- Who do I contact if I have been a victim of a crime?
If your matter has already been reported to law enforcement, you may contact the Victim Services Coordinator in the Carlton County Attorney's Office at 218-384-9170. Office hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
For crisis advocacy services, please contact Family Pathways at (800) 338-7233, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Where is the Victim/Witness Office located?
The Carlton County Attorney's Office has a full time Victim Services Coordinator whose office is located in the County Attorney's Office. The Carlton County Attorney’s Office is located on the upper level of the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center, 317 Walnut Avenue, Carlton, MN 55718.
- What is Restitution?
Restitution is a court order for money that an offender pays to the victim for any out-of-pocket expenses that occurred as a direct result of the crime. Restitution can be ordered both in adult and juvenile criminal cases at sentencing (adult) and disposition (juvenile) hearings.
- How can I request restitution?
You must complete an Affidavit of Restitution form. Here you will provide a list of your losses, the dollar value of repair or replacement, and receipts or reasons justifying the amounts. The form should be completed as soon as possible. Examples of losses covered by restitution include, but are not limited to:
- medical bills not covered by insurance;
- lost wages;
- repair or replacement of stolen or damaged property. Copies of bills, receipts, insurance claim forms and estimates should be attached to the Affidavit of Restitution form. The Affidavit of Restitution must include the defendant's name and court file number(s).
If you need help or assistance completing the Affidavit of Restitution form, please call the Carlton County Victim Services Coordinator at (218) 384-9170.
- What is Reparations?
Reparations is money available to assist victims with certain costs incurred as a result of a crime, such as:
- medical care
- counseling costs
- lost wages
- substitute child care
- funeral expenses
Property damage or loss is not covered.
Most claims must be filed within 3 years of the incident. Victims of violent crimes should file a claim for reparations even if they are also requesting restitution. It is not guaranteed the offender will pay restitution and not all victims are eligible for reparations. The Carlton County Victim Services Coordinator can assist you with that process.
- What is the difference between restitution and reparations?
Restitution: Financial responsibility of the defendant
Only available if the offender is convicted of a crime responsible for the financial loss and the judge orders it to be paid and can only be ordered for expenses directly related to a crime, including property losses.
Reparations: Financial assistance from the government
Available for victims of violent crimes regardless of whether the case is charged, or the offender is found guilty and is only available for victims of crimes reported to law enforcement. Does not cover property losses.
- What is a Victim Impact Statement?
A Victim Impact Statement may be the only means of making offenders aware of the harm they have caused. A Victim Impact Statement can be written or oral. It gives the victim an opportunity to provide information for the judge to consider at sentencing, and allows the victim to express the pain, anguish and financial devastation the crime has caused. A Victim Impact Statement provides the court with information to aid the judge in his/her decision regarding an appropriate sentence and suitable restitution.
According to the law, the victim determines how the statement should be presented at the sentencing or disposition hearing. They may choose to:
- Present the statement in written form.
- Present the statement orally to the court.
- Request the prosecuting attorney or victim coordinator to orally present the statement.
- Statements must be directed to the court and the judge, not to the defendant.
The following are items to consider including in your Victim Impact Statement:
- A brief summary of the harm or trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the crime.
- A summary of the financial loss or damage suffered by the victim as a result of the crime.
- The victim's reactions or objections to the proposed sentence.
- Jail, prison, work release privileges, community service can be addressed.
- A short statement of what outcome the victim would like and their reasons, including support for, or opposition to, treatment or community service programs.
- Highlights about the victim, their past accomplishments, hopes for the future and what the crime has done to these activities.
- The overall effect the incident has had on the victim and family.
- I’m afraid the offender will want to retaliate against me or my family members.
If you are concerned for the safety and wellbeing of you or your children, the County Attorney's Office can request that a no contact order be issued as a condition of the defendant's release. Also, in cases of domestic abuse, you can get help in obtaining an Order for Protection through Family Pathways. Any violations of these orders should be reported to the police and the probation office.
- How do I know if the offender is still in custody?
There are a number of ways to track defendants who may be in custody. You will need the name of the defendant. A date of birth is helpful. You may check the Carlton County Jail Roster.
If the defendant is in custody in a state prison, information may be accessed through the Minnesota Department of Corrections website.
VINE, an automated system that will track offenders in MOST of Minnesota's county jails, is available at 1-877-MN-4