Victim Rights

Crime victims and their families (including legal guardians) have the right, under the Victim Rights Act, to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect.  If a victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights may be exercised by the victim’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, significant other, or other lawful representative.

The Victim Rights Act protects victims of one or more of the following crimes:

  • Assault
  • Bias-motivated crime
  • Careless driving or failure to stop at an accident, resulting in death
  • Child abuse
  • Crimes against at-risk adults and at-risk juveniles
  • Crimes with an underlying foundation of domestic violence
  • Criminally negligent homicide and vehicular homicide
  • First degree burglary
  • Human trafficking
  • Incest and aggravated incest
  • Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Menacing
  • Murder
  • Retaliation against a judge, prosecutor, or juror
  • Retaliation, intimidation, or tampering of a victim or witness
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, and indecent exposure
  • Sexual exploitation of children and child prostitution
  • Stalking
  • Violation of a mandatory (criminal) protection order
  • Any criminal attempt, conspiracy, criminal solicitation, or accessory involving any of the crimes specified above.

After one of the above crimes has been reported to the police, victims should get the following information, in writing:  

  • A copy of the Victim Rights Act and information about victim’s rights
  • A list of resources and services for victims, including crime victim compensation
  • Information about how to get a copy of the police report.

Crime victims have a right to:

  • Be given the police department case report number.
  • Have the name and contact information of the officer assigned to the case.
  • Be told when a suspect is taken into custody and released.
  • Be told what to do if the suspect or someone the suspect knows harasses the victim.
  • Have the address and telephone number of the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Have property returned when it is no longer needed for evidence.
  • Be told of the mandatory (criminal) protection order, any changes to the order and, if they ask, be told how to modify the protection order.
  • Be told about the status of the case.
  • Be told of a decision to not file charges.
  • Be told of the status of the case
  • Be told of any scheduling changes, if known in advance.
  • Have the court determine restitution and be informed of the ability to file a civil suit related to the same things
  • Be informed about any referral to community corrections and to submit a victim impact statement about that referral
  • Be informed of restorative justice processes
  • Get a copy of the police report when it can be made available
  • To not lose their job if they are subpoenaed to court
  • Be present and heard at all critical stages of the case.

At all critical stages of the criminal justice process, crime victims have a right to:

  • Be informed (told what is happening in the case).
  • Be present (attend hearings related to the case).
  • Be heard when relevant, including at dispositions, pleas, sentencing, and hearings to modify sentences.

Critical stages in a criminal case are:

  • filing of charges and decisions not to file charges
  • preliminary hearing
  • bond reduction or modification*
  • arraignment hearing
  • hearings on motions
  • disposition/plea hearings *
  • trial
  • sentencing*
  • a subpoena for records about the victim’s medical, mental health, education or crime victim compensation*
  • appellate review
  • modification and reconsideration of sentences*
  • modification of a mandatory (criminal) protection order*
  • post-conviction DNA testing, and related hearings
  • certain probation and parole decisions and hearings
  • petitions by sex offenders to cease (end) registration
  • any hearing about a petition for expungement of juvenile records*
  • transfer, release, escape, and execution of convicted prisoners

*indicates a stage where a victim has a right to be present and heard.

Crime victims have the responsibility to:

  • Ask to get updates after sentencing.
  • Ask to get updates when an offender is released, moved or is on work release.
  • Ask to get yearly updates from the police about cold cases.
  • Give updated contact information to criminal justice agencies.

The Victim Rights Act does not cover:

  • Cases filed in municipal court
  • Civil Protection Order violations
  • Police misconduct
  • How a case is investigated
  • Decisions about whether criminal charges will be filed or not

Crime victims who have questions about their rights can contact Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center for more information.

This website gives information about the legal system, but does not give legal advice. To find affordable legal representation in your area, click here. To find information on legal clinics or legal resources, click here.