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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a victim?

Prior to the passage of Proposition 9, "Victim" was defined under the Penal Code "as the person against whom a crime had been committed." With the passage of Proposition 9, "victim" as used in the California Constitution article I, § 28 is defined as "a person who suffers direct or threatened physical, psychological, or financial harm as a result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquent act. The term 'victim' also includes the person's spouse, parents, children, siblings, or guardian, and includes a lawful representative of a crime victim who is deceased, a minor, or physically or psychologically incapacitated.

The term 'victim' does not include a person in custody for an offense, the accused, or a person whom the court finds would not act in the best interests of a minor victim." (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(e).)

How does a victim enforce their rights under Marsy's Law?

A victim, the retained attorney of a victim, a law representative of the victim or the prosecuting attorney upon request of the victim, may enforce the rights enumerated in subdivision (b) of Section 28 of Article I of the California Constitution in any trial or appellate court with jurisdiction over the case as a matter of right. The court shall act promptly on such a request.

Does every victim have a right to receive a Marsy's Card or just victims of violent crimes?

Penal Code section 679.026(b) and 679.026(c) states that every victim of crime has the right to receive a Marsy's Rights card.

When does the Marsy's rights card need to be given to the victim?

Penal Code section 679.026 (c)(1) mandates that every law enforcement agency investigating a criminal act and every agency prosecuting a criminal act shall, as provided herein, at the time of initial contact with a crime victim, during a follow-up investigation, or as soon thereafter as deemed appropriate by investigating officers or prosecuting attorneys, provide or make available to each victim of the criminal act without cost or charge a "Marsy's Rights" card.

If you wish to obtain a Marsy's Card, you may download one from the Attorney General's webpage at: http://oag.ca.gov/victimservices/marsy.

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