Helpful Resources for Victim and Witnesses
Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to providing victims and witnesses with resources and support throughout their involvement with the criminal justice system.
The purpose of this program is to provide more consideration and personal attention to victims and witnesses, to sensitize criminal justice professionals, the mass media and the community to the needs of victims of crime, to assure that victims and witnesses are informed of the progress of the case in which they are involved and to advocate for victims and their families by connecting them with local resources that will aid them in their recovery process.
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Guidelines for the Treatment of Crime Victims and Witnesses
Criminal Procedure, Article 11-1002, Annotated Code of Maryland
The following is a summary of the guidelines which prescribe the ways in which victims and witnesses of crime will be treated and helped. These guidelines are now part of Maryland's Criminal Code and became effective July 1, 1986.
If you are a victim or witness of a crime in Baltimore County, you are entitled to:
- An explanation of and orientation to the Criminal Justice process
- A referral of services for social service needs
- Placement of civilian witnesses on telephone stand-by for court appearances when necessary or requested
- Assistance with victim compensation and restitution procedures
- Assistance with court appearance problems
- Assistance with crime-related employer problems
- Assistance with the return of property held in evidence by the police or the court
- The availability of a waiting room apart from the accused in the Courts Building, parking validation and proper courtroom assignment
- Be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy and sensitivity
- Receive emergency help as needed
- Receive notification of trial dates or cancellation of those dates
- Be advised of law enforcement protection available from harm arising out of prosecution and law enforcement efforts
- Receive speedy handling of the case in which you are involved
In accordance with these guidelines, every crime victim or witness should:
- Report the crime immediately
- Cooperate fully with law enforcement officials
- Testify honestly and completely
- Immediately notify the Victim and Witness Program in the event you change your address or telephone number
In addition, the following is available to you, when requested in writing:
The progress of your case from the police and the State's Attorney
- The prompt return of property by law enforcement agencies
- The reading of victim impact statements at any hearing that considers a release
- To know when the convicted offender is scheduled to be released from prison or jail
- To know when the offender escapes or receives a Mandatory Release from prison
- To receive notice of other hearings, to include bail hearing, dismissal, nolle prosequi, stetting of charges, disposition
- This legislation does not create a cause of action against any individual or a governmental agency.
This Victim and Witness Program does not provide the following services:
- Return property if it is still needed for evidence in court proceedings
- Bring civil action or provide legal advice on civil litigation
- Supply victims and witnesses with necessary resources
- Child care
Your Role as a Witness
You may have been a victim of or an eyewitness to a crime. You may be the owner of stolen property or be able to provide some piece of information that will help to prove a criminal case. You are an essential witness. Without your cooperation, our criminal justice system could not work.
You will be receiving a subpoena to appear at trial. It will be necessary for you to appear unless excused by the Assistant State’s Attorney assigned to the case. Written statements are not permitted instead of live testimony because a person charged with a crime has the right to ask questions of the witnesses who testify against him or her through his or her attorney.
It Is Very Important:
- That you keep us informed of any changes in your address or phone number. We will not be able to notify you of trial dates or changes if we cannot locate you.
- If you have been threatened by the defendant, or anyone else, after the crime was charged, report it first to the police and then to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Victim Witness Unit.
- If you will need an interpreter of any kind, please notify us as soon as possible so that we can arrange to have a qualified interpreter present.
Información en español.
Revised August 4, 2014