Yes, the victim can talk to the district attorney.
There are many reasons why a victim of a crime might want to talk to the DA, but there are limits to what a victim can control or achieve by doing so.
In the article that follows, we’ll explain.
Can a Victim Talk To The District Attorney? (EXPLAINED)
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Introduction To Victim’s Rights
When a person is the victim of a crime, there are certain rights that this individual is afforded by law.
While the statutes listing out these rights vary from state to state, most of them offer similar rights, such as:
- the right to be notified of the defendant’s court hearings
- the right to speak in court at sentencing
- the right to have his or her personal information (such as address and phone number) protected and kept away from the defendant
- to have someone attend court hearings with them
- to refuse to speak to the defense attorney and/or the defense investigator
- to be consulted by the DA about plea negotiations
The victim does not have to avail himself of these rights.
And some of these rights are not automatic; some of them have to be requested.
Speaking To The District Attorney
The victim is not required to speak with anyone.
The victim has all of the constitutional rights on an individual who is not a victim, including the right to remain silent.
There are many reasons why the victim might want to speak to the DA, such as:
- to help build the case against the defendant
- to obtain as much information as possible about what is going to happen next in the case
- to provide as much information as the victim has
- to try and influence the district attorney’s actions (like to pursue more serious charges)
There are many reasons why the victim might not want to speak to the DA, such as:
- fear of the defendant
- fear of being called as a witness in the case
- fear of the DA finding out about other relates crimes that the victim may have participated in or be guilty of
The choice to speak with the district attorney is one that the victim has to may, and advice as to whether the victim should do so is going to be tailored very specifically to that specific individual and situation.
As the Victim, Can You Call The DA’s Office and Ask To Speak With The DA?
Sure you can.
Just as any other individual out in the public can.
Heck, the defendant, if he wanted to, could pick up the phone and put in a call to the district attorney’s office.
There’s no guarantee that the DA will answer the phone or agree to speak with the members of the public, with the defendant, or even with the victim.
But if the victim’s case is assigned to him, if the victim calls, it is likely that the district attorney would be willing and interested in speaking with her.
After all, the victim is a witness in the DA’s case, and the DA may end up having to rely upon the victim as a witness at a later date to succeed in his case.
During such calls, the DA might use the time to gather information about the case, assess the victim as a potential witness (by listening to her ability to recall events or express herself clearly), and to try and form a relationship of trust.
The victim could use the time to learn about the case, and provide the attorney with additional information.
As noted above, the victim has certain rights in the case, but the victim does not have the right to talk to the DA about anything and everything.
Instead, the ‘right’ is usually reserved to specific aspects of the case, such as a potential negotiated plea.
Other Things a Victim Should Remember
The victim is not a party to the case.
While the victim has the right to be consulted about plea deals, the district attorney does not have to do anything that the victim wants.
The DA does not have to file charges, or dismiss charges upon the victim’s direction.
And if the victim doesn’t want to show up in court, the DA will issue a subpoena to secure the victim’s reluctant appearance.
Further, the statements made to the DA are not protected.
The DA is not the victim’s lawyer.
The victim can be questioned under oath by all the parties in the court hearing about what she told the district attorney.
A victim can talk to the district attorney, or he can choose not to.
There are good and bad reasons for either decision, and if you think it might be bad for you or your situation to talk to the DA, you might want to consult with an attorney to have a plan in place for when the call comes in.
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