The defendant is harassing me. Who do I call?
Tampering with a witness is a crime in Minnesota. Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and to your victim advocate.
Contact the Domestic Abuse Service Center for information on how to obtain an Order for Protection or a Harassment Restraining Order. Call 612-348-5073.
Will there be a plea agreement?
The plea agreement is used frequently in the criminal justice system. However, each case is different. Talk with your advocate about the case. You will be asked for your input on the contents of any agreement.
What should I do if I receive a subpoena to testify?
A subpoena is a court order to appear in court.
Sign the acknowledgement at the bottom and return it promptly in the enclosed envelope. Call the contact person listed on the subpoena for additional information and instructions.
You cannot ignore a subpoena.
If you receive a subpoena, it will give you the name of whom you should call to get additional information about the hearing and when you will be needed. If you need an interpreter, one will be available.
Who should I talk to about the case?
You may be contacted by various individuals or organizations regarding the crime. You may choose to speak with them if you wish, but you do not have to. This is your choice.
Make sure you identify the person; if needed, ask who they represent. Knowing their interest in the case will help you make an informed decision.
If you choose to discuss the case with anyone other than the police, prosecutor or your victim advocate, it is often helpful to have a friend or family member present.
Does the defendant know who I am or where I live?
Depending on the situation, the defendant may already have this information.
You have the right to request to law enforcement that your identity be withheld when you file the police report or appear on copies of police reports given to the defense attorney.
During the prosecution process, your advocate can request that your address not be given in open court.
Can I drop the charges?
The prosecutor has the responsibility to initially charge the case and makes decisions about the prosecution, including whether or not to drop the charges. Your feelings are important to the office and will be taken into account. However, the prosecutor will make the final decision.
Do these rights still apply when the offender is a juvenile?
How will I know when the offender gets out of prison or jail?
To be informed about an offender's release from prison or jail, you must make a special request to be notified.
Contact VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) about signing up for automatic notification. The VINE system includes the Department of Corrections facilities and most county facilities.
VINE can also provide other custody information.
Minnesota Haven (formerly Choice) is an online information system for offenders who are sentenced to prison or on parole and under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections.
You can search for offender information or request to be notified of an offender's custody status, including release, transfer, escape, apprehension or death.
Minnesota Haven: https://mn.gov/doc/victims/notification-of-custody-status-and-release/
I was injured. Who will pay for medical bills or therapy?
The Crime Victims Reparations Board may provide money to cover out-of-pocket expenses as a result of a violent crime.
More information is available under Financial assistance.
The defendant may also be ordered by the judge at sentencing to pay restitution to the victim for their out-of-pocket losses suffered as a direct result of the crime.
Can the defendant be made to pay for damages he or she has caused? What if the defendant has no money?
Often the court will order restitution, which is reimbursement from the offender to the victim for damages directly resulting from the crime. Restitution forms are sent to victims with information about their case.
Detailed information about the restitution process.
When will I get my property back?
Property that is not evidence may be returned. Your advocate can assist you.
Property that is evidence is kept until the criminal justice process for your case is complete. Typically this is until the defendant's sentence is complete or when any appeals or post-conviction issues are resolved. In some circumstances, such as a homicide, evidence is retained forever.
If you have questions or concerns, talk to your advocate.