top of page

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

VICTIMS OF CRIME

Crime Victims Rights Law - Arkansas law (Act 873 and Arkansas Victim Rights Law/Act 1262)

The Arkansas Crime Victim Rights Law became effective on January 1, 1998. This law mandates certain basic rights for people victimized by crime. The law does not apply to all crimes, but only certain crimes and certain victims, including:

  • a victim who is a minor

  • a victim of a sex offense

  • a victim of any felony resulting in physical injury to the victim

  • a victim of any felony involving the use of a deadly weapon

  • a victim of terroristic threatening in the first degree

  • a victim of stalking

 

If the victim is a minor, incapacitated, or deceased, a member of the victim’s family may exercise the rights of the victim.

Victim Information – The Crime Victim Rights Law protects information about victims. A court cannot compel a victim to give his or her address or place of employment in open court, except when the court decides it is essential to the case. Law enforcement agencies cannot disclose information to the public about the identity of the victim of a sex crime except under limited circumstances. The address and telephone number of the victim is also protected from release under the Freedom of Information Act.

When property of the victim is seized and used as evidence, the agency holding the property must take reasonable care of the property and promptly return it to the victim when it is no longer needed as evidence.

Employers cannot discharge or discipline a victim of crime for assisting the prosecutor in preparing the case or for attending court if it reasonably necessary to protect the victim’s interest.

Information from Law Enforcement – Law enforcement agencies responding to crime incidents are required to inform victims in writing of their rights under this law. Officers must inform victims of the availability of services such as medical, housing, counseling, financial, social, legal, and emergency services. In addition, officers must inform victims about how to obtain orders of protection, how to access public records related to the case, and about the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board (including the address and phone number).  As soon as it becomes practical, law enforcement officials must also inform the victim of the suspect’s identity and custody status (in custody, escaped, transferred, released and the conditions of release, etc.), unless this information compromises the investigation. Victims also have the right to know the case file number, the investigating officer’s name, office address, and telephone number, and the prosecuting attorney’s name, office address, and telephone number.

Pre-sentence Report – A pre-sentence report is a detailed account of a convicted defendant’s educational, criminal, family, and social background conducted as an aid to the court in determining the sentence. The person preparing the pre-sentence report for the court shall make a reasonable effort to confer with the victim.

Presence in Court – Victims of crime have the right to be present in court whenever the defendant appears, other than at a grand jury proceeding. If the victim requests, the court shall also allow the presence of a person to provide support for the victim in the courtroom. However, if the court decides that the victim’s presence or the presence of the support person may jeopardize the defendant’s right to a fair trial, the court can exclude either or both of them.

Information from Prosecuting Attorney – If requested by a victim, prosecuting attorneys are responsible for notifying crime victims of critical events occurring in their cases. This notification can be given orally, in writing, or automatically through the Arkansas VINE system. Victims are responsible for giving the prosecutor’s office their address and phone number, and for updating this information if it changes.

Upon request of a victim or the victim’s family, prosecutors are to notify victims of the following:

  • Information on relevant criminal justice procedures

  • Information about the crime with which the defendant has been charged.

  • The file number of the case, the prosecuting attorney’s name, and office address and phone number

  • Motions or hearings to establish or reduce bail or authorize pre-trial release from custody.

  • Proceedings on plea agreements

  • Date, time, and place of defendant’s trial

  • Motions that may substantially delay prosecution.

  • Cancellation of court proceedings

  • Pre-sentence report function and the defendant’s access to the report

  • Victim impact statement information

  • Information on all sentencing proceedings

  • Notice of sentence imposed or modifications to that sentence.

  • Reconsideration hearings of an imposed sentence

  • Date, time, and place of the defendant’s appearance before a judicial officer

  • Information from custody institutions

 

Prosecuting attorneys should confer with the victim of the crime before amending or dismissing a charge or agreeing to a negotiated plea. However, failure of the prosecuting attorney to confer with the victim does not affect the validity of an agreement.

Prosecuting Attorneys or Victim Assistance Coordinators should provide the following services to victims:

  • Assistance in obtaining protection from harm and threats of harm arising out of their cooperation with law enforcement and prosecution efforts.

  • Assistance in applying for financial aid and other social services.

  • Assistance in applying for witness fees.

  • When possible, a secure waiting area during court proceedings that does not require victims to be in close proximity to the defendant and family and friends of the defendant.

  • Involvement with the victims’ employers to ensure that they cooperate with the criminal justice process in order to minimize loss of pay and other benefits resulting from court appearances.

 

The Arkansas Crime Victim Rights Law guarantees the right for victims of crime to prepare and present a Victim Impact Statement. The law also requires the court to consider the victim’s statement. Impact statements are presented in the sentencing phase of trials and in Parole Board hearings.

 

Victim's Information - Arkansas Department of Public Safety

bottom of page