Victim/Witness FAQs

Who do I contact if I have been a victim of a crime?
You may contact the Victim/Witness Department in the Pine County Attorney's Office at (320) 591-1567 or WINDOW at (320) 384-7996 or 384-7113 or (800) 644-0003.

Where is the Victim/Witness Office located?
Two days a week we are located in the County Attorney's Office in the Pine County Courthouse. The Pine County Attorney’s Office is located on the upper level of the Courthouse in Pine City. There is always an advocate available at our office located at 204 Fire Monument Road, Hinckley, MN 55037.

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, however individual cases may vary. As a victim you have the right to be notified of:

The charges;
Content of any plea agreements;
Changes in the schedule of court proceedings, including the date, time and place of sentencing;
Final disposition of the case;
Transfer of the offender from prison or custodial institution;
Escape and apprehension of the offender from prison or custodial institution.
You have the right to participate in the prosecution:

Right to object to a plea agreement;
Right to request a speedy trial;
Right to have a supportive person at the hearings with you;
Right to attend sentencing;
Right to give written objections to sentencing.
You have the right to protection against:

Witness tampering, which is a crime in the State of Minnesota;
You do not have to state your address in court;
The right to a secure, separate waiting area during court;
Employers may not discipline or dismiss victims or witnesses who are called in to testify in court.
You can also expect the following:

To receive support and accurate information;
To be free from intimidation;
To be assisted by your criminal justice agencies;
To have minimized your time and inconvenience as a victim or witness

What is Restitution?
Restitution is a court order for money that an offender pays to the victim for any out-of-pocket expenses that occurred as a direct result of the crime. Restitution can be ordered both in adult and juvenile criminal cases at sentencing (adult) and disposition (juvenile) hearings.

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

medical bills not covered by insurance;
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 Affidavit of Restitution must be stamped, notarized and include the defendant's name and court file number(s).

If you need help or assistance completing the Affidavit of Restitution form, please call the Pine County Victim/Witness Services at (320) 591-1567 or WINDOW at (320) 384-7996 or 384-7113 or (800) 644-0003.

What is Reparations?
Reparations 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 Pine County Victim/Witness Services Department can assist your with that process.

What is the difference between restitution and reparations?
Restitution:   Financial responsibility of the defendant
Only available if the offender is convicted of a crime and the judge orders it to be paid and 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 and is only available for victims of crimes reported to law enforcement.

Does not cover property losses

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. A Victim Impact Statement 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 to:

Present the statement in written form
Present the statement orally to the court
Request the prosecuting attorney or victim coordinator to orally present the statement.
Statements must be directed to the court and the judge, not to the defendent.
The following are items to consider including in your Victim Impact Statement:

A brief summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime
The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence
Jail, prison, work release privileges, community service can be addressed
A short statement of what outcome the victim would like and their reasons, including support for, or opposition to, treatment or community service programs
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
Do not repeat facts already presented