Victims' Rights

As a victim of crime, you have constitutionally protected rights. This website provides important information about your rights. 

 

Your rights are also detailed by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Crime Victim Services or by calling 800-582-2877. 

 

Some rights are automatic and some rights require your request. 

 

Victims of an Offense of Violencea Sexually Oriented Offense, or a Violation of a Protection Order


A criminal justice official will review the Victims’ Rights Request Form with you and ask you to complete it so that criminal justice officials know which rights you wish to exercise. You will be provided you a copy of the completed form. 

  • Please Note: If you do not complete the form or request your rights at first contact with law enforcement, you will automatically be opted in to all “upon request” rights until you are contacted by the prosecutor. Once contacted by a prosecutor, you will no longer be opted in and those rights are waived. At that time, you must request your rights in order to exercise them.  

 

Victims of All Other Crimes


You will be provided information on how to complete the Victims’ Rights Request Form electronically or provide a printed form, upon request. 




Automatic Rights


Below is a list of your automatic rights. You do NOT need to request these rights.  

    • The right to be informed of your rights. 
    • The right to be treated with fairness and respect for your safety, dignity and privacy.
    • The right to reasonable protection from the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused.
    • The right to information about the status of the case.
    • The right to refuse a defense interview, deposition, or other discovery request.
    • The right to object to defense requests for access to your confidential information, including medical, counseling, school or employment records, access to your personal devices or on-line accounts, or other personal information.
    • The right to be present at all public proceedings. 
    • The right to have a support person with you during proceedings.
    • The right to confer with the prosecutor at certain points in the case, including before pretrial diversion is granted, before the prosecutor amends or dismisses an indictment, information, or complaint, before the prosecutor agrees to a negotiated plea, and before a trial or adjudicatory hearing. 
    • The right to tell the court your opinion in public proceedings involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, and any other hearing that involves victims’ rights. 
    • The right to object to unreasonable delays.
    • The right to full and timely restitution from the offender.


Requesting and Enforcing Your Rights

  • Bew is a list of rights that must be requested if you wish to exercise them. You can choose to exercise all, some, or none of your rights. Please fill out a Victims’ Rights Request Form to exercise your rights. 
      • You can change your mind at any time about which rights you choose to exercise. However, if you choose not to exercise some rights and then request them later, you may give up some rights that only apply during certain stages of the case. 
      • If you change your mind, you must call, email, or complete a new form and return it to the investigating officer, prosecutor, court, prison, jail, or community based correctional facility to ensure officials have updated information on the rights you wish to exercise and updated contact information. 
  • If any of your rights are denied, you may ask the advocate or prosecutor to help, seek enforcement on your own, hire an attorney, or request free legal assistance from Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center or call 614-848-8500.
  • An online resource to help you understand and exercise all of your rights is the Victims’ Rights Toolkit.

Rights that you must request:

  1. Your name, address, and identifying information can be redacted (removed) from law enforcement records, prosecutor records, or court records;
  2. Notice of the arrest, escape, or release of the defendant;
  3. Reasonable and timely notice of all public proceedings;
  4. To confer with the prosecutor in the case in addition to the times not automatically granted;
  5. To be notified of subpoenas, motions, or other requests to access any of your personal information;
  6. To appoint a victim’s representative; and 
  7. Interpretation services during contacts with criminal justice system officials.

 

Privacy and Safety

    • If the defendant, defendant’s attorney, or anyone else acting on behalf of the defendant contacts you to talk with you, request an interview, or attempt to obtain any information or materials from you, you have the right to refuse. Immediately contact the prosecutor to let them know you have been contacted. 
    • You may be eligible for a protection order. The investigating officer will provide available resources to assist with obtaining a protection order. 
    • You may use the Victims’ Rights Request Form request redaction (removal) of your name, address, and identifying information from public records related to this case. This request does not apply to crash reports submitted to the Department of Public Safety. You must send a separate request with the Department of Public Safety to request redaction of crash reports or call 844-644-6268.
    • You may be able to keep your address private by obtaining a Safe at Home address. Learn more through the Ohio Secretary of State’s Safe at Home Program or call 614-995-2255.
    • You can receive texts, calls, or emails to receive notice of a defendant’s release or escape from jail or prison. Register through VINE

Arraignment/ Initial Appearance 

    • Arraignment or an initial appearance is a hearing that can happen within a couple days after the defendant is charged with a crime. 
    • If you request notification, law enforcement will notify you of the arrest of the defendant and can provide you a phone number for the clerk of the court to get information on the date, time, and location of the arraignment proceeding. 
    • During arraignment or initial appearance, the judge decides whether to release the defendant on bond, bond conditions, and whether to issue a protection order. 
    • You have the right to attend the arraignment or initial appearance and tell the judge about any safety concerns and your opinion regarding release, bond conditions, and whether or not you would like a protection order. 
    • Online case information is available for:
      1. Bryan Municipal Court or call: 419-363-6939
      2. Williams County Common Pleas or call: 419-636-2644

Restitution and Compensation

    • Restitution: Upon conviction, the court must order the offender to pay you for certain financial losses relating to your victimization. 
      1. It is important to keep a record and documentation of all expenses incurred as a result of the crime so that the court can use this information to determine what costs are properly included in an order of restitution. A Crime Victim Restitution Amount Summary Form is available to assist you in calculating restitution.  
    • Crime Victim Compensation Fund: You may be eligible to apply for reimbursement for certain financial losses relating to your victimization, even if the suspect has not been arrested or convicted. You may apply through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or call 800-582-2877.

 Victim Representative


You may choose to exercise your rights and/or choose a representative to exercise your rights. A representative can be anyone other than the defendant. You can choose, change, or remove a representative at any time.



Click here for victims' rights request (VRR) form