Erika Simpson has tried numerous criminal trials involving heinous acts committed against victims. Throughout these interactions with the victims and families of victims, it became obvious that most people experience the criminal justice system for the first time after a traumatic experience. Simpson seeks to ease the burden on victims’ families by working alongside prosecutors, law enforcement, and the judiciary to effectively ensure that victims of crime have a voice throughout the criminal process.
You have rights.
What is a Victims’ Rights Attorney?
An attorney who represents the individual rights victim of a crime throughout the criminal justice system. It is a common misunderstanding that prosecutors represent victims of crime– this is not true. While the State’s goals are often similar to a victims’ goals, a prosecutor can only represent the State’s interests. A prosecutor’s main goal is to seek justice through enforcement of criminal consequences. As a part of that very important job, they explain the process to a victim, however they cannot give any legal advice to a victim. Further, a prosecutor may be under an obligation to disclose what you say to the defense attorney.
It is important to know the difference between a prosecutor and victims’ rights attorney and how that impacts your options. A victims’ rights attorney can advise you confidentially under attorney-client privilege. You can consult with this type of attorney without a pending criminal case. This attorney can sit with you during interviews with law enforcement or meetings with the prosecutors to answer your questions and provide advice. A victims’ attorney can also assert certain rights in court in addition to the prosecutor.
This short video explains how a victims’ rights attorney can represent you:
When does a victims’ rights attorney enter a case?
Anytime! You can even run your facts by an attorney prior to making a police report. You can have an attorney by your side during interviews, during hearings, etc. One of the key differences between a prosecutor and a victims’ attorney is confidentiality. A prosecutor may be under an obligation to disclose your statement to the defense attorney. This may not be the case if you consult with a victim’s attorney. A victim’s attorney can also assert your rights in court in certain circumstances.
What is the difference between a victims’ attorney and an advocate?
An advocate is not a licensed attorney. Advocates are great resources to connect you with services and provide support throughout the legal process. They are not able to provide legal advice to you. They cannot speak in court on your behalf. An advocate has limited privileged communication, whereas a victims’ attorney has attorney-client privilege with the client.