Victim's Rights 

Though most discussions of criminal law revolve around the rights of the suspects, it’s important to understand that victims in Tennessee also have rights. Though a terrible thing happened, it can be good to know that you are not powerless and that you are entitled to certain treatment during the otherwise difficult process.

 What are your rights as avictim?

 Back in 1998, the  Tennessee Constitution was  amended to include a provision concerning victims’ rights. The language is found in Article 1, Section 35 of the state’s Constitution. The constitutional amendment  says that victims have the right to discuss their case with prosecutors and to  be present at all stages of the process where the defendant also has the right to be present. Victims have the right to be free from intimidation and  harassment throughout the criminal proceeding and to be informed of all  proceedings relating to the release, transfer, escape or recapture of the defendant.Victims also have the right to be heard at all critical stages of the  criminal process and similarly have the right to a speedy trial and a prompt  resolution of the criminal matter. Finally, the victim has the right to restitution  from the defendant.

 Can you sue?

Though the crime happened to you, only the government is allowed to press charges and prosecute criminals for their illegal activity. Though victims cannot bring criminal suits against their attackers, they are absolutely entitled to bring a civil lawsuit for whatever damages they have suffered from the crime.

 Are you entitled to financial compensation?

 Though it may come as a surprise, the victims of some crimes, especially  those involving personal injuries or terrible violence, can actually receive  financial compensation from the government’s  Criminal Injuries Compensation Program.This program was designed to provide financial assistance to innocent  victims or the surviving family members of victims who suffered serious trauma due  to violent crime. Eligible crimes generally include things like murder,  aggravated assault, sexual assault, robbery and drunk driving.