Victims of Crimes Have Legally Protected Rights — Why You Might Need the Support of an Attorney if You’ve Been Harmed By a Crime

Our criminal justice system seeks to hold to account those who have been charged or found guilty of committing a crime. As a criminal defense attorney, I believe any defendant accused of a crime deserves the strongest legal defense possible. And I fight to ensure my clients receive just that. 

However, there is another segment of our society that also deserves support and, at times, legal representation: those who have become direct or indirect victims of crime. I fight equally hard to ensure they have the protections and resources to which they are entitled. Once someone has been harmed by crime, they may be left feeling extremely vulnerable. Fear, sleeplessness, anxiety, and confusion are all feelings experienced by victims of crime. And, these feelings can be even further compounded by a legal system that seems to only be accessible and useful to attorneys and judges.

Fortunately, California has penned strong rights and protections for those who have become victims of crime. If you have arrived here after searching for “lawyers for victims of crime near me” (Fresno, Los Angeles, Orange County, and surrounding areas), you’ve come to the right place.


Often when we think of legal rights, it’s those of a defendant who has been accused of a crime that come to mind. However, every victim in California has clearly defined rights. 

In fact, they are spelled out in the state’s Marsy’s Law, so named after a young woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. Marsy’s law recognized that those accused of a crime had more than 20 individual rights but victims, and at times their surviving family members, had almost none. Read more about Marsy’s law on our victim representation page.

The law entitles a victim to everything from financial compensation to the right to be reasonably protected from the accused. Victims and their families may receive notification about an inmate’s parole hearings and provide information to the courts about how they have been harmed. Further, they are entitled to receive restitution and financial compensation. 

Unfortunately, very few people who’ve been harmed by crime are aware of their rights. Victims of crime often benefit from the assistance of a victims’ rights attorney.


When asked why victims are often not aware of their rights, there are many factors involved. The first is that being the victim of a crime is often very mentally (and physically!) draining.

Being harmed by crime can have an almost paralyzing effect on victims. As aforementioned, along with the harmful physical and emotional toll victimization can take, a feeling of helplessness can sink in. To a victim, especially one unfamiliar with the legal process, it can seem that the majority of the legal processes and energy are focused on, and dedicated to, the prosecution of those accused of committing a crime. 

Victims can take the new knowledge of their complete list of rights in California and consult with an attorney who can truly empower them. Victims often emotionally and legally benefit from the assistance of a victims’ rights attorney. California law can be extremely complicated. This lack of knowledge is to the detriment of those harmed the most — victims of crimes, especially those hurt at the hands of the person closest to them.

As covered on our victim representation page,  services we provide include:

  • Initial consult and discussion about what happened and how you feel about it
  • Assistance with communicating with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office 
  • Writing a Victim’s Impact Statement
  • Obtaining restraining orders 
  • Witness advocacy directly with the prosecutor and protection from the defendant
  • Obtaining compensation/restitution (includes monetary restitution for pain and suffering, medical bills, replacement of destroyed/damaged property, and punitive damages.)
  • Speaking at applicable court proceedings/hearings
  • Accessing state and local resources concerning housing, childcare, mental health, and other financial and healthcare services


The past couple of years have shown that there is an increasing need for help and support for victims of crime. California alone has seen a 42% increase in certain types of domestic violence-related calls. Many are not aware of an added layer of victims’ rights — California has a number of protections and rights in place for domestic violence victims. After all, it is often victims of assault or domestic violence that are most in need of legal resources and protections.

As detailed on our Victim Representation page, it’s devastating to experience abuse or violence within one’s residence, especially at the hands of a partner. Add heightened emotions and children to the mix, and the next steps to take to protect yourself and your family can seem overwhelming. This is why empowerment and advocacy for domestic violence victims is a top priority at Proper Defense.

Proper Defense can help you be as involved in the process as you want to be. Whether it’s preparing to testify in court, obtaining an emergency protective order, or even seeking compensation/restitution, you are not alone. And it’s never too late to reach out for help. In this case, you also have a very unique right that gives you the opportunity to choose how much of the legal proceedings you want to be a part of. The best domestic violence lawyer, Los Angeles, Fresno, and anywhere else for that matter, will make sure you are aware of these rights.

As a victim of domestic violence, you don’t have to speak in court if you do not want to. You may not want to speak in court following a domestic violence incident. You have the right to choose whether or not to speak or provide testimony. This is unique to domestic violence cases. In all other types of cases, a victim can be compelled to testify through the subpoena process and be held in contempt of court for not speaking when they are on the stand. With an advocate by your side, you can choose the next steps to take with full confidence that your choice will not be violated by the system. 


When you or someone you love is directly or indirectly harmed by a crime, it is extremely common for physical and emotional suffering to soon follow. We know the challenges you face are made even more difficult when you’ve been traumatized and then left to navigate a complicated legal system on your own.

Disempowerment isn’t a given when you’re a victim. At Proper Defense, giving you peace of mind and sound guidance will remind you of the personal power you have to move forward from this incident — stronger than ever.

For a true advocate that you can trust, in a judgment-free zone, contact Proper Defense Law Corporation today. For a FREE consultation in the Fresno area, call (559) 825-3800. You can reach us at our Beverly Hills location by calling (424) 284-4066. You can also schedule an appointment online on our Contact Us page. It gets better with Proper Defense, we promise.

In addition to this information, resources can be found through searches such as: california victim compensation program quick reference guide, victims of crime compensation, victim assistance programs near me, victim attorneys near me, victims rights attorney california, lawyers for victims of assault near me, national crime victim bar association, marsys law california text, marsys law california penal code, does marsys law apply to civil cases, domestic violence lawyer near me, what happens if a victims rights are violated, offenders rights vs victims’ rights, what happens if a victims’ rights are violated, domestic violence restraining order california family code, the right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay, victim advocate domestic violence, victim services for domestic violence, advocacy for domestic violence victims, legal advocacy for domestic violence victims, or what is domestic violence advocacy.

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