Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights
The Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights, O.C.G.A. 17-17-1, et seq., provides individuals who are victims of certain crimes specific rights. Effective January 1, 2019, with the passage of SB 127 and SR 146 (also known as Marsy’s Law), these rights are constitutionally protected and enforced (Georgia Constitution Art. I, Sect. I, Paragraph XXX).
These rights include:
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings;
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the arrest, release, or escape of the accused;
- The right not to be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law;
- The right to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused;
- The right to file a written objection in any parole proceedings involving the accused;
- The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim;
- The right to restitution as provided by law;
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
- The right to be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case.
- The right to file a motion in the criminal case within 20 days of a court proceeding requesting to be heard if the victim has properly requested notification and is not given notice of said court proceeding.
The Crime Victims Bill of Rights specifically applies to victims of the following crimes:
- Assault and Battery
- Kidnapping, False Imprisonment and related offenses
- Reckless Conduct
- Cruelty to Children
- Stalking/Aggravated Stalking
- Cruelty to a Person 65 Years of Age or Older
- All Sexual Offenses
- Arson, Bombs and Explosives
- Forgery, Deposit Account Fraud, Illegal Use of Financial Transaction Cards, Other Fraud Related Offenses, Computer Crimes, & Identity Theft
- Sale or Distribution of Harmful Materials to Minors
- Elder Abuse
- Homicide by Vehicle
- Feticide by Vehicle
- Serious Injury by Vehicle
In general, after the crime occurs and is reported, and upon initial contact with a victim, any criminal justice agency, meaning an arresting law enforcement agency, custodial authority, investigating law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles, is responsible for advising him or her of the following:
- That it is possible that the accused may be released from custody prior to trial;
- That victims have certain rights during various stages of the criminal justice system;
- That victims have the right to refuse or agree to be interviewed by the accused, the accused’s attorney, or anyone who represents or contacts you on behalf of the accused;
- That additional information about these stages can be obtained by contacting the pertinent state and/or local agency involved, or by contacting the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council at 404-657-1956;
- That victims may be eligible for monetary compensation for certain out-of-pocket losses incurred as a result of their victimization from the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program administered by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council at 404-657-2222 or 1-800-547-0060;
- That victims may have available to them community-based victim service programs and that more information may be obtained by contacting the Georgia Call Line at 1-800-GEORGIA (1-800-436-7442) to connect to other services.
- That after an offender enters the prison system, the victim, or victim’s family member, can contact the Parole Board to give views and information about the case, find out what the Board is doing on the case, and request notification of any parole decisions. More information can be obtained about the post adjudication process by contacting the Georgia Office of Victim Services at 404-651-6668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim assistance organizations are encouraged to utilize the Georgia Crime Victim’s Rights Notification Card to help educate crime victims on their rights as well as connect them with valuable resources.