Police and prosecutors often portray themselves as the protectors of crime victims, noble defenders whose first priority is to safeguard the wellbeing of the people.
Although that’s how it should be, and it’s certainly how many police and prosecutors see themselves, it’s often not true. The priority of the police is to make arrests, and the prosecutor’s job is to get convictions.
If taking care of victims helps them reach those goals, you better believe they will treat victims with the utmost respect. But, in many cases, crime victims in South Carolina end up feeling lost and left “out of the loop” by the police and prosecutors who are handling their cases…
Does SC Have Laws to Protect Victims’ Rights?
SC not only has laws that specify the rights that crime victims have, it is also a part of the state Constitution…
If you have been the victim of a crime, you have specific rights under the SC Victims’ Bill of Rights, which is part of the SC Constitution. It guarantees that you have a right to:
- Be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity;
- Be free from intimidation or harm throughout the criminal process;
- Be informed about victims’ rights;
- Be reasonably informed about criminal proceedings;
- Be informed if the accused is arrested, released, or escapes;
- Confer with the prosecution before the case is heard in court and throughout the process;
- Be present at criminal proceedings where the accused has the right to be present;
- Be heard at proceedings affecting bond, bail, pleas or sentencing;
- Have reasonable access to documents relating to the crime;
- Receive restitution from the offenders; and
- A reasonable disposition and prompt, final conclusion of the case.
How Can My SC Victims’ Rights Attorney Help?
Unfortunately, the victims of crimes often don’t know about these rights, and victims may feel that the victim’s advocates at the police department or solicitor’s office is not giving them the knowledge or respect that they need.
If you have been the victim of a crime, contact your SC victims’ rights attorney immediately, and we will help you navigate the stressful, overwhelming criminal justice process.
As your victim’s rights advocate, we can:
- Speak to the solicitor’s office on your behalf;
- Make sure you are informed about court appearances, so you can be there;
- Appear at court dates with you, to speak on your behalf and to answer any questions that you have;
- Help you keep up with court dates and make sure you know when dates have been changed;
- Communicate your wishes to the prosecutor or to the court – do you want a conviction? Do you want a dismissal? Do you think prison time is appropriate or do you want to see the offender get a second chance?
- Prepare written statements for the prosecutor or for the court when appropriate;
- Ensure that the Court orders full restitution for the damages you suffered; or
- File a lawsuit against the criminal defendant when appropriate.
Your victim’s advocate lawyer in Myrtle Beach can make sure that your voice is heard and that you do not become lost in the routine chaos of SC’s criminal justice system.
SC Victim’s Advocates in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston
All too often, South Carolina courts fail crime victims. If you feel that you need help navigating the criminal justice system and ensuring that your voice is heard, call a victim’s rights attorney at Coastal Law now at (843) 488-5000 or message us online for a free consultation about your case.