Your Rights As A Victim in District Court

The District Court handles the following types of cases:

  • Traffic cases
  • Minor criminal cases
  • Small claims
  • Non-jury matters

If your offender is being prosecuted in the District Court of your county (or Baltimore City), the following are your rights as a victim of crime:

  • Your Right to Be Treated with Dignity, Respect, and Sensitivity

Article 47 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights guarantees you, as the victim of crime, the right to be treated with dignity, respect, and sensitivity during all phases of the criminal justice process and by all agents of the criminal justice system.

  • Your Right to Be Notified of Court Events Related to Your Case

Maryland does not provide for mandatory notification of court events in District Court cases. However, you should always inform the State’s Attorney’s Office if you wish to be notified. You can do this by writing a letter to the State’s Attorney handling your case, sending a copy to the Clerk of the District Court, and a copy to the defense attorney. Be sure to include the defendant’s name and case number. You are also eligible to receive notification through the VINE system, an automatic notification system. VINE fact sheet

  • Your Right to Be Present at the Court Events Related to Your Case

You have the right to attend any court event that the Defendant has a right to attend. You must notify the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case, and the District Court Clerk, that you wish to be present at the proceedings. It is important that both the State’s Attorney and the District Court Clerk have your most recent address. If you are a witness to the crime, you may need to testify for the State. You may not be able to sit in the courtroom until after you testify. After you testify, you have the right to be present in the courtroom unless the Court determines otherwise. Please arrive at the courthouse early on the day of the court event and remember to check in with the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case when you arrive.

  • Your Rights to Be Heard Before Sentencing is Imposed

You have the right to give written and oral victim impact statements to the Court before sentencing. You may do this by obtaining a form from the prosecuting State’s Attorney or by writing your own statement detailing how the crime has impacted you and your family. As soon as you have completed your victim impact statement, send a copy to the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Clerk of the District Court, and the defense attorney. You also may have the right to speak at the sentencing. If you wish to do this, please notify the prosecuting State’s Attorney in writing as soon as possible asking the prosecutor to request this right for you at Court. Be sure to include the case number and the Defendant’s name on all correspondence.

  • Your Right to Restitution from Your Offender

You have the right to request from your offender for out-of-pocket costs incurred as a direct result of the crime. To request this restitution, you should file a Request for Restitution with the State’s Attorney prosecuting the case, the Clerk of the District Court Clerk, and the defense attorney. Your Request should detail all expenses and should include receipts and bills, if they are available. You also have the right to collect on a judgment of restitution.