Circuit Court Docket Changes
Call the Victim Witness Unit after 4:30 p.m. for a recorded message, or check the list of changes in criminal Circuit Court cases for updates and excusals. Be prepared to reference your file or case number when contacting the office.
Receiving Your Subpoena
If you are a victim of or an eyewitness to a crime, approximately two weeks prior to trial, a Deputy Sheriff will deliver to your home a witness summons or subpoena to appear. You are required by law to appear on the scheduled trial date unless you have been excused by a representative of the State's Attorney's Office. Written statements are not permitted in place 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 via their attorney.
Preparing for Trial
If your contact information or address changes prior to your trial, call the State's Attorney's Office as soon as possible. We will not be able to notify you of trial dates or changes if we cannot locate or contact you.
If there is further unlawful contact by the defendant or if you have been threatened by the defendant, or anyone else, after the crime was charged:
- Call 911, then call the Family Violence Unit.
- Write down when, where and what occurred.
- Get the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the defendant contacting you.
- Give this information to the Family Violence Investigator assigned to your case.
If the defendant makes unwanted phone calls to your home or work, make a record of this contact:
- Hang up the phone long enough to get a dial tone.
- Dial *57. This service costs 75 cents per phone call.
- Hang up the phone and write down on a piece of paper the date and time of the call and what the defendant said to you.
- Tell the Assistant State's Attorney that you used *57 so that they may order the records from the phone company.
If you will need an interpreter of any kind, notify us as soon as possible.
One Week Prior to Trial
Call the State's Attorney's Office to discuss your case with the Assistant State's Attorney handling your case. Tell them if you have any saved messages from, or photos of injuries caused by, the defendant. This is evidence you should bring with you to court.
The Night Before Trial
Call the Victim Witness Unit after 4:30 p.m. for a recorded message, or check the list of changes in criminal Circuit Court cases for the following day.
The Day of Trial
On the date of your trial, report to the State's Attorney's Office (fifth floor, room 511) by 9 a.m. Office staff will direct you to the courtroom where your case will be heard and validate your parking if you are eligible. You will have an opportunity to speak to the Assistant State's Attorney assigned to your case at this time. Your case may not take place as early as scheduled. Please be prepared to wait.
It is important to look your best in court. Dress conservatively, dignified and discreetly as a sign of respect for the judicial system. Wear something you would to church, work or a nice social function.
- Suit and tie
- Sports coat
- Long-sleeve, button-down shirt with a collar and long pants
- Belt or suspenders
- Dress or woman's business suit
- Conservative pants suit or top and long slacks
- Sleeveless or muscle shirt
- Exercise or athletic attire
- Nothing provocative or too dressy—Tight or revealing tops, spaghetti straps, short skirts or cut-offs, sequins, etc.
- Sundress or strapless dress
- Crop tops—No exposed belly buttons
- T-shirts, especially ones with alcohol, drug or sexual references
- Jeans, unless they are the only long pants you own
- Clothing that is too small or too large
- Clothing that reveals your underwear
You may park for free in any of the following garages on the day of testimony:
You will need to bring your parking ticket along with your letter or summons to the following location:
- Before 9:30 a.m.—Reception Office, Room 329
- After 9:30 a.m.—State's Attorney's Office, Room 511
If you have an oversized vehicle such as a van or pick-up truck, you may park at the Tolbert garage.
Do not attempt to enter the courthouse with prohibited items.
- District Court—Cell phone usage within the courtroom without the permission of the judge.
- Circuit Court—Cell phone usage within the courtroom without the permission of the judge. No photography or recording by a cell phone is permitted in the courthouse.
- All courts—Weapons of any kind.
When your case is called, you may have to take the witness stand and testify if there is going to be a trial.
You will be asked questions first by the Assistant State's Attorney and then cross-examined by the defendant's attorney. It is important to pay attention to each question and answer each one truthfully. If you do not know the answer to a question, or the question is confusing to you, say so. Answer each question politely and loud enough for the judge to hear you. Try to remain calm, even though it is natural to be nervous.
During cross-examination, you may feel that you have already answered the questions you are being asked. Try not to become upset and answer each question to the best of your ability. If you hear an objection to a question, stop talking immediately. Wait until the judge indicates if you should answer the question.
Many times, cases that are postponed are not requested by the defendant until the day of trial. If the defendant's request is granted, a new trial date will be set and you will have to appear. However, some postponements are requested before the trial date. Call the Victim Witness Unit after 4:30 p.m. for a recorded message, or check the list of changes in criminal Circuit Court cases for the following day.
The following is a summary of the guidelines which describe the ways in which victims and witnesses of crime will be treated and assisted. These guidelines are part of Maryland's Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure, Article 11-1002.
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
- Court appearance problems
- Crime-related employer problems
- 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
- Being 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
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
- 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.
In accordance with the 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 your address or telephone number changes
This Victim and Witness Program does not:
- 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
- Provide child care
Being a victim or witness to a crime can take a toll on your well-being. Support groups and other resources are available to offer any help that you need. Review the list below for a support program that fits your needs.
- Circuit Court
- District Court
- Bad Check Restitution Program—Assists local businesses in recovering losses from bad checks.
- Battered Women
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 410-828-6390
- Baltimore County State's Attorney Family Violence Unit—Handles initial case preparation of all domestic violence cases and the trial of most Circuit court cases.
- Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center
- Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board—Provides financial assistance for innocent victims of crime.
- Maryland Judiciary—Information regarding the Maryland court system.
- Maryland Judiciary Case Search—A searchable database of Maryland court cases.
- Maryland Inmate Locator—Locate inmates housed in Division of Correction facilities.
- Maryland Sex Offender Registry Search—Locate registered sex offenders in your area.
- Maryland Victim's Rights Compliance—For victims of crimes who need more information about victims' rights.
- The Realities of Sexual Assault on Campus—Clearly defines many different forms of sexual assault, lists practical safety measures, provides a step-by-step assistance guide and additional resources for victims recovering from sexual violence.
- VINELink Case and Offender Search—Obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders. Victims and other concerned citizens can register to be notified when an offender's custody status changes.