| Victim Assistance | Victim Rights | Law Enforcement Responsibilities | Victim's Responsibilities | Court and Prosecutor Information | Resources |
As a victim, you may be experiencing injury, loss, confusion, and disruption of your life. Feelings of shock, fear, vulnerability, anger, and frustration may result. Having information and an understanding of the criminal justice system may be helpful to you at this time. Cherry Hills Police Department can refer victims to a Victim Assistance Program to assist victims of violent crime and unexpected traumas. Trained Victim Assistance Advocates provide victims, witnesses, their families, and friends with crisis intervention, referrals, follow-up, and detailed explanations of legal procedures involved. The Victim Assistance Program serves all victims regardless of ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and financial or community standing. It is available at no charge.
In 1992, the voters of Colorado passed a resolution to include Victim Rights as a part of the State’s Constitution. The Colorado State Constitution, Article II, Section 16a states:
“Any person who is a victim of a criminal act, or such person’s designee, legal guardian, or surviving immediate family member if such person is deceased, shall have the right to be heard when relevant, informed and present at all critical stages of the criminal justice process. All terminology, including the term ‘critical stages’, shall be defined by the general assembly.”
Under 24-4.1-302 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, victims of the following crimes are guaranteed rights:
- Criminally Negligent Homicide
- Vehicular Homicide
- Vehicular Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Child Abuse
- Sexual Exploitation of Children
- Indecent exposure
- Domestic Violence
- Crimes Against Handicapped, Elderly, or At-Risk Adults
- Deaths resulting from careless driving or hit and run accidents
- Ethnic Intimidation
- Retaliation against a victim or witness
- Tampering with a victim or witness
- Violation of criminal protection order issued against a person charged with sexual assault
- Intimidation and aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim
If the victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights may be exercised by the victim’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, significant other, or other lawful representative.
Under the Colorado Constitution, victims are guaranteed the following rights:
- To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity.
- To be informed of all “critical stages” in the criminal justice process.
- To be present for specified “critical stages”.
- To be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse; and to have the right to be informed about what steps can be taken if there is any intimidation or harassment by a person accused or convicted of the crime or anyone acting on the person’s behalf.
- To prevent any party at any court proceeding from compelling testimony about a victim’s locating information unless the victim consents or the court orders the disclosure.
- To consult with the prosecution prior to any disposition of the case.
- To be provided with employer intercession services.
- To be informed of any change in the status of the case.
- Timely notification of all court dates.
- To be informed of the right to restitution or civil remedy.
- A prompt return of property when it is no longer needed as evidence.
- To be informed of availability of financial assistance.
- Whenever practical, to have a safe, secure waiting area during court proceedings.
- To be notified of an offender’s referral to community corrections.
- To provide a written victim impact statement, an oral statement or both (at the discretion of the community corrections board) when an offender is referred to community corrections.
- Upon request, to be informed when a person who is accused or convicted of a crime is released from the county jail.
- Upon written request, to be informed when a person who is accused or convicted of a crime is released from custody (other than the county jail), is paroled, escapes from a secure or non-secure correctional facility or program, or absconds from probation or parole.
- To be informed of and heard at any reconsideration of sentence, parole hearing, or commutation of sentence.
- To be informed of the results of any HIV testing that is ordered and performed.
- To be heard at any court proceeding that involves bond reduction or modification, acceptance of the plea, sentencing, and modification of sentence.
- To be informed of any rights which the victim has pursuant to the U.S. or Colorado Constitution.
- To be informed of the process for enforcing compliance with the Victim Rights Act.
Law Enforcement Responsibilities
Law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to provide the victim information about:
- Victim’s rights as assured in the Colorado Constitution.
- Availability of victim assistance, medical, emergency services, and community services such as legal resources, social services, crisis intervention services, and mental health services.
- Availability of financial resources such as compensation and how to apply for those benefits.
- Availability of protective court orders for protection from the person accused of committing the crime.
- Availability of public records related to the case.
- Translation services, assistance in dealing with creditors due to financial setbacks caused by the crime, transportation assistance to criminal proceedings, and child care services for criminal proceedings.
Law enforcement agencies are also required to:
- Provide the business address and telephone number of the District Attorney’s Office, file number of the case and the name, business address, and telephone number of any law enforcement officer assigned to investigate the case.
- Inform the victim as to whether a suspect has been taken into custody or released from custody.
- Inform the victim of the status of the case prior to the filing of charges.
- Inform victims of final decisions not to file charges in a misdemeanor case.
- Make all reasonable attempts to protect the victim/victim’s family from harm, harassment, intimidation, or retaliation resulting from the cooperation with the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of the crime.
- Provide reasonable efforts to minimize contact between the victim/victim’s family and the defendant/defendant’s family before, during, and immediately after a judicial proceeding.
- Provide victims of cold cases with information concerning any change in the status of the case.
- Upon written request, provide victims of cold cases in which the statute of limitations is longer than three years with an annual update concerning the status of the case.
The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for victim notification of decisions not to file charges in felony cases.
The victim has the responsibility to:
- Keep appropriate criminal justice authorities informed of the name address, and telephone number of the person who should be provided information and any changes in the information.
- Provide a written request if he/she wants to be notified of information regarding the post-sentence process.
- Always contact the Police Department with any follow up information on his/her case.
Court and District Attorney Information
|Arapahoe County Justice Center (District Court)
7305 South Potomac Street, Suite 100
Centennial, CO 80112
Office of the District Attorney (Arapahoe County)
6450 South Revere Parkway
Centennial, CO 80111
Asian Pacific Development Center
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Colorado Division of Criminal Justice
Office for Victims Programs
Phone: 303-239-5719 or 1-888-282-1080
Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance
Phone: 303-861-1160 or 1-800-261-2682
Colorado Division of Criminal Justice
Phone: 303-239-4442 or 1-888-282-1080
Juvenile Assessment Center
Kempe National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect
Native American Counseling Services
Parents of Murdered Children & Other Survivors of Homicide
If all efforts to obtain your rights have failed, you may request assistance from the Governor’s Victims’ Coordinating Committee by calling 303-239-4442