Crime Victim Frequently Asked Questions


Who do I contact if I have been a victim of a crime?

You may contact the Victim/Witness office at 763-765-4756 or 763-765-4757 or 1-800-433-5244 or email us at attorney@co.sherburne.mn.us

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Where is the Victim/Witness Office located?

We are located 2 miles west of Elk River parallel to Highway 10 in the Sherburne County Government Center. Our office is on the second floor. Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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What should I expect in a criminal proceeding?

The court process is often lengthy and confusing. The following is a general outline of the criminal prosecution procedures and stages. Individual cases may vary.

First Appearance/Arraignment: At this hearing, a defendant arrested with or without a warrant or served with a summons or citation appears before a judge, is advised of the nature of the charge, receives a copy of the complaint, if not already received, is informed of their rights, including the right to an attorney, and is appointed a public defender if unable to afford counsel. The Judge may set bail and advise the defendant of the conditions under which the defendant may be released.

Omnibus Hearing: If the defendant does not plead guilty, the court shall hear and determine all motions made by the defendant or prosecution, including a motion that there is an insufficient showing to believe that the defendant committed the offense charged. The court shall determine any other constitutional, evidentiary, procedural or other issues that may be heard or disposed of before trial and such other matters as will promote a fair and expeditious trial.

Pre-Trial Conference: At this hearing, plea agreements are negotiated with input from victims. Victim presence is not required but is requested. If the defendant pleads guilty, sentencing is sometimes on the same day. If the defendant pleads not guilty in any case, a trial date is set.

Trial: Criminal trials include a jury unless the defendant waives a jury trial, in which case the trial will be to the judge. Witnesses are called to testify about the facts of the case. The victim is required to testify if subpoenaed.

Sentencing: If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty following a trial, the judge imposes punishment which can include jail or prison, fines, community service, restitution to the victim, terms of probation, counseling or treatment programs, etc. Victims are encouraged to attend and give a victim impact statement.

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What is Restitution?

Restitution may be ordered by the Court to restore the victim for expenses incurred related to the crime. Restitution can be ordered both in adult and juvenile criminal cases at sentencing (adult) and disposition (juvenile) hearings.

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How can I request restitution?

You must complete an Affidavit of Restitution form. Here you will provide a list of your losses, the dollar value of repair or replacement, and receipts or reasons justifying the amounts. The form should be filed as soon as possible.

To recuperate your losses, we need to have this information before a plea of guilt.

Examples of losses covered by restitution include, but are not limited to:

  • medical bills not covered by insurance
  • transportation
  • lost wages
  • repair or replacement of stolen or damaged property

Copies of bills, receipts, insurance claim forms, and estimates should be attached to the affidavit of restitution form. The form must also be stamped, notarized, and include the defendant's name and court file numbers. If you need help or assistance completing the affidavit of restitution form, please call the Sherburne County Crime Victim/Witness Office at 763-765-4756 or 763-765-4757 or 1-800-433-5244.

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What is Reparation?

Reparation is money available to assist victims with certain costs incurred as a result of a crime, such as:

  • medical care
  • counseling costs
  • lost wages
  • substitute child care
  • funeral expenses

Property damage or loss is not covered.

Most claims must be filed within 3 years of the incident. Victims of violent crimes should file a claim for reparations even if they are also requesting restitution. It is not guaranteed the offender will pay restitution and not all victims are eligible for reparations. The Sherburne County Victim/Witness Office can assist you with that process.

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What is the difference between Restitution and Reparation?

Restitution:

  • Financial responsibility of the defendant
  • Only available if the offender is convicted of a crime and the judge orders it to be paid
  • Can only be ordered for expenses directly related to a crime, including property losses

Reparations:

  • Financial assistance from the government
  • Available for victims of violent crimes regardless of whether the case is charged or the offender is found guilty
  • Only available for victims of crimes reported to law enforcement
  • Does not cover property losses

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What is a Victim Impact Statement?

A Victim Impact Statement may be the only means of making offenders aware of the harm they have caused. A Victim Impact Statement can be written or oral. It gives the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing and allows the victim to express the pain, anguish, and financial devastation the crime has caused. It also provides the court with information, which leads to appropriate sentences and suitable restitution.

According to the law, the victim determines how the statement should be presented at the sentencing or disposition hearing. They may choose one of the following:

  • Present the statement in written form;
  • Present the statement orally to the court; or,
  • Request the prosecuting attorney or victim coordinator to orally present the statement.

The following are items to consider including in your Victim Impact Statement:

  • A brief summary of the harm or trauma suffered as a result of the crime;
  • A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered as a result of the crime;
  • The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence;
  • Opinion regarding jail, prison, work release privileges, community service can be addressed;
  • A short statement of what the desired outcome should be, including support for, or opposition to, treatment or community service programs, and the reasons in support of such outcomes;
  • Highlights about the victim, their past accomplishments, hopes for the future, and what the crime has done to these activities;
  • The overall effect the incident has had on the victim and family;

We encourage you to limit the facts to those which are unique to you and which the Court does not have knowledge of already.

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Attorney Contact:

Sherburne County Govt Center
ATTN: County Attorney
13880 Business Center Dr NW
Suite 100
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Office Location & Hours

Phone: 763-765-4725
800-433-5244
Fax: 763-765-4747

attorney@co.sherburne.mn.us
Contact Sherburne County with your questions, comments and feedback