When people think about the concept of hiring an attorney, they typically associate it with being a defendant in a criminal proceeding. However, in some cases, hiring an attorney as a victim of crime can provide you with distinctive benefits. In the event that a crime victim believes that their desires or goals are different than the intention of the prosecutor, they should consider the possibility of hiring an attorney to advocate on their behalf. In this post, we take a look at some scenarios where the utilization of a lawyer can be extremely beneficial to the crime victim.
1) Lack Of Understanding About The Perpetrators Criminal Proceedings
In some situations, as a crime victim, you may feel that the district attorney’s interest is different than yours. For instance, a victim of domestic violence who does not wish to pursue charges may feel like the prosecutor is ignoring their desires if the prosecutor decides to pursue charges regardless of the victim’s request. Therefore, if you feel like you’re being left out of the decision-making process, it’s highly recommended that you hire an attorney that can advocate on your behalf.
2) Stronger Punishments
In some situations, a prosecutor may try and offer a deal to the defendant in an effort to avoid the possibility of going to trial. In situations like these, the defendants typically receive a much less severe punishment than they would have, had they gone to trial and received a conviction. Most victims would agree that seeing a defendant receive a less severe punishment can feel somewhat unfair. This is especially true for many assault victims who do not believe that probation or a reduced sentence is sufficient for the amount of pain and trauma that they experienced. By working with an attorney, they’ll show up in court and work with the prosecutor to try and ensure that the defendant doesn’t receive a plea deal. While having an attorney advocate on your behalf may not guarantee that the defendant’s case will go to trial as opposed to getting a plea deal, it can have a very profound effect on the judge when it comes to evaluating the stipulations of the agreement.
3) Marriage and Child Custody
In the event that you became a victim of domestic violence and are currently married and/or share children with the defendant, you may have been thinking about the possibility of getting a divorce while maintaining custody of the children. This is where a family attorney can prove to be especially useful.
Attorneys who specialize in this area of the law can help to navigate through divorce proceedings, advocate on your behalf in domestic violence-related criminal proceedings, and they can help you when it comes to establishing child support and custody. In addition to that, family attorneys typically provide victims with resources that they can utilize to get emotional relief which can help them to overcome traumatic experiences.
4) Civil Lawsuit
Statistics indicate that it’s fairly common for crime victims to experience physical pain, financial loss, and other hardships as a result of their traumatic experiences. Several things such as property damage, personal injury, sexual harassment and lost wages can all create numerous hardships in a victim’s life. Additionally, in some situations, they may need extensive medical treatment. Even though courts have the ability to make the defendant pay the victim’s restitution as a result of their crimes, the expenses the victim has acquired may go above and beyond traditional victim restitution.
In a situation like this, a victim may want to file a civil court case to seek financial compensation for the aforementioned hardships. While it may be true that a crime victim can file a civil case on their own, having an attorney gives you the ability to maximize compensation as well as to expedite the entire process. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you hire a lawyer if you have been a victim of:
- Personal injury.
- Drunk driving.
- Illegal landlord practices.
- Safe business or school environment.