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Victims Rights

Victims Rights

In 1990, Arizona voters passed Proposition 104, a ballot initiative that amended the State Constitution, providing for a Victims’ Bill of Rights. In 1991, the Arizona Legislature passed statutes to define and implement the rights accorded to victims of crime under Article II, Section 2.1 of the Arizona Constitution. These rights impact the victim at every stage of the criminal justice process...from the initial report to the parole process.

Special thanks to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services and MADD Arizona State Organization for contributing to this section of our website

Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights


A. To preserve and protect victims' rights to justice and due process, a victim of crime has a right:

1. To be treated with fairness, respect and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process.
2. To be informed, upon request, when the accused or convicted person is released from custody or has escaped.
3. To be present at and, upon request, to be informed of all criminal proceedings when the defendant has the right to be present.
4. To be heard at any proceeding involving a post-arrest release decision, a negotiated plea and sentencing.
5. To refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request by the defendant, the defendant's attorney, or other person acting on behalf of the defendant.
6. To confer with the prosecution, after the crime against the victim has been charged, before trial or before any disposition of the case and to be informed of the disposition.
7. To read pre sentence reports relating to the crime against the victim when they are available to the defendant.
8. To receive prompt restitution from the person or persons convicted of the criminal conduct that caused the victim's loss or injury.
9. To be heard at any proceeding when any post-conviction release from confinement is being considered.
10. To a speedy trial or disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction and sentence.
11. To have all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims' rights and to have these rules be subject to amendment or repeal by the legislature to ensure the protection of these rights.
12. To be informed of victims' constitutional rights.

B. A victim's exercise of any right granted by this section shall not be grounds for dismissing any criminal proceeding or setting aside any conviction or sentence.

C. “Victim" means a person against whom the criminal offense has been committed or if the person is killed or incapacitated, the person's spouse, parent, child or other lawful representative, except if the person is in custody for an offense or is the accused.

D. The legislature, or the people by initiative or referendum, have the authority to enact substantive and procedural laws to define, implement, preserve and protect the rights guaranteed to victims by this section, including the authority to extend any of these rights to juvenile proceedings.

E. The enumeration in the constitution of certain rights for victims shall not be construed to deny or disparage others granted by the legislature or retained by victims. [constit]11/93

The supporting laws for victims of crime can be found at the Arizona Legislative Information Service (ALIS) Web site under Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13, §4401 et seq. Victims of crimes by juveniles can find the supporting laws at the same website under Title 8, §381 et seq.

Victim Impact Statement

The victim impact statement may be either written or oral. It allows the victim to provide information for the judge’s consideration at sentencing. It allows the victim to show the pain, anguish, and financial devastation the crime may have caused. The judge really does not know how truly affected the victim is unless the victim speaks up.

When you give your victim impact statement, you may choose to be very brief - or you may decide to talk at length. You may have other family members join you in giving a statement.

The victim impact statement is the ONLY TIME that you will have to address the one person - the judge - who can decide the fate of the defendant.

The victim impact statement is YOUR TIME - USE IT!!

Some items to consider when deciding what to say (always go into detail)

  • Physical injuries suffered
  • Medical treatment required
  • Psychological injuries suffered
  • Psychological treatment required
  • Amount of time lost from work
  • Prognosis for further psychological treatment
  • Prognosis for further medical treatment including surgery, therapy, etc.
  • Lingering pain, anxiety, anguish, and nightmares
  • The affect on your lifestyle
  • The affect on your family’s lifestyle
  • In the event of a death, tell what it is like to get a phone call in the middle of the night, to rush to the hospital and not knowing if your loved one will still be alive when you reach them.
  • In the event of a death, describe what it is like to explain a death to younger siblings still alive, to the children left behind, or other family members.
  • In the event of the death of a child, explain what it is like to give birth to a child, raise and nurture them with love and care - and then to have them taken away before they have lived a full life.
  • In the event of the death of a spouse, tell what it is like to marry the person of your dreams, to plan, to love, to expect to celebrate your 50th anniversary with that person - and then to have them taken away.

    If You Feel Your Rights have been Violated

    As the victim of a crime, you have the right to seek an order or to bring a special action mandating that you be afforded any right not provided, or to challenge an order denying any right guaranteed to you under the Constitution, implementing statutes, or court rules. You have the right to recover damages from a governmental entity responsible for the intentional, knowing or grossly negligent violation of your rights. In asserting any right, you may choose to be represented by personal counsel at your expense. It is important to understand that a rights’ violation is different than disagreeing with a case outcome (disposition), or maybe, even how a case was handled. An attorney can advise you accordingly. If you disagree with a court’s order regarding restitution or a defendant’s release, you do have the right to appeal these decisions. The prosecutor can file such an appeal on your behalf, at your request.

    Crime Victim’s Leave Act

    During Arizona’s 2001 Legislative Session, laws were passed allowing victims of crime and juvenile offenses to exercise their right to be present at legal and court proceedings (ARS 13-4439).

    The law requires that employers who have fifty or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or proceeding calendar year shall allow an employee who is a victim of a crime to leave work to exercise the employees’ right to be present at proceedings.

    Absent an undue hardship to the business, these laws allow for employees who are victims to leave work and not fear the security of their employment, seniority, or precedence, due to proceedings they are legally entitled to attend.

    The employer is not required to compensate the employee to attend proceedings, and may require the employee to use accrued paid vacation, personal leave or sick leave. The employer is required to protect is the employees’ right to confidentiality.

    The law requires the employee to provide their employer a copy of the victims’ rights form provided by the law enforcement agency, and if applicable provide a copy of the notice of each scheduled proceedings provided to the victim by the notifying agency.


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