WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
The prosecuting attorney's office usually begins working with victims as soon as charges are filed. In some situations, assistance can and is given even before the filing of charges. The first step taken is us normally the mailing of a letter to the victim notifying them that a charge or charges have been filed and informing them that they need to submit any restitution (reimbursement) requests to the prosecutor's office as soon as possible.
Idaho law requires prosecutors to notify certain victims of the rights provided to them by law. The prosecuting attorney's office provides this notification by mailing a form that lists the constitutional and statutory rights of a victim of crime. This form is included with the letter discussed in the previous paragraph. You can view and print out this notification by clicking this Notification of Rights Form link.
When a victim of crime wishes to exercise their legal rights, they can request a form from the prosecutor's office to fill out and send back. This form is a checklist that allows the victim to indicate which of the rights they wish to exercise. The most commonly marked items are to exercise the right to be notified of hearings and the right to address the court. The prosecuting attorney's office provides the completed form to the clerk of the court, who then has the responsibility of notifying appropriate authorities of the victim's request. If the victim indicates on the rights form that they wish to be notified of hearing dates, the prosecutor's office makes every effort to contact the victim about those dates (in addition to the notice that is supposed to be provided by the clerk). You can view and print out this form by clicking this Request To Exercise Rights Form link.
The prosecutor's office will assist victims in obtaining reimbursement for damages caused by the criminal conduct. This assistance is limited to the criminal case being prosecuted. Prosecutors will file a request with the court for reimbursement and will handle any necessary hearings regarding restitution. The victim is responsible for providing the information to substantiate their claim of damages. The prosecutor's office does not investigate the damage claim or obtain information from vendors and repair services for the victim. The prosecutor's office will help victims with commonly asked questions about restitution. These questions are usually directed at what things victims can obtain restitution for and how to go about collecting the necessary information to support their damage claim.
Lastly, the prosecutor's office will assist victims in exercising their right to address the court during hearings. The prosecutor and/or a secretary will explain the various ways a victim impact statements can be presented to the court.
There are other things that the prosecuting attorney's office does to assist victims. Many of the topics discussed in this section are discussed in much greater detail elsewhere on this web page. However, please contact the prosecutor's office if you have any questions about victim assistance that are not answered on this web site.
The rights of victims of crime are set out in Article I, Section 22 of the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho Code 9-5306. You may view these rights by clicking on the name of the law you want to review in the previous sentence.
The Idaho Attorney General's Office has prepared a legal manual regarding the rights of victims of crime. You can obtain a copy of the manual by contacting the Attorney General's Office or you can download it by clicking the Attorney General's web site link in the previous sentence.
FINANCIAL REIMBURSEMENT (RESTITUTION)
Idaho has passed statutes that allow criminal courts to order defendants to reimburse victims of crime for the damages caused by their criminal actions. The idea behind this statutory scheme is to provide a quicker and less expensive method for victims to obtain financial reimbursement, than going through the civil system. There is no guarantee that a court will order the defendant to reimburse the victim through the criminal case. However, this is accomplished in the great majority of cases.
The laws regarding the compensation of victims of crime are set out in
Title 19, Chapter 53 of the Idaho Code. You can read the various statues by clicking on the number that corresponds to the statute title listed below.
19-5301 DISTRIBUTION OF MONEYS RECEIVED AS A RESULT OF THE
COMMISSION OF CRIME
19-5302 VICTIMS OF CRIME -- RESTITUTION PRIORITY
19-5303 COST OF MEDICAL EXAMS TO BE PAID BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
19-5304 RESTITUTION FOR CRIME VICTIMS -- ORDERS TO BE SEPARATE --
WHEN RESTITUTION IS NOT APPROPRIATE -- OTHER REMEDIES --
EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS -- DEFINITIONS
19-5305 COLLECTION OF JUDGMENTS
19-5306 RIGHTS OF VICTIM DURING INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION, AND
DISPOSITION OF THE CRIME
19-5307 FINES IN CASES OF CRIMES OF VIOLENCE
The primary statute governing when and what courts may order the defendant to pay for in a criminal proceeding are set forth in Idaho Code 19-5304. That statute defines the people or entities that qualify to apply for reimbursement through the criminal system. It also sets out the types of damages for which restitution can be ordered and the procedural requirements for handling restitution requests. The types of loss that are reimbursable "includes, but is not limited to, the value of property taken, destroyed, broken, or otherwise harmed, lost wages, and direct out-of-pocket losses or expenses, such as medical expenses resulting from the criminal conduct, but does not include less tangible damage such as pain and suffering, wrongful death or emotional distress." Although the victim rights statute does not allow a criminal court to order restitution for such things as pain and suffering, victims maintain the right to seek these types of damages in civil court.
