08 May Victims’ Rights – Maryland lawyer explains rights of crime victims
Maryland Victims’ Rights Lawyer
We recently had an opportunity to represent a victim of domestic violence. She was victimized by the defendant at the time of the crime and, until she hired us, she was being victimized by the criminal justice system. Moreover, English was our client’s second language, so her only link to the process was an interpreter. As her Maryland lawyers, we were able to spend time with the victim to understand her wishes, make appropriate recommendations to the Court and the State’s Attorney; in the end we obtained a favorable outcome for our client.
The criminal justice system is not set up for victims’ rights. In a trial, the rights of the criminal take priority. The victim’s life is publicly exposed, and the defense attorney’s job is to disprove the charges and thrust the victim’s credibility into question. The judge, the prosecutor, the defense and the jury make all the decisions.
What can you do?
The Maryland lawyers of Eldridge and Nachtman offers representation in the area of victims’ rights representation. If you were the victim of a violent crime, suffered a large financial loss or a member of your family was killed, we, as Maryland lawyers, offer you a say in the proceedings and the outcome.
As the victim, you have certain rights, including the right to your own lawyer. You have a constitutional right to be present at every critical stage of the proceeding, just like the Defendant. You also have the right to be notified by the State’s Attorney about the appearances and filings in the case. Often the overworked local prosecutors struggle to adhere to their obligations regarding victim notification and even more commonly, they will explain things in “legalese” leaving you confused or puzzled as to what has actually been decided. The Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman, LLC can advise you about what is likely to happen in the case and can counsel you during any questioning, depositions, or courtroom testimony. We will ensure that the prosecutor considers your wishes in bringing charges or plea negotiations. Lastly, we can represent you in addressing the court and the defendant at disposition (sentencing) to make a victims rights statement.
In Maryland, a private citizen has the right and the ability to appear before a District Court Commissioner and write out an affidavit that lodges criminal charges against another individual. In most counties prosecutors review the charges before they are formally filed. Maryland lawyers of Eldridge and Nachtman, LLC is a firm formed by former prosecutors who are respected criminal defense lawyers who between them have tried hundreds of cases, including homicides. We have the ability to aid victims in crafting their charges and investigating their case, to ensure that the charges will stick once finally handed off to a prosecuting agency.
Victims’ rights entails the ability to request and receive restitution. We will vigorously pursue monetary damages in a civil lawsuit against the criminal defendant and any other person or entity that enabled the crime through negligence or knowingly aiding and abetting. We can also successfully sue for physical injury or for victim economic losses (lost wages, medical treatment) and non-economic losses (emotional damages).
In high-profile criminal cases, reporters and camera crews may follow and harass the crime victim in pursuit of a story, even camp outside your residence or place of employment. Lawyers can serve as a personal spokesperson or family spokesperson to field media inquiries and draw away some of the unwelcome attention. Throughout the criminal proceedings or after the verdict, lawyers should act as the voice of the client to make any statements or advise clients about how to appropriately engage the media.
The Bottom Line
You have rights as a victim, but the system does not automatically acknowledge them. Contact ENlawyers for compassionate and effective counsel during this painful and private episode in representing victims’ rights matters. We practice primarily in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County, Howard County, but regularly traveled from Hagerstown to Havre de Grace and Somerset to Salisbury.