Victim Impact Statement Booklet

When Does a Victim Impact Statement Happen? Victim Impact Statements are not presented during the first part of a trial. The focus of the first part of a trial is to determine the facts of the case in an effort to determine guilt or innocence. The Victim Impact Statement is presented after a defendant has been found guilty or pleaded guilty to the crime during the sentencing portion of the justice process. Concerns About Giving a Victim Impact Statement You retain the right, not to prepare a written statement and not to speak or read a statement in court. Victims/Survivors choose to forego this right for several reasons. Many are reasonable concerns but do require additional consideration. Cultural or Spiritual Concerns: Some faiths or cultures discourage participation in the criminal justice process. If this is an issue for you, explain it to the prosecutor. He/she will likely pursue the case in traditional fashion, but may grant your request to avoid active involvement. My Statement Won’t Matter: It is possible that the judge or jury may have decided how to sentence the offender before your statement is considered. However, keep in mind that judges often use the financial information in Victim Impact Statements when ordering the offender to pay restitution for all or some of the expenses related to the crime. A restitution order does not guarantee the offender will pay the amount ordered by the court, but it can be grounds for revoking probation or parole. It’s also quite possible that your Victim Impact Statement will make an impression on the judge or the jury, but you won’t know unless you present one.


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