Collection of Restitution
Idaho Code 19-5305 provides that an order of restitution may be recorded as a judgment and the victim may execute as provided by law for civil judgments after forty-two (42) days from the entry of the order of restitution or at the conclusion of a hearing to reconsider an order of restitution, whichever occurs later. Therefore, once the order has become final the victim is allowed to use the civil laws to collect the judgment, including executing against the defendant's property to satisfy the judgment or garnish the defendant's wages. These are acts which the victim must take themselves. The prosecutor's office cannot prepare paperwork or otherwise assist victims to collect on the order of restitution. Any questions regarding how to go about carrying out these collection efforts should be referred to a private attorney.
Defendants are frequently required to may regular payments on restitution as a condition of probation. The defendant's probation officer will monitor these payments.
HOW VICTIMS RECEIVE THEIR REIMBURSEMENT
Defendants pay their restitution through the clerk of the court. This allows the court to track whether or not payments have been made and, if so, in what amounts. Each time the defendant pays an amount towards their restitution, the clerk of the court records the payment and sends a check to the victim for the amount that was paid.
In the case of large sums of restitution, it is common that the defendant does not have the means of paying the restitution all at once. Therefore, payments are frequently paid in smaller amounts over a period of time. This is a common source of frustration for victims to be paid over such a long period of time. However, given the poor financial state of many criminal defendants, this slow repayment process will remain an unfortunate reality for many victims.
IDAHO CRIME VICTIM COMPENSATION PROGRAM
Idaho has created a fund to assist victims of crime with financial hardships brought about as a result of criminal acts. To learn more about this program, please click this link to the Crime Victim Compensation Program of this web site.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ASSISTANCE RESOURCES
You can obtain specialized information about domestic violence by clicking this link to go to the Domestic Violence Services web page of this site.
INFORMATION ON OFFENDERS
The Idaho Department of Correction has instituted a crime victims notification service, known as the VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) program. VINE is a toll-free, 24-hour telephone hotline. Users can call anonymously for offender custody status updates and register for automatic notification. The Idaho Commission of Pardons & Parole is a partner in the VINE project so that VINE also offers parole and probation information including parole hearing, case expiration and parole eligibility dates.
Victims may call the IDOC's VINE Line at 1-877-VINE-4-ID (1-877-846-3443.)
Information about the location and parole eligibility of offenders sentenced to the Idaho Department of Correction can be obtained by clicking this link to IDOC's
Offender Search Page.
ADDITIONAL VICTIM RESOURCES
The Idaho Council on Domestic Violence & Victim Assistance provides assistance to victims and to victim advocates. They have a wealth of information on web site which can be accessed by clicking this link to theCouncil web page.
The National Center for Victims of Crime also has useful information on a variety of topics.
The Violence Against Women Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, has many resources for victims, victim advocates, attorneys and other persons involved in addressing domestic violence.
The American Prosecutor's Research Institute also has information to assist prosecutors and victim advocates, including research, technical assistance, and publications.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has information on dealing with domestic violence and resources for assisting victims of domestic violence.
National Victim Center - 1-(800)-FYI-CALL
The National Organization For Victim Assistance is a national clearinghouse for victim assistance information and resources.
Victim Assistance Online International victim/witness resource clearinghouse with links to local, national and international resources.
INFORMATION REGARDING CONVICTED FELONY OFFENDERS
The Idaho Department of Correction has a internet search engine which makes information about felony offenders, such as location and parole dates, available to the general public. You can go to that web page by clicking on this link to their
Offender Data Base Search.
If you've been a victim or crime or have witnessed a crime in Bingham County please report it to one of the following agencies:
||Bingham County Sheriff's Office - 785-1234
||Blackfoot Police Department - 785-1235
||Shelley Police Department - 357-3446
||Aberdeen Police Department - 397-4270 or, if no answer, 397-4161
||Idaho State Police - 236-6466 (Blackfoot and Pocatello) or 525-7377 (Idaho Falls)
||Fort Hall Police Department - 478-4000
||Federal Bureau of Investigation - 237-8815 (Pocatello) or (Idaho Falls)