Texas Crime Victims' Rights
As defined in Article 56, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a victim of a violent crime is someone who:
(1) has suffered bodily injury or death as a result of criminally injurious conduct, or who has been the victim of a crime involving sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery;
(2) is the close relative (spouse, parent, brother, sister, or adult child) of a victim; or
(3) is the guardian of a victim.
As a victim of violent crime, you have the following rights:
1. The right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts;
2. 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;
3. The right, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings and to be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event;
4. The right to be informed, if 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 arraignments, restitution, and the appeals and parole process;
5. 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;
6. The right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 56, including information related to the costs that may be compensated under the Act and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation, and procedures for applications for compensation under the Act, the payment for medical examination under Article 56.06 for a victim of sexual assault, and when requested, to referral to available social service agencies that may offer additional assistance;
7. 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 a 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 the Act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant's release;
8. 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;
9. 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 if no longer required for that purpose;
10. 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;
11. The right to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, and testing for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probably causative agent of AIDS, if the offense is an offense under Section 21.11 (a)(1) [Indecency with a Child], 22.011 [Sexual Assault], or 22.021 [Aggravated Sexual Assault], Penal Code.
12. The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, subject to approval of the judge in the case;
13. The right to request victim-offender mediation coordinated by the victim services division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; and
14. The right to be informed of the uses of a victim impact statement and the statement's purpose in the criminal justice system, to complete the victim impact statement, and to have the victim impact statement considered:
a. by the attorney representing the state and the judge before sentencing or before a plea bargain agreement in accepted; and
b. by the Board of Pardons and Paroles before an inmate is released on parole
The office of the attorney representing the state and the sheriff, police, or other law enforcement agencies shall ensure to the extent practicable that a victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim is afforded the rights granted by Subsection (a) of this article, and on request, an explanation of those rights.
A judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this article. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this article may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as a ground for appeal, a ground to set aside the conviction or sentence, or a ground in a habeas corpus petition. A victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased victim does not have standing to participate as a party in a criminal proceeding or to contest the disposition of any charge.
Victim Assistance Program
The Victim Assistance Program was established to provide information to victims and their families regarding victims' rights, victim services, protective orders, and the Texas Crime Victims' Compensation Act.
Victims of crimes, as defined in State Law, may contact Sergeant Neil Adams at 936-653-4367 for more information.