Impact statements

Impact statements explain how crime affects victims and community members. Under Minnesota law, anyone who has been affected by a crime, whether as a direct victim or as a community member, has a right to provide information and input to the court. Impact statements often provide information that is not included in official reports.

The statements are submitted to the court and may be delivered orally or in writing.

Impact statements are taken into account by the judge and may affect bail, conditions for release, probation or sentencing.

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Victims of crime have the right to address the court through a victim impact statement at the sentencing or juvenile dispositional hearing.

The victim impact statement gives the victim an opportunity to tell the judge about the impact of the crime, how the crime affected them, and their reaction to a proposed sentence, and to provide input on what conditions they feel would be appropriate for the defendant’s sentence.

The advocate assigned to work with the victim throughout their case can assist in preparing this statement.

Victim impact statements can be presented either orally or in writing, depending on the victim’s preference. A victim does not have to attend the hearing to have their impact statement presented to the court. If the victim does not wish to stand up and give their statement the victim advocate or prosecutor can read it for them.

Many crimes undermine the safety and well-being of entire neighborhoods. People who live and work in areas where crimes have occurred may submit community impact statements. If you feel unsafe, anxious, or afraid due to a crime in your neighborhood, you are entitled to share that information with the court.

Community impact statements put crime in context, informing the court of the negative social or economic impacts of specific criminal activities. The statements are submitted in response to particular offense or offender and should include:

  • The full name of the offender
  • Summary of the alleged criminal activity
  • How these events have impacted your life, family, neighborhood, etc. Specific examples are particularly useful and paint a picture of the negative effects, such as:
    • Changes in your daily routine
    • Additional security measures
    • Concerns about leaving your house
  • Thoughts or suggestions about appropriate outcomes

How to submit a community impact statement

  • Contact your police department's Crime Prevention Specialist
  • Use the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office online forms or contact the Victim Services Division.
  • Participate in a block club, Court Watch, or other community-led public safety group.

Community members may choose to appear in court to deliver their statements, or they may provide them to the prosecutor who will then present the statement to the judge and defense counsel.

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