The following information contains only partial information
contained in the Victims' Rights, Your Guide to the Criminal Justice System, Maricopa
County Attorney's Office. To receive a complete brochure, contact the Justice Court Bureau
In Arizona, victims of adult crime have been given many rights from
the State Constitution, Arizona law and Court Rule. To exercise many of your rights, you
must make a request to the governmental agency responsible for performing the duty. Each
agency may have different procedures for invoking your rights, including requiring that
you fill out the agency's specific request form.
As soon after the detection of a crime, the law enforcement agency
investigating the crime has the duty to provide you with a "Pre-Conviction Request
Form" (if it does not interfere with their investigation or arrest of the suspect).
This form allows you to request (invoke) or not request (waive) your applicable rights to
which you are entitled.
Who is the Victim?
By law, a victim is the 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.
By law, a person has rights as a victim after the arrest or formal
charging of the person(s) responsible for a criminal offense. If the final termination of
a criminal prosecution is by dismissal with prejudice or acquittal, the victim no longer
is entitled to such rights. If the defendant received a sentence of probation or prison,
the victim has rights until the defendant has completed his/her sentence.
It is important that you keep the County Attorney's Office informed
of your current name, address and telephone number. If the County Attorney's Office is
informed by the Postal Service that notifications mailed to the address that you have
provided are not deliverable, they will consider this a withdrawal of your request. The
County Attorney's Office will make an effort to notify you of hearings set on short notice
only if you provide a telephone number(s) where you can be reached (or a message left)
during business hours.
You may request or restore your rights at any time during the course
of prosecution by calling the County Attorney's Office Victim Witness Division. If the
defendant has been sentenced, then you must complete the "Post-Conviction Request
Form" and mail it to the appropriate agencies.
Victims' Rights During Investigation
The law enforcement agency investigating the crime has the duty to
provide you with information about your rights and how to request them, emergency service
available to you, and information about the arrest and initial appearance of the offender.
In addition, the law enforcement agency has the duty to:
Tell you whether the suspect is an adult or juvenile
Tell you of the suspect's arrest, at the earliest opportunity
Tell you about how to get information about court dates if the
offender is issued a citation
Tell you about domestic violence services; and
Provide you with information about public and private victim
assistance programs, including the county victim compensation program and programs that
provide counseling and other support services
If the County Attorney's Office has made the decision not to
prosecute a case, the office will notify the listed victim(s) of the decision and the
victim's right to confer with the prosecutor prior to the decision becoming final. If you
receive this letter, and you want to exercise your right to confer, you must contact the
telephone number listed within 10 days of the date on the letter. If you do not do this,
the decision becomes final unless additional significant information comes to the
attention of the police.
You have the right to request the County Sheriff notify you of the
escape or the release of the offender from custody on a bond. You also have the right to
request a copy of the terms and conditions of the offender's release from custody from the
Sheriff's Office (if the offender was arrested) or the prosecutor's office when the
prosecutor's office receives the information from the court (if the offender was ordered
to appear in court on a summons). The prosecutor's office will provide you with
information about the defendant's initial appearance in court, if the defendant was
summoned to appear in court, when the prosecutor's office receives the information from
Victims' Rights Before Trial
If you have invoked your victims' rights, the County Attorney's
Office has the duty to inform you of the charges filed against the defendant.
The County Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting felony
offenses that occur with the county and misdemeanor offenses that occur with the county
but outside the city limits. If you are the victim of a misdemeanor offense in which
the offender receives a citation to appear in a Justice Court, you should contact that
court to request information about court dates.
After charges have been filed, the County Attorney's Office or the
Deputy County Attorney will:
Withhold your home address and telephone number; and name, address
and telephone number of your place of employment from disclosure to the defendant and/or
Tell you the name of the person with the County Attorney's Office to
contact for more information;
Provide you with written notice, upon your request, of the date,
time and place of court hearings that the court schedules at least 5 days in advance;
Attempt to provide you with verbal notice by telephone during
business hours, upon your request, of the date, time and place of court hearing that the
court schedules in less than 5 days;
Confer with you, upon request, prior to a hearing to release the
defendant from custody, provided that the court has given this office adequate notice of
Confer with you, upon your request, prior to entering into a plea
Confer with you, upon your request, prior to trial.
Your right to confer with the prosecutor is an opportunity for you
to get answers to your questions, to better understand the court system and the reason
behind some legal decisions, and to express your opinion to the prosecutor. Your right to
confer does not include the right to direct the prosecution of the case.
It is common for court dates to be continued. If you have an opinion
about the continuance of a scheduled court date, you should inform the Deputy County
Attorney or Victim Witness Advocate by calling to let him or her know your opinion about a
continuance. The Deputy County Attorney will inform the court if you do not want the court
date to be continued. If the court decides to continue the case anyway, the court may
state on the record the reasons for the continuance. If you choose not to attend a court
hearing and wish to know if a hearing has been continued, you should call the court to
inquire. This office will not provide separate notice of court continuances that are set
for less than 5 days.
