Can Victims of Crime Sue Perpetrators?

If you have ever been the victim of a violent crime, you might be wondering what recourse you have. Violent crime victims are often left physically and emotionally harmed, but they can also experience significant financial loss. To make matters worse, victims often see their perpetrators walk free due to insufficient evidence.

Even when the courts rule in their favor, victims are still left paying for the damages on their own. This leaves them feeling lost and confused. It is important for victims to fully understand the options that are available to them. Most are unaware that they can sue their perpetrator to compensate for their loss.

When Can Victims Sue

Even when victims are aware of the possibility of taking legal action, they are not sure when they can do it. They believe they have no recourse if they lose in court and their perpetrator goes free. But you can sue even if the courts find the other party innocent in the criminal proceeding.

Most victims are unaware that civil cases are separate from criminal cases, which is what makes it possible to sue. But to succeed, you must have evidence of financial loss or emotional damage; therefore, you must pursue your case as soon as possible. As time goes by, your chance of winning is diminished. The most famous recent examples of this were the criminal and civil cases against O.J. Simpson in the 90s.

How to Sue

When you want to pursue a civil case for damages accrued due to criminal activity, it is vital you know the proper steps to take. If you have not already done so, you must file a report with local law enforcement. Next, you need to contact a lawyer and present your evidence. Many people make the mistake of not hiring the right lawyer for the task.

It is vital you ensure the lawyer you hire is experienced in retrieving compensation for crime victims, which optimizes your chance of success. You lawyer will prepare your case and present it. Next, you and the perpetrator will go before a jury or a judge. If you can display sufficient evidence, the court will likely rule in your favor, and you will receive the compensation you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Being the victim of a crime can cause anxiety and depression, and it can leave you feeling lost and confused. It is vital you take the proper steps to ensure you retrieve compensation for your damages; otherwise, you will likely get stuck paying for property damage or medical bills out of your own pocket. You must first report the crime and hire a lawyer. Your lawyer will help you prepare your case and present your evidence to a judge.

When The Police Fail To Read Your Miranda Rights

In March of 1963, a man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested by the Phoenix Police Department. After an attempt to use his written confession at trial, his court-appointed attorney objected. The case reached the Supreme Court of the United States, where Miranda’s conviction was overturned on the grounds he had not been properly advised of his rights against self-incrimination.

Now, over fifty years later, there are few who do not recognize the words “you have the right to remain silent.” Many can recite their rights from memory, largely due to the frequent use of them in scripts for police dramas.

Fifth Amendment

Under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, no person can be compelled to testify against himself. This is the basis for the right to remain silent. A suspect has the right to refuse to answer questions both in police custody and at trial. This right, combined with the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, is one of the most powerful rights a criminal defendant has.

Right Not Privilege

The Supreme Court’s rulings make advising a criminal suspect of their rights mandatory in all fifty states. Anyone in custody or facing interrogation and especially someone who has already been arrested must be “Mirandized” or read their rights and advised they have a right to counsel and to have an attorney present during questioning. Because these rights are so important, the failure to observe them can have consequences.

Excluded Evidence

If the police fail to advise a suspect of their rights in a situation where they are required to do so, any evidence they gain from questioning that suspect and possibly any evidence they gather as a result of what they learn by questioning that suspect can be excluded by the judge at trial. Occasionally this can result in a dismissal of charges, especially if the police were relying on a suspect’s confession as the key evidence to convict.

Exceptions

Occasionally, statements by a person who later becomes a suspect can be admitted into evidence despite the fact the person questioned was not advised of their rights. While this is a fairly standard exception to the rule, police have to tread a very thin line to avoid the appearance they are trying to manipulate the law to obtain evidence they otherwise would not have.

Despite the entertaining notion “the right to remain silent” was made up by an ambitious script writer, it is a central protection for anyone accused of a crime, and its purpose is to help guarantee the innocent will not be successfully prosecuted for a crime they did not commit.