Victims of federal criminal offenses are accorded certain rights under 18 U.S.C. 3771. Those rights include:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused;
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime, or of any release or escape of the accused;
- The right not to be excluded from any public court proceedings unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding;
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding;
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the government in the case;
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law;
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay and;
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy
- The Victim Witness Unit has been created to assist the victims of federal crimes and witnesses called by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the legal process. It is our job to provide information and assistance regarding the court process and referrals for services needed.
A person who has been physically or emotionally injured as a result of a crime may be eligible for financial assistance through the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Board.
To qualify for assistance:
- The crime must have occurred in Oklahoma on or after October 19, 1981.
- The crime must have been reported to a law enforcement agency within 72 hours.
- The claim for compensation must be filed within one (1) year of injury or death.
- The claimant must cooperate fully in the investigation and prosecution of the offender.
- Compensation shall not be awarded to a claimant if it would unjustly benefit the offender or accomplice.
- Compensation that could be awarded may be reduced or denied, depending on the degree of responsibility for the injury or death that is attributable to the victim.
The United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney's Office have taken several steps to make the participation by victims and witnesses more effective and meaningful. One of these steps is to prepare a "Victim Witness Handbook". We hope that it will provide the answers to many of your questions and will give you sufficient general information to understand your rights and responsibilities. Victims now have access to automated and online tracking of the criminal case. Please call this office to find out how to participate in this program. If you have to serve as a witness, remember your assistance is greatly needed and appreciated by your community.
Violence and abuse at the hands of a loved one are frightening, degrading and confusing. Have you experienced this violence or abuse? If so, you are a victim of domestic violence. You are also the victim of a crime. In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This Act, and the 1996 additions to the Act, recognize that domestic violence is a national crime and that federal laws can help an overburdened state and local criminal justice system. In 1994 and 1996, Congress also passed changes to the Gun Control Act making it a federal crime in certain situations for domestic abusers to possess guns. State and local authorities will continue to prosecute most of the domestic violence cases. However, the investigation of a case may reveal that federal prosecution is the best course of action. All the federal domestic violence crimes are felonies. It is a federal crime under VAWA:
- To cross states lines or enter or leave Indian country and physically injure an "intimate partner." 18 U.S.C. §2261.
- To cross states lines to stalk or harass or to stalk or harass within the maritime or territorial lands of the United States (this includes military bases and Indian country.) 18 U.S.C. §2261A
- To cross states lines or enter or leave Indian country and violate a qualifying Protection Order. 18 U.S.C. §2262.
It is a federal crime under the Gun Control Act:
- To possess a firearm and/or ammunition while subject to a qualifying Protection Order. 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(8)
- To possess a firearm and/or ammunition after conviction of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(9)
- For further victim service information, you may call the Victim-Witness Unit of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma, at (918)382-2700.