Victim Rights, Shelter, Advocacy, Resources

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There are two categories of victims that sometimes overlap: those that are victims of a charge involving a physical injury/threat of injury/sexual offense, and those that are victims under the domestic violence statutes (DV).

Under the general victim rights statutes (ARS 13-4401 et seq.), you have a right to be notified and participate in criminal proceedings (those held before the Court), provide an impact statement [PDF] (comments on disposition, including recommended counseling or restitution), and confer with the prosecutor. These rights, however, do not mean that the victim can dictate the disposition of the case, whether charges should be dropped or filed, or terms of any plea agreement.

Studies indicate that violence is often an escalating cycle of abuse. Therefore, the City Attorney's Office will decline requests for immediate dismissal of charges after an arrest has been made in order to assure that a victim is not subject to future threats or abuse. The City Attorney's Office must also be assured that steps have been taken to insure the cycle of domestic violence has been broken, which may include a requirement of counseling and a time period of law-abiding adherence.

Domestic violence victims (who may also be general victims of a physical injury) have different rights listed under ARS 13-3601, including being informed in writing by the arresting officer of the right to obtain protective orders and emergency phone numbers for local emergency services, such as shelters. Domestic violence situations are far broader too, including many types of family offenses.

Victims of misdemeanor crimes that occur within the Sedona City limits are provided with victims’ rights [PDF] information from the City Attorney’s Office, initially via mail. The information is sent to the victim at the address listed in the police report. If you believe you are a victim of a misdemeanor crime being prosecuted by the City Attorney’s Office, and your address as listed in the police report is incorrect, or you have moved or someone at the address might intercept your mail, please contact the City Attorney’s Office to let us know.

Information and support may also be obtained from Victim/Witness Services for Yavapai County or Coconino County. Victim/Witness Services advocates are available to explain the judicial system, act as a link between the prosecutor and the victim, give case status information, make referrals for social services, provide transportation to Court, escort victims while they testify or appear at hearings, and assist in obtaining orders of protection or injunctions against harassment.

The Verde Valley Sanctuary [PDF] provides shelter, legal advocacy, transitional housing, support groups, and counseling, among other services. 

For victim services provided by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, including a Crime Victim Compensation Program to assist innocent crime victims in Arizona with out-of-pocket expenses for crime-related medical treatment, mental health counseling, funerals, and wage loss, visit the ACJC website.

More information on victims rights is found on the Attorney General's victim rights page.

Restitution

ARS 13-603.C requires that the Court order restitution by the defendant to the victim "in the full amount of the economic loss." This is defined to include lost interest, lost earnings, and losses due to the commission of the offense, such as damages to a vehicle, household furnishings, or other private property. It does not, however, include damages for pain & suffering, punitive damages, or consequential damages (ARS 13-105.14). And it must be a loss incurred by a victim, not a third party. For instance, if a defendant is charged with assault and injures the victim, plus damages the hotel room, restitution is available to the victim, but not the hotel, unless there had been an additional charge of criminal damage.

If the Court determines that it does not have enough information to determine the amount of any restitution, it can order a hearing under ARS 13-804.G and call the defendant to testify. The victim should be present as well, with documentation of a loss, but the victim is not represented by the State. These hearings are most often used when there have been personal injuries, and at the initial disposition of the offense there is insufficient evidence of any long-term medical payment or loss of wages.

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