of a request for progression from the state mental health hospital for an offender in its custody. (effective 8/9/17)

CRITICAL STAGES: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED, PRESENT AND HEARD

The following stages are the responsibility of the District Attorney’s Office in the criminal justice process and have been designated CRITICAL STAGES in the Crime Victim Rights Act.  Some of these events may not happen in your case.   A victim has the right to be informed of and present for these critical stages and also has the right to be heard at the critical stages that are BOLDED.

  • Decision to file or not file charges
  • Decision to enter into a Diversion Agreement
  • Preliminary Hearing
  • Bond Reduction or Modification of Bond
  • Arraignment
  • Motions Hearing
  • Modification of Protection Order
  • Disposition of the case/Acceptance of Plea Negotiation
  • Trial
  • Sentencing or Resentencing
  • Appellate Review or Decision
  • Attack on judgment or conviction
  • ** Subpoenas  for victims records (medical, mental health, education or victim compensation)
  • Post-conviction DNA testing
  • Hearing concerning a petition to expunge a juvenile delinquent record
  • Hearing concerning petition to seal criminal records
  • Petition to terminate Sex Offender Registration

** Subpoena:  A written court order to a person to attend court to be a witness or to bring specified items or documents to court.

A victim may be present unless the court or district attorney determines that exclusion of the victim is necessary to protect the defendant’s right to a fair trial or the confidentiality of a juvenile proceeding.

If the victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights are guaranteed to the victim’s spouse, parent, legal guardian child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, significant other, or lawful representative.

You can read more about the Victim Rights Act in Colorado through the Office for Victims Programs website: Colorado Crime Victim Rights Brochure (PDF – additional versions of the brochure are below):
You can also read the criminal statute below:

ENFORCING YOUR RIGHTS

If you feel you have not received the rights afforded you by law, please contact your victim witness specialist for help in resolving this problem.

If you need additional assistance, or wish to file a complaint, contact the Governor’s Victims’ Coordinating Committee at the Division of Criminal Justice, Office for Victims’ Programs at 303-239-4442.

POST SENTENCING NOTIFICATION AND INFORMATION

Under the Victims’ Rights Act, victims of certain crimes have the option to request on going notification about the defendant’s status from the agency where the defendant was sentenced. Below are links to information about the reasons you may want to opt in for notification and more specific information about what type of information each post-sentencing agency can provide to a victim that has requested on-going notification. If you have any specific questions about enrolling for post-sentencing notification you may also contact the Victim/Witness Unit at the DA’s Office.

Arapahoe County 720-874-8618

Douglas County 720-733-4531

Elbert County 303-621-2875

Lincoln County 719-743-2223

WHY SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR POST SENTENCING NOTIFICATION?
POST SENTENCING AGENCY INFORMATION:

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