Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need to be present in Court?
A: Generally, you do not need to be present in court unless you have received a subpoena. However, as a victim you have the right to be present if you wish.
Q: Do I get reimbursed for coming to court?
A: If you are subpoenaed to testify, you should receive a Witness Subpoena fee. The fee is $5.00 plus $.07 a mile for your travel.
Q: Can I drop the charges against the offender?
A: No. It's important to understand that it is the Commonwealth of Pa. that has brought the charges against the offender. You do, however, have a right to speak to the prosecuting attorney regarding your desire to drop charges.
Q: How long will the case take to go to trial?
A: Each case is different. Many factors go into whether or not a case will go to trial and when. It is important for you to stay in contact with your Victim Advocate who will be working closely with the prosecuting attorney. Your advocate can speak to the prosecuting attorney to find out what factors may delay a case from going to trial.
Q: When will I get my restitution?
A: Upon sentencing, the defendant will work closely with the Probation Department in order to begin making restitution payments. The defendant has the entire term of his/her sentence in which to repay monies owed. It is important to note that there are times when a defendant is unable to pay. Restitution is not guaranteed.
Q: Do I need an attorney?
A: No. The Assistant District Attorney handling your case is representing the Commonwealth. You, being the victim of the crime are a witness for the Commonwealth. The only time you would need an attorney is if you were to file a civil suit against the offender.
Q: Do I have to talk to a defense attorney?
A: The only time you have to speak to a defense attorney is during a hearing and when you are under oath.
Q: Do I have to talk to the media?
A: No. You do not have to talk to the media. It is important to understand the media has a right to be in and around the courtroom. If you are approached, you may tell them you have no comment and they will respect that, however, you may still be filmed. Speak to your advocate if you have a strong desire not to be approached or filmed. The advocate can act as a liaison to the media to express your wishes.