What are my rights as a victim of crime?
Am I compensated for my efforts as a witness?
YES. You will receive a witness fee of twenty-five ($25) dollars for each day that you are required to appear at a preliminary hearing, grand jury or trial, whether or not you actually testify. You will also receive reimbursement for the mileage you traveled to court (in accordance with NRS 50.225). A voucher, redeemable for cash by the Clark County Treasurer, will be given to you at the time of your appearance.
What is restitution and how may I receive it?
Restitution is money required to be paid by court order from an offender to his or her victim. Payment is ordered by the judge at the time of sentencing. If you wish restitution, please forward the costs incurred by you as a result of the crime to the Victim/Witness Assistance Center so that these documents can be included in the information presented to the sentencing judge. Payment of restitution however, is not always a possibility which a judge may consider appropriate.
What compensation is available to victims of crimes?
You may be eligible for compensation of medical expenses, counseling costs, reimbursement of lost wages, and other incidental liabilities if you are: a victim physically injured, or the relative of person physically injured or killed; a minor who was involved in the production of pornography or sexual abuse; or the victim in a DUI offense. The maximum award is $15,000. Please note: it is up to the judge to order restitution; however, payment is dependent on compliance of that order. For further information and application forms contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Center.
Victims of violent crime, including DUI's or their survivors, may be eligible for state compensation to cover medical expenses, psychological counseling, loss of earnings, or funeral expenses which are incurred as a result of their victimization. If you are a resident of Nevada, the crime occurred within the last 12 months, and you feel that you qualify for such assistance, please contact the Clark County Victim/Witness Assistance Center or:
Victims of Violent Crime Program
555 East Washington Ave., Suite 3200
Las Vegas, NV 89101
When can I have my property returned?
Although each request is treated individually, property impounded as evidence is generally returned to its rightful owner at the time of final disposition of the criminal case. Property needed for visual identification only, often may be photographed and returned prior to final disposition.
Can I be present in the courtroom for imposition of sentence?
YES. NRS 176.015 provides for the victim to appear personally or by counsel and reasonably express any views concerning the crime, the person responsible, the impact of the crime on the victim and the need for restitution. If you wish to make a statement to the court you must contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Center.
Can I make my feelings known regarding parole or clemency of my assailant?
YES. If the defendant in your case is convicted and sent to prison, and you are the person or survivor of the person who was victimized by the defendant, you will be notified of any applications for parole or clemency and be allowed to respond to them. However, it is your responsibility to see that the State Board of Pardons Commissioners and the Nevada Parole Board have your current address on file so that you can be notified.
You may send your letters to:
The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners
1445 Hot Springs Road # 108B
Carson City, Nevada 89711
Telephone: (775) 687-5049
Fax: (775) 687-6736
What is a criminal complaint?
A criminal complaint is a statement of facts about an alleged crime which, when filed in court, formally charges a person. These facts are first submitted by local law enforcement agencies. If the evidence submitted is deemed sufficient, a criminal complaint is filed.
What is a warrant of arrest?
A warrant of arrest is an order signed by a judge authorizing the police to arrest a person believed to have committed a crime.
What happens to the accused?
The person accused is called the defendant. He will make his first appearance before a judge shortly after his arrest or after the criminal complaint is filed. This is called an arraignment. Your appearance at the arraignment is not required.
The next stage is the preliminary hearing. If the defendant is in custody, he may insist on a preliminary hearing within 15 days. The state presents some evidence at the preliminary hearing to establish probable cause for the charge against the defendant.
What if someone threatens me to drop the charges or to not testify?
Such a person is obstructing justice and committing a crime, whether the harassment occurs before the crime is reported, or during the prosecution of the case. Contact law enforcement immediately by dialing 911 or 311 for non-emergency assistance; in addition, the law enforcement officer in charge of the case should also be contacted. A judge may issue a warrant against the person threatening you. He may also revoke the defendant's bail.
What if the defense attorney contacts me about the case?
You may discuss the case with the defense attorney if you wish, but you should report the contact to the Deputy District Attorney in charge of the case.
What should I do when I receive my subpoena?
Witnesses are notified by subpoena when and where to appear. On the evening before the scheduled court appearance, you should call the telephone number printed on the subpoena. You will then hear a recording which includes the status of your case. This may save you an unnecessary trip to the courthouse. Please note: all out-of-state witnesses subpoenaed should call upon receipt of the subpoena to schedule travel arrangements (1-800-321-9631).
What is a preliminary hearing?
If you are subpoenaed to appear at a preliminary hearing, The Deputy District Attorney may want you to sit in the witness chair and answer questions about who you are and what you know about the case. Give your answers as truthfully as you can. The judge is there to assist you if you do not understand a question and to see that you are treated respectfully.
May I watch the preliminary hearing?
Individuals not under subpoena may watch the proceedings unless excluded from doing this by the court. In any event, witnesses should not discuss their testimony among themselves.
Victims of sexual assault are guaranteed the right to have an attendant of their choice in court to provide support at both the preliminary hearing and trial. However, this support person must not be a witness in the case.
How does a case get dismissed?
If the judge decides that probable cause has not been proven, the court will dismiss the case. This means that all legal action has come to an end, and the defendant is released. This can also happen if you or another witness fails to appear.
What happens in a trial?
In a trial, the prosecutor presents the case for the state, attempting to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did commit the crime as charged. The defendant may present his side through the use of an attorney. It is the defendant's choice whether a judge or a twelve (12) person jury will decide the verdict.
What do I do at the trial?
As a witness for the state, you have an important part in the trial. You may be questioned by the deputy prosecutor about who you are and what you know about the case. The defendant's attorney may cross-examine you. You may feel during the questioning that your personal motives are doubted, but the process of cross-examination is not meant as a personal attack against you. It is to ensure that all sides of the case are told, and to establish the truth. If you are concerned about what will happen, contact the Victim/Witness Assistance Center.