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What To Know About Victim Representation 

August 15, 2023

Being witness to a crime is often traumatic on its own. But personally experiencing a crime–as a victim–can cause a whirlwind of emotions. All the while, if the perpetrator is being legally pursued, you’ll likely want to know the details. And that is your right. But without proper legal help from a qualified assault lawyer you could find yourself left behind and caught unaware. 

At SRD Law Office, we understand what victims are dealing with, and we’re here to support you. Sallynda Rothchild Dennison is a committed domestic violence and assault attorney in Columbus, Ohio who is dedicated to helping victims regain a sense of control in their lives. It’s all about respect, consideration, and advocating for your rights. Here we’ll discuss what you need to know about victim representation.


What Is Victim Representation?

When charges are brought against a defendant, they have the right to a criminal defense attorney. But what about victims? Who will advocate for them? Historically, crime victims were central to the investigation and prosecution of crimes inflicted upon them. Things changed in the 20th century, however, when the process became more of a public prosecution system. Victims were generally left out of the equation, with no official rights having been declared. Thankfully, this has since changed. Beginning in the 1970s and continuing to the modern day, a powerful victims’ rights movement has been a major catalyst for change in state constitutions and both state and federal statutes and rules. 

To advance victims’ rights even further, 2008 saw the creation of Marsy's Law in California, also known as the state’s Victims' Bill of Rights Act. Since then, eleven other states, including Ohio, have adopted Marsy’s Law. Named for Marsy Nicholas, who was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983, Marsy’s Law gives victims a voice at every stage of legal criminal proceedings. 

Victims have been brought back into the legal process, instead of being excluded or forced to the side. That said, it can be overwhelming for victims to try and navigate the legal world on their own. Victim representation officially bridges any remaining gap, ensuring that a victim of a crime is both aware of their legal rights and assisted to enforce them.


Why Do You Need a Victim Representative?

A common belief is that the prosecuting attorney is acting on the victim’s behalf, but they’re really more focused on the safety and wellbeing of the residents of their state–that’s who they officially represent. Because the prosecutor is not the personal attorney of the victim, they cannot advise them, they cannot advocate for them outside the court, attorney-client privilege doesn’t apply and they will not be invested in upholding or enforcing the victim’s rights. 

As part of criminal proceedings, it is very likely that the defense attorney will attempt to discredit the prosecution’s case by personally investigating you, the victim. In cases like these your reputation and testimony can be twisted and attacked in an effort to cast doubt on your story. Without your own legal representation, it could feel next to impossible to navigate the various legal situations that could arise. Beyond that, it would be an incredibly stressful and upsetting experience to endure, almost as if you’re being revictimized. 

These potentially painful situations can be difficult for victims to experience, especially because their desire to regain a measure of control is second to the prosecuting attorney’s interest in prosecuting the criminal. Without your input, prosecutors can have the final say in the case, and that may not line up with your personal wishes or desires. But with a Columbus assault lawyer by your side, you’ll be assured of your rights, have a measure of protection, and can rest assured that your voice and your wishes are heard. The SRD Law Office can also make sure that you are able to recoup financial losses as part of a criminal case. 


What Are a Victim’s Rights?

A victim of a crime should always be treated fairly, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Whether you are a victim who is required to testify in court or not, when you have a victim representative on your team you can expect them to insist on the court upholding your right to:

  • Be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity (e.g. freedom from intimidation, harassment, and abuse during proceedings)
  • Have a reasonable degree of protection from the offender
  • Be informed of any pending court proceedings related to the crime
  • Be present at proceedings (in most cases)
  • Confer with the prosecutor
  • Seek restitution for economic losses
  • Offer input on negotiated pleas
  • Speak at hearings when rights are at issue
  • Prompt conclusion to your case
  • Be informed regarding the case (e.g. conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and/or release of the perpetrator)
  • Refuse or limit interview, deposition, and other discovery requests
  • Prevent relevant names, addresses, and identifying information from public release
  • Provision of costs associated with relevant medical care or evidence handling
  • Prompt return of property used as evidence upon conclusion of proceedings
  • Receive information about emergency medical and social services and both public and private programs that are available to provide counseling, treatment, and other support

Some of these rights are automatic, as they are built into your state’s constitution; others must be requested. Working with an experienced assault attorney helps to ensure that you are fully aware of all your rights and are able to take advantage of them as you see fit.


Work With a Skilled Columbus, Ohio Assault Lawyer

Not only does a victim have to live every day with the trauma of the crime they have experienced, but as part of the legal process, they can also be subject to a variety of issues that can arise. How to navigate the legal world while also working through the pain of victimization and worrying about potential retribution? You need an advocate. Sallynda Rothchild Dennison and her team at SRD Law Office are here to help, ready to represent you and ensure that your rights are protected. From seeking restitution to speaking on your behalf in court regarding sentencing and securing protection from harm, we are dedicated to seeing you through. Your interests are our primary concern, and we will do what it takes to make your voice heard and your wishes known. 

If you have been victimized and are ready to stand up and fight back, it’s important to secure representation from an established law firm. At SRD Law Office, in Columbus, Ohio, we have the resources necessary to mount a formidable case on your behalf. Call us at 614-228-3413 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable attorney.

SRD Law Office is located in Columbus, OH and serves clients in and around Brice, Groveport, Reynoldsburg, Canal Winchester, Blacklick, Westerville, Summit Station and Franklin County.
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