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Victim and Witness Assistance Information

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The establishment of this program represents the Collier County Sheriff’s Office sensitivity to the needs and rights of crime victims. The program assists victims in their recovery from emotional, physical and financial problems caused by crime. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office recognizes that crime victims face a number of difficult problems caused by their victimization. As a result, we operate with a singular goal; respond with compassion and expertise to victim’s needs. Victim Advocates are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. 

Victim Advocates Provide

  • Crisis intervention
  • Emotional support
  • Education concerning the judicial system
  • Assistance in obtaining information regarding your case
  • Translation assistance
  • Assistance with crimes compensation and other financial resources
  • Community referrals
  • Support during arraignments, hearings and trials
  • Other personal advocacy as needed 

Victims Have the Right to...

To be informed of these rights and to seek an attorney’s advice regarding these rights.

To have the State Attorney’s Office, with your consent, seek enforcement of your rights as a victim as provided by law and to seek remedy for the violation of any right.

To receive due process from the courts and to be treated with fairness and respect for your dignity.

To be made aware of the availability of crime victim compensation. The Victim Assistance Section can provide you with the application and assistance with these forms. For more information call 1-800-226-6667.

To crisis intervention services, support or bereavement counseling, social service referrals, and community based victim treatment programs.

To be advised of your role as a victim in the criminal or juvenile justice process.

To know the stages in the criminal justice process and how to obtain information.

To be informed, present and heard as a victim, or a next of kin of a homicide victim at all crucial stages of a criminal proceeding, to the extent that this right does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused.

To have the safety and welfare of you and your family considered when setting bail or pretrial release conditions that could affect you and your family.

To be heard in any public proceeding involving bail or pretrial release.

To be informed, even if you are incarcerated, you have the right to be informed and submit written statements at all stages of the criminal and parole proceedings.

To proceedings free from unreasonable delay and to a prompt and final conclusion of the case and any related post-judgment proceedings. (In appropriate cases, the prosecutor may file a good faith demand for a speedy trial, allowing the case to be tried within sixty days, assuming the defendant’s due process rights can be met by such, and advancement in the trial date.  In non-capital cases, all state level appeals, and post-conviction proceedings must be completed within two years, and capital cases within five years, unless the court enters an order with specific findings concerning why the court was unable to do so and the circumstances causing the delay.)

To be notified within four hours of the release or transfer of a defendant from jail in any case of homicide, sexual offense, attempted murder or attempted sexual offense, stalking or domestic violence.

To be notified if a defendant escapes a state correctional institution, county jail, juvenile detention facility or involuntary commitment facility.

To waive your right of notification of release. You may also choose a designated contact for notification.

To be advised of protection available to you as a victim or as a witness. This includes information concerning protection from intimidation, harassment and abuse.  If you are being threatened or intimidated, call your local law enforcement.

 Within the judicial process, to be reasonably protected from the accused.

 To be notified of any scheduling changes concerning your criminal justice proceedings. Contact the Witness Management Office at the County Courthouse at 239-252-2701.

To be present at and notified of all judicial proceedings concerning your case and receive notification relating to the arrest and release, including community control and work release, of the accused as well as the proceedings of the case.

To consult with the State Attorney’s Office if you are the victim of a felony involving physical or emotional injury. If the victim is a minor the guardian will be consulted.

To have your property promptly returned unless there is a compelling law enforcement reason for retaining it.

To request that the Victim Assistance Section or the State Attorney’s Office notify employers and creditors of any court proceedings that directly involve the victim.

To full and timely restitution in every case and from each offender convicted of the crime for all losses suffered both directly and indirectly as the result of the criminal conduct. Submit documentation of your losses to the State Attorney’s Office. You have the right of enforcement of restitution under order F.S.S. 775.089(6) and 985.201 and Article I section 16 of the Florida Constitution.

To submit a written or oral impact statement.

To assistance. Victims and witnesses shall be provided with assistance when attending court. Transportation, parking, separate pretrial waiting areas and translator services.

To have a victim advocate present during any depositions.

To prevent disclosure of information or records that could be used to locate or harass you or your family or which could disclose confidential or privileged information about you. 

To review certain portions of the pre-sentencing investigation prior to sentencing. Upon request, the State Attorney’s Office shall permit the victim, victim’s parent, guardian or next of kin to review this information.

To request that the offender attend a different school if you or your sibling are zoned to attend the same school as the juvenile offender.

To have the courtroom cleared of certain persons while they are testifying if they are the victim of a sexual offense as provided in FSS 918.16.

To be informed of the Address Confidentiality Program administered through the Attorney General’s Office if you are a victim of domestic violence.

To HIV and hepatitis testing. The right of a victim or the victim’s legal guardian, or the parent or legal guardian of a victim, if the victim is a minor, to request that a person who is charged with any offense enumerated in section 775.0877 (1)(a)-(n), Florida Statutes, that involves the transmission of body fluids from one person to another, undergo hepatitis and HIV testing. In sex offenses and under certain circumstances the accused can undergo HIV testing regardless of whether the offense involves the transmission of bodily fluids. These certain circumstances include: cases involving a victim under 18-years-old or a victim who is disabled or elderly. You have the right to the test results within two weeks after the court receives them.

