Maryland Courts

Witness

Victim Rights

Victim Rights

  • Victims of crimes have legal rights.
  • Victims may seek damages.
  • Attorney General handles Victim Assistance.



Frequently Asked Questions


Does the witness of a crime have rights? What should I do if I am afraid to testify?
Yes, a witness has certain rights. For information on the rights of crime victims and witnesses, contact The Board of Victim Services or the victim/witness coordinator of State's Attorney's office. If you are afraid to testify, you should contact the State's Attorney for assistance.

What happens if I get a subpoena to appear as a witness?
A subpoena to appear as a witness is a court order and must be obeyed. Failure to appear in court in response to a subpoena could place you in contempt of court. The subpoena may contain information or instructions about the trial. You should try to follow these instructions as it may save you time.

What should I do if I am unable to appear on the scheduled date?
You should contact the attorney who has called you as a witness as soon as possible. If you are being called as a witness for the state, contact the State's Attorney in the county where the trial is scheduled.

Do I have to appear in court if I already gave a statement before the trial or gave a statement to police?
Yes. Under our system of justice, the law requires a witness to appear in court and present the evidence under oath. In this way all parties in the case have an opportunity to question the witness. So even though you may have given a statement about the facts of the case, your presence at the trial is still necessary.

Want to know when an offender is released from jail, has an upcoming court hearing, or has changes to his/her parole or probation?
Call VINE for information or to sign up for free phone or email alerts! Toll-Free (866) 634-8463 — TTY (866) 847-1298 — http://www.vinelink.com

The Maryland VINE is a project provided to you by Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Maryland State Board of Victim Services.