Frequently Asked Questions
What compensation is available to victims of crime?
Victims of crime who suffer from physical injuries as a result of the crime may be eligible for state compensation to cover medical expenses, psychological counseling, partial loss of earnings, or funeral expenses that were incurred as a result of their victimization. Qualifications for Criminal Injuries Compensation are:
- The crime occurred in Virginia and resulted in physical injury or death.
- The crime was reported to law enforcement within 120 hours after it happened unless good cause for delay is shown.
- The victim cooperated with law enforcement and was willing to prosecute in court.
- The value of the claim, not paid by other sources, must be at least $100.00.
- The crime did not involve a motor vehicle accident unless it was a result of a violation of the Drunk Driving Statute or the injuries were intentionally inflicted.
If you meet this criteria, please contact the Virginia Beach Victim-Witness Program or:
Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund
100 DMV Drive
P.O. Box 5423
Richmond, Virginia 23220
What if I am threatened to drop the charges or not testify?
Such a person is obstructing justice and is committing a crime, whether the harassment occurs before the crime is reported, or during the prosecution of the case. Contact the prosecutor handling your case and the law enforcement officer in charge of your case immediately.
What if the defense attorney contacts me about the case?
You may discuss the case with the defense if you wish, but you are not required to. You should inform the prosecutor handling your case either way.
How long until a prosecutor is assigned to my case?
A prosecutor will normally be assigned to a case after an investigative report is received from the Virginia Beach Police Department or other law enforcement agency investigating the case. This is usually between two weeks and one month after the date of the incident.
How do I find out who the prosecutor is for my case?
You will receive written notification from the Victim-Witness Program prior to your first court appearance. You may also call the Victim-Witness Program at (757) 385-8301 and request that information.
When does the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office handle domestic violence misdemeanors?
The Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney reviews all domestic violence cases and prosecutes such cases where any bodily injuries have been sustained and where sufficient evidence exists to support prosecution.
Can I drop the charges?
If the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office proceeds with the case, you can no longer drop the charges. Only the prosecutor assigned to the case may nolle prosse or request a dismissal of the charges.
What is a bond hearing and what is the victim’s role?
The defendant may request a bond hearing in which the judge reviews the defendant’s current bond and determines whether or not to reduce it. The victim has the right to be notified of such proceedings and may address the court. The victim informs
the court of any reason why the defendant should not receive a reduction, i.e. future threat to you or others; unemployed; unstable living conditions; or not living in this area.
What is a preliminary hearing?
It is a scheduled court event with testimony under oath. The judge, defendant, defendant’s attorney, the prosecutor, and any victims or witnesses subpoenaed are present. The prosecutor must prove to the judge that there is enough evidence to show that a crime has been committed (known as probable cause). The prosecutor will put on minimal evidence sufficient to justify further proceedings. If the prosecution establishes probable cause, the victim is usually required to testify, and the case is certified to the Grand Jury.
What resources are available in the community?
Many resources are found throughout our Victim-Witness Resources Referral List. For additional referrals, please contact the Victim-Witness Program at (757) 385-8301.
Who pays for travel expenses for a victim or witness who is no longer in the Hampton Roads area?
The Commonwealth of Virginia will reimburse certain travel expenses for victims or witnesses provided the following conditions are met:
- The victim or witnesses is subpoenaed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.
- The victim or witness travels more than fifty (50) miles in one direction to appear in court.
- The travel reimbursement has been approved by the prosecutor assigned to the case and arrangements are made through the Victim-Witness Program.
If you have any questions concerning travel or the reimbursement of travel expenses, please contact Debra Wright at (757) 385-8301.