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Virginia Witness and Victim Advocate Attorney: The Advantages of Having a Victim Rights Lawyer

Does the victim of a crime need an attorney?


Yes, in many cases, the victim of a crime should hire a defense attorney. This article will discuss the advantages of hiring a skilled attorney and explore these benefits in cases such as rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and the theft or destruction of property crimes in Virginia. 


Advantages of Having a Lawyer


Understanding Your Rights


As a victim of a crime in Virginia, you have victim’s rights in a criminal case. These rights generally include the right to be informed of any negotiations or court proceedings related to your case and the right to request restitution from the defendant. In the circumstance that the offender is sentenced jail time, you have the right to be informed if the offender is released or on parole. However, these rights vary by state. Because of this, an experienced defense attorney can inform you of the state’s victim’s rights. This enables you to be aware of all the rights and protections that you are entitled to in your criminal case.


Advocating for your Interests


Prosecutors often want to make a deal with the defendant to avoid going to trial. Because of this, the offender may receive a lighter punishment than they would have gotten had they gone to trial and been convicted. Further, the you may feel that the Commonwealth Attorney is focusing on the community’s interests rather than your individual ones. A defense attorney can assist you by not only guiding you through the process of a criminal case but also advocating for your interests and ensuring that the offender receives a just punishment. Although hiring an attorney does not guarantee that the case will go to trial, it would still allow you to ensure that the offender does not receive only a minimal sentence or probation.


Restitution and Compensation


Victim’s often suffer from expenses as a result of the crime. Because of this, victims are eligible to advocate for restitution, which is compensation for your loss from a crime committed against you. Since the process of restitution also varies by state, a hired attorney can help you through this process..


However, there are expenses that can be incurred from the crime that go beyond the parameters of restitution. These expenses could include medical treatment needed from the crime or financial issues, such as property loss. In this case, there may be reason to start a civil case where the you can acquire assets or insurance coverage from the defendant to cover your losses. A hired attorney can help you understand if you have grounds to start a civil case against the defendant. If there is reason for a civil case, your attorney can facilitate your case to ensure you receive just compensation.


Advantages of a Victim Rights Attorney in Specific Cases:


Rape Victims


Rape is a severe charge that is classified as a violent felony. Rape is classified as nonconsensual sexual intercourse. There are different categories of rape including statutory rape, marital rape and date rape, each a criminal offense. Prison sentences for rape are especially subjective and because of this, there are many procedure and factors that are taken into account when pursuing a rape case. In this case, an attorney can help the victim by navigating the criminal justice system to ensure that your case is being investigated and handled properly. Further, the attorney can ensure that there are no unjust plea bargains that enable the defendant to receive a lighter sentence than had the case gone to trial.


Sexual Assault Victims


Sexual assault is broadly classified as any nonconsensual sexual activity and can be tried as a criminal or civil case. If the defendant is not charged during the criminal case, the victim can pursue a civil case where they can acquire compensation for their personal hardships and losses. Furthermore, if the defendant is convicted of sexual assault, they are recorded on the sex offender registry. By registering on this list, employment and residential opportunities are limited.  An attorney can assist you in a sexual assault case by facilitating a civil or criminal case where the defendant can be convicted and added to the registry. In many cases, a sexual assault case turns into a he said/she said case. Hiring an experienced attorney can help you build your case. An attorney’s knowledge of the justice system will help you make a decision on the best avenue to receive justice and compensation. 


Domestic Violence Victims


Domestic violence is classified as abusive behavior in a relationship that is used to maintain or gain control. This can be emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and can include cyberstalking or threats. An attorney can help you in this case by protecting you from aggressive police questioning. Since many officers are not trained to question domestic violence victims, questioning by officers can be stressful and inappropriate. Further, an attorney can help you advocate against lighter sentencing or dropping charges. An attorney can also help you file a restraining order, which requires that the defendant stay a certain distance from you. This can be used against the defendant to ensure that you do not have to fear for your safety.


Theft/Destruction of Property


Theft is taking someone else’s property without their consent with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it. Depending on the circumstances, this could be a felony or misdemeanor. Penalties are higher for felonies and can include fines and prison time. Destruction of property is broadly defined and can include cases from graffiti to theft and shoplifting. These are usually misdemeanors but can lead to felonies. An attorney can be advantageous because they can help you understand how your state classifies and penalizes for theft. An attorney can also advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive adequate restitution.

How We Can Help

The Pickett Law Group has a team of experienced witness rights attorneys and victim rights lawyers. We have successfully help many victims of crimes receive compensation and peace of mind for crimes committed against them. Contact one of our victim rights attorneys today to start working on your behalf. 

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