New Jersey Crime Victims Bill of Rights

The Legislature finds and declares that crime victims and witnesses are entitled to the following rights:

  • To be treated with dignity and compassion by the criminal justice system;
  • To be informed about the criminal justice process;
  • To be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse by any person including the defendant or any other person acting in support of or on behalf of the defendant, due to the involvement of the victim or witness in the criminal justice process;
  • To have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized to the fullest extent possible;
  • To make at least one telephone call provided the call is reasonable in both length and location called;
  • To medical assistance reasonable related to the incident in accordance with the provisions of the "Criminal Injuries Compensation Act of 1971";
  • To be notified in a timely manner, if practicable,  if presence in court is not needed or if any scheduled court proceeding has been adjourned or cancelled;
  • To be informed about available remedies, financial assistance and social services;
  • To be compensated for loss sustained by the victim whenever possible;
  • To be provided a secure, but not necessarily separate, waiting area during court proceedings;
  • To be advised of case progress and final disposition and to confer with the prosecutor's representative so that the victim may be kept adequately informed;
  • To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence;
  • To submit a written statement, within a reasonable amount of time, about the impact of the crime to a representative of the prosecuting agency which shall be considered prior to the prosecutor’s final decision concerning whether formal criminal charges will be filed, whether the prosecutor will consent to a request by the defendant to enter into a pre-trial program, and whether the prosecutor will make or agree to a negotiated plea;
  • To make, prior to sentencing, an in-person statement directly to the sentencing court concerning the impact of the crime. This statement is to be made in addition to the statement permitted for inclusion in the persistence report;
  • To have the opportunity to consult with the prosecuting authority prior to the conclusion of any plea negotiations, and to have the prosecutor advise the court of the consultation and the victim's position regarding the plea agreement, provided however that nothing herein shall be construed to alter or limit the authority or discretion of the prosecutor to enter into any plea agreement which the prosecutor deems appropriate; 
  • To be present at any judicial proceeding involving a crime or any juvenile proceeding involving a criminal offense, except as otherwise provided by Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution; 
  • To be notified of any release or escape of the defendant; and 
  • To appear in any court before which a proceeding implicating the rights of the victim is being held, with standing to file a motion or present argument on a motion filed to enforce any right conferred herein or by Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution, and to receive an adjudicative decision by the court on any such motion. 

Source: New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Victim Witness Advocacy

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