Crime Victim's Assistance
Crime Victim Information
The City of Eugene has established a program to assist victims in criminal misdemeanor cases that are prosecuted by the City Prosecutor’s Office. The staff of the City Prosecutor’s Office is committed to providing this service to prevent any additional stress which can sometimes occur in the complicated criminal justice system and to inform victims of their rights.
What Rights Do Crime Victims Have?
- To refuse an interview, deposition or other request for information by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or other person acting on behalf of the defendant
- To be consulted, upon request, regarding plea negotiations involving a crime
- To be present at, to be heard at, and upon specific request, to be informed in advance of any critical stage of the proceedings where the criminal defendant is present, including trial
- To receive restitution from the person or persons convicted of the crimes that caused the victim’s loss or injury
The crime victim’s advocate in the City Prosecutor’s Office provides information, advocacy, and general support to victims of crime, particularly crimes being prosecuted by the City Prosecutor’s Office.
A victim is a person who has suffered financial, social, psychological, or physical harm as a result of a crime and, in the case of a homicide, a member of the immediate family of the victim.
A defendant is a person charged with a crime. A defendant is not considered a victim.
Restitution is the amount of money ordered by the court to repay the victim and / or insurance company for financial losses caused directly by the commission of the crime. There is no guarantee with restitution because it is dependent on the defendant paying. The defendant is responsible for paying restitution.
What We Do
- Provide general information about the criminal justice system
- Maintain a system of notification to keep victims updated on their cases and advised of the final disposition
- Assist with determining restitution
- Assist with the return of property being held for evidence
- Accompany victims to court when requested
- Provide referrals to outside agencies, such as social services and community services
- Assist with crime victims’ Compensation Applications
The crime victim’s advocate identifies the victim(s) in a crime and sends a written notice of the charges filed and an explanation of a victim’s rights.
What We Don’t Do
- Give legal advice
- Provide financial assistance
- Maintain a 24-hour crisis line
- Provide professional counseling
The program is partially funded by the State of Oregon and employs one part-time position to act as the victim’s advocate. If you would like to contact the City of Eugene Crime Victim’s Advocate you may do so by calling 541-682-8432, or email.
Criminal Case Overview
When a crime is reported, the police are responsible for conducting an investigation. After completing their investigation, the police may submit their reports to the City Prosecutor’s Office. A prosecuting attorney then reviews the case and decides whether to charge an individual or individuals with a crime.
When a defendant (suspect) is arrested and taken to jail, the defendant must sign a release agreement before being released from custody. The conditions of the release agreement include appearing in court as ordered, not leaving the state without the permission of the court, and not having any contact (direct or indirect) with the victim of the crime for which the arrest has been made. The release agreement is in effect until the court case is concluded. If a victim is contacted by the defendant while the case is pending, the contact should be reported to law enforcement.
Filing of Criminal Charges
A criminal case begins when the City Prosecutor’s Office files with the court a charging document, called a complaint, against the defendant or a police officer files a citation with the court. That document sets forth the offenses with which the defendant is being charged.
The arraignment is the first court appearance after a defendant is arrested or issued a citation. At the arraignment, the defendant is formally advised of the criminal charges filed.
Entering a Plea
If the defendant enters a plea of not guilty, either a trial date will be set or the court may set a trial status report (settlement hearing). If the case goes to trial, victims and witnesses will be subpoenaed to testify and trials may be postponed from time to time.
If the defendant enters a guilty plea, the defendant may be sentenced at the time of the plea, or the sentencing may be scheduled for a later date to allow the victims to attend if they have so requested.
The sentencing is the final step in the prosecution, after the defendant has been convicted at trial or by entering a guilty plea. The sentence is the punishment imposed on the defendant and is determined by the judge within the boundaries set by Oregon law and the municipal code, according to the type of crime or violation. The City Prosecutor’s Office and the victim can make recommendations, but the judge has the final authority.
Restitution is reimbursement by the defendant for losses incurred directly as a result of the crime being prosecuted. Restitution may include property damage or loss and medical expenses or wages lost due to personal injury. At the conclusion of the case, the court may order the defendant to pay restitution to the victim as part of the sentence.
Crime Victims’ Compensation
If you have been a victim of crime in Oregon, the Crime Victims’ Compensation Program may be able to help you. To be eligible for compensation you must:
- Be a victim of a crime which occurred in Oregon or an Oregon resident victimized in a state without a victim compensation program
- Report the crime to the police or sheriff within 72 hours (May be waived with good cause)
- Cooperate fully to apprehend and prosecute the assailant
- Not have been involved in a wrongful act and/or not have provoked the assailant
- Apply for compensation within 6 months of the crime (May be waived with good cause)
Compensation losses / expenses may include:
- Reasonable medical and hospital expenses
- Victim’s loss of earnings due to personal injury
- Rehabilitation expenses
Compensable losses do not include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental suffering
- Nervous or mental shock due to property damage or loss
- Loss of care, comfort or companionship
- Inconvenience and interference with normal and usual activities apart from gainful employment
- Future impairment of earning capacity
Applications for Crime Victims’ Compensation may be obtained through the City of Eugene Crime Victim’s Advocate at 541-682-8432, or by contacting the Department of Justice directly at 503-378-5348. The application can also be downloaded.
City Prosecutor Website Disclaimer
The information on this site does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice contact the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral at 800-452-7636.