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Victim's Rights Throughout the Court Process

You have the right to be treated with courtesy and sensitivity by the court system and the people in the prosecutor's office.

If the police are holding any of your property as evidence, they have to take reasonable care of it and return it to you when it is no longer needed, as long as it was legal for you to have it in the first place.

You might not have to give your home or work address to the defense, if it would-not be safe for you for the defendant to know. A judge may have to decide about this.

You have the right to be told about court proceedings regarding your case: where and when they are scheduled, if the schedule changes, and the result of the proceedings.

If you have your own lawyer, he or she may be present when you talk to the defense attorney or the prosecutor, and may be there at your deposition.

A deposition is testimony from a witness, taken under oath. "Under oath" means the witness swears to tell the truth. At a deposition, the lawyers for each side meet with the witness and ask questions. You can have an advocate with you, or a support person who is an adult and not a witness in the case.

The defendant will not be there unless there are special circumstances. You will be notified ahead of time if special circumstances exist in your case.

You are entitled to a witness fee when you testify. A deposition should be scheduled at your convenience and not too far from where you live.

You do not have to answer questions about the case outside of a courtroom or a deposition.

You may be present at most court hearings. (Some hearings might be restricted according to rules about what witnesses are allowed to her before they testify.)

Your boss can't fire or punish you if you miss work because you had to testify in court or at a deposition.

You have the right to be told of any delays because of motions. A motion is a proceeding in court where lawyers ask the judge to rule on certain issues before a trial. You can let the court know how you feel about the motions. If you object to a delay, you can let the court know how you feel, and the judge will consider your views.

If the lawyers are talking about a possible plea agreement, they should make every effort to let you know what they are considering. It is the attorneys' job to decide on a plea offer, but they should pay attention to what you think about it.

You have a right to get copies of public court documents relating to the case.