Victims' Right Regarding Pre-Trial Interviews
In Arizona, the attorney for the defendant has the right to
interview all of the witnesses who will be testifying for the prosecution (the State).
However, as a victim you have the right to refuse to submit to a pre-trial interview,
deposition or other discovery request by the defendant's attorney or investigator. By law,
if the defense attorney wants to interview you, he/she must make his/her request for an
interview through the prosecutor after charges have been filed. This office will then ask
you if you will agree to an interview with the defendant's attorney before trial. It is
your decision if you will grant an interview.
If you grant an interview, you have the right to:
Refuse to be interviewed or to submit to a deposition conducted by a
defendant who is acting as his/her own attorney;
Refuse to submit to an interview or deposition if the defendant is
Terminate the interview at any time.
You have the right to place conditions on the interview or
deposition. You have the right:
To specify a reasonable date, time, duration and location of the
interview or deposition;
To be accompanied to an interview or deposition by a relative, or
supportive person if that person is not a witness.
Victims' Rights During Court Proceedings
During the court proceedings you have the right:
To be present in the courtroom whenever the defendant has the right
to be there, including trial;
To be accompanied to any judicial proceeding by a relative or other
supportive person unless that person is also a witness;
To make a statement to the court at a proceeding in which the court
considers the post-arrest release of the defendant, a change of plea, and at the
To have the court provide appropriate safeguards to minimize any
contact that might occur between yourself and the defendant or the defendant's family or
Not to testify regarding your address, telephone numbers, place of
employment or other locating information unless you consent or the court orders disclosure
on finding that a compelling need for the information exists;
To ask the prosecutor to have the court reconsider the defendant's
release from pre-trail custody. If the prosecutor decides not to do this, the prosecutor
will inform you of that decision and of your rights to petition to the court to have the
defendant's release revoked based upon your notarized statement that harassment, threats,
physical violence or intimidation against you or your immediate family has occurred by the
defendant or on behalf of the defendant;
To have the court, prosecutor and law enforcement officials take
appropriate action to ensure a speedy trial.
You may exercise your right to be heard in the form of an oral
statement or it may be written, audio taped or video taped.
You have the right to be present at all criminal proceedings in
which the defendant has a right to be present. However, you do not need to attend court
proceedings unless you receive a subpoena, are court ordered, or have been asked to attend
by the Deputy Attorney. If you choose to attend the proceedings, check in with the Judge's
secretary and/or the Deputy County Attorney so that the court and the prosecutor know that
you are present.
The prosecutor may assist you in exercising your rights at any
judicial proceeding, upon your request. However, if there is a conflict between you and
the County Attorney's Office, you may hire your own attorney to assist you in exercising
your rights as a victim. The prosecutor can provide you with referrals to legal assistance
Victims' Rights During Sentencing
After the defendant has entered a guilty or no contest pleas or has
been found guilty at trial of a felony offense, a pre-sentence investigation is conducted.
You have the right to provide the Pre-Sentence Investigator with information regarding the
emotional, physical and financial impact the crime has had on you and to state your
sentencing recommendations. You also have the right:
To read the pre-sentence report when it is available to the
defendant and, upon request, to have the County Attorney's Office provide you with a copy
of the pre-sentence report, (this does not include the defendant's criminal history);
To present evidence, information and opinions that concerns the
crime, the defendant, and the sentence to the Judge at the time of sentencing; and to have
the court order the defendant to pay restitution for your economic losses directly related
to the crime.
Victims' Rights After Sentencing
After the defendant has been sentenced, and if you have requested
notification, the County Attorney's Office will notify you of the sentence imposed by the
court and will send you a "Post-Conviction Request Form" that you must complete
if you want to request your rights to post-conviction notification. It will be your
responsibility to complete the form and to mail it to all of the governmental agencies
that you want to inform you of hearings and events after the defendant has been sentenced.
Upon request, you have the following rights:
To be notified by the Board of Executive Clemency of a Parole
Hearing and to state your opinion regarding the parole of the inmate from prison, if the
defendant was sentenced to prison;
To be notified by the Department of Corrections of the release or
death of the inmate (if the defendant was sentenced to serve time in prison) or by the
County Sheriff's Office (if the defendant was sentenced to serve time in jail);
To be notified by Mental Health Treatment agency of the escape,
release, or discharge of a person accused or convicted of committing the criminal offense;
To be notified of any appeal of the defendant's conviction by the
Attorney General's Office if the appeal was to a higher court and from the County
Attorney's Office if the appeal was to the trial court (called Post-Conviction Relief);
To be notified by the County Adult Probation Department of a
revocation disposition, termination, or modification of probation if the modification will
significantly affect the probationer's contact with or the safety of the victim or if the
modification affects restitution or custody status (jail);
To be present and make a statement at the probation revocation
disposition, or any proceeding in which the court is requested to terminate probation, or
modify any terms of probation that significantly affect the probationer's contact with or
the safety of the victim or restitution or jail status; and
To receive prompt restitution.
The Department of Corrections will notify all victims of an inmate
escape, even if the victim(s) did not submit a request for notice.