To not be excluded from any portion of the hearing, trial or proceedings based solely on the fact that you or the victim’s next of kin is subpoenaed to testify unless the court finds that person’s presence is prejudicial.

To information, however information gained by a victim regarding any case handled in juvenile court must not be revealed to any outside party, except as is reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.

To request the presence of a victim advocate during the forensic medical examination. An advocate from a certified rape crisis center shall be permitted to attend any forensic medical examination.

The right of the victim who is not incarcerated to not be required to attend discovery depositions in any correctional facility.

To forego a polygraph. No law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney or government official shall ask or require a victim of a sexual offense to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device as a condition of the investigation.

Florida Statute 960.001 guarantees that crime Florida Statute 960.001 guarantees that crime victims are entitled to the right to be informed, victims are entitled to the right to be informed, as long as it does not interfere with the as long as it does not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. constitutional rights of the accused.

Also, upon your specific request, you have these additional rights:

To reasonable, accurate and timely notice of, and to be present at, all public proceedings involving the criminal conduct, including, but not limited to, trial, pleas, sentencing, or adjudication, even if you are a witness at the proceedings.

To reasonable, accurate and timely notice of any release or escape of the defendant and of any proceedings during which a right of yours as the victim maybe implicated.

To confer with the prosecutor concerning any pleas agreements, restitution issues, participation in pretrial diversion or release programs by the defendant and sentencing or any other disposition of the case.

To provide information to anyone conducting or compiling, a pretrial investigation regarding the crime’s impact on you or your family, and to have such information considered by the courts.  Once the report is completed, you have a right to receive a copy of it, except for portions made confidential by law.

To be informed of the conviction, sentence, adjudication, or other dispositions of a convicted offender, his or her release date, or the date of their escape from custody.

To be informed of all post-conviction processes and procedures, to provide information to the release authority to be considered before any such release and to be notified of any release decision regarding the offender.  This right is extended to every person harmed by the offender.

To be informed of any clemency or expungement procedures regarding the offender, to provide information to the governor, the court, any clemency board,

 and other authority in these procedures, and to have that information considered before a clemency or expungement decision is made, and to be given notice of that authority’s decision before the offender’s release.

As a victim of a crime, you may hear terms that are unfamiliar to you. The following glossary will explain those legal terms you may hear throughout your court process.

Arraignment 

Is scheduled for each defendant so that they have an opportunity to plead their case before a judge. If a defendant pleads not guilty, there will be the possibility of a trial. If the plea is guilty, the judge will either sentence the defendant then or set another hearing date.

Continuance

 May occur for any reason if either side is not ready to proceed. You may experience several continuances throughout your court process. 

Crimes Compensation 

Is a fund controlled by the Attorney General’s office that allows crime victims to be reimbursed for lost wages, medical and dental expenses, counseling and funeral expenses if they have been a victim of a crime. This form may be obtained at the CCSO Victim Assistance Section. An advocate will be able to assist you with completing the form. .

Injunction for Protection

Is a civil court order that may restrain someone from abusing you, or provide you temporary residence of your home and temporary child support. At the same time a hearing is set for both parties to be present regarding the Injunction For Protection.  At that time the judge will decide to keep the injunction in effect or withdraw it. 

No Contact Order

Is signed by the judge at the defendant’s first appearance in court after their arrest. The order restricts the defendant from having contact with the victim for a specified period. 

Order to Show Cause

If you have an Injunction for Protection and the respondent has violated that order, you may file in Order to Show Cause explaining to the judge what has happened. 

Restitution

The judge may order a defendant to repay a victim for losses. You must be specific in what you are asking for. 

Sounding

Gives both the State and the Defense a chance to present information to the judge prior to the trial.

Subpoena

Is a court order directing you to be present at a specific time and place. You may receive a subpoena from both the State and the Defense.

Victim Impact Statement

Is a form you obtain from the State Attorney’s Office. It allows you to explain what monetary losses you have incurred as a result of the crime. You may express your feelings regarding the sentencing of the defendant.

Community Resource Numbers:

 Collier County Sheriff’s Office Victim Assistance Section  239-252-0230
 Immokalee Victim Assistance  239-657-6168
 Catholic Charities Family Resource Center  239-793-0059
 Collier County Social Services  239-252-8443
 David Lawrence Mental Health  239-455-1031
 Domestic Violence Unit at the Court House - Injunction for Protection   239-252-2749
 Naples Police Department  239-213-4844
 Marco Island Police Department  239-389-5050
 Project HELP (24-hour hotline)  239-262-7227
 Salvation Army  239-775-9447
 Shelter for Abused Women  239-775-1101
 St. Vincent DePaul Society  239-775-1667
 State Attorneys Office  239-252-8470
 Victim Services Information  1-800-226-6667
 Witness Management 239-252-2701