I am a victim what can I do?
Have You Been a Victim of Juvenile Crime?
As the victim of a crime committed by a juvenile, you are likely to have questions about the services available to you from the Juvenile Court. The Rights of Crime Victims Act, passed by the Utah Legislature in 1994 gives crime victims certain rights.
These include the right to be treated with courtesy and respect, the right to a speedy disposition of your case, and the right to restitution for loss. The Juvenile Court has instituted the following procedures to secure the rights of juvenile crime victims.
If the police report on your case names you as a victim and the juvenile perpetrator is caught, you will receive a letter from the victims advocate or juvenile probation officer assigned to the case. This is the person you should contact with questions about the case, and about your rights and role in the process. The advocate's or probation officer's phone number is listed on the restitution letter that is mailed to you.
If you as a victim feel intimidated or afraid, the Court may appoint a legal representative or another person designated by you who acts on the your behalf.
After the police have responded to an incident, they write a report. If they determine the charges are serious enough, they will prepare a referral and send it, along with a copy of the report, to the Juvenile Court.
If an investigation is required to resolve the crime, it may take longer for the referral to be sent to the court. The court can give you no information about the case until the report has been received from the police.
The police case number is not the same as a Juvenile Court case number. It can only be used to request information from the Police Department.
Restitution Policies and Procedures of the Court:
Victim Compensation and Restitution
Again, if the police report indicates that there are possible restitution issues, a letter is sent to the victim requesting this information. This letter is titled, "Victim Impact Statement" and should be received by you (the victim) approximately 10 to 14 days from the time of the incident. This may vary depending upon the amount of time it takes the referral to reach the court.
If you do not receive a letter from the court within 10 to 14 days of the incident, you may call the court and request information on the status of your case.
As a rule, neither victim reparations nor court ordered restitution include punitive damages for injury or loss suffered by the victim. A lawsuit in civil court is usually required to recover punitive damages -- damages imposed as punishment, rather than as payment for specific, actual losses.
When restitution is claimed be sure to remember the following:
- Send copies of repair bills and estimates.
- You may request the replacement value of items that were destroyed, not the original cost.
- If you have insurance and the items are covered, you should only request the amount of your deductible.
- Victims may not claim your own labor, pain or suffering or time off work.
- Victims may not request restitution for items that have been recovered (undamaged). These items will be released by the police after the court hearing. Contact the probation officer handling your case to arrange for this release.
- Victim pamphlets, which explain your rights as a victim, are available at the court house.
After the Court Hearing
Once the case has been through court, you will receive a copy of the court order indicating the amount of restitution ordered and the due date. If more than one juvenile was charged with the crime, then the restitution amount will be divided among them.
Unless other arrangements have been made, the juvenile will make his restitution payments to the court. Each time a payment is made, you will receive a check from the Court. It takes the court three to four weeks to process these payments.
One option the Judge may suggest is Mediation. In Mediation, the victim and the juvenile meet together to discuss the offense and come to a mutually agreeable solution. If the Judge suggests this option, you will be contacted to see if you are willing to be involved in the process. All parties must agree to meet. If they do not, the matter is taken back to the Judge for disposition. For more information about mediation, call 801-378-3842. You can also talk to the probation officer in charge of your case about the mediation option.
What if the Juvenile Doesn't Pay?
A juvenile court obligation does not go away just because they turn 18 years of age. The Juvenile Court has jurisdiction regarding adults, if they owe fines or restitution, ordered while they were juveniles. An Order to Show Cause hearing will be scheduled for anyone who is overdue on accounts owed to the court. The judge may extend the due date, if it is warranted, or add additional penalties, including time in detention. The individual's driver's license can be suspended also. If he/she turns 18 without completing payment, their State income tax return can be garnished. The Juvenile Court makes every attempt possible to hold juveniles responsible for their court obligations, but be aware that large amounts of restitution can take time to collect. The victim has the right to pursue restitution claims civilly against the juvenile(s) parents. However, the court will suspend all efforts to collect restitution if this route is chosen.
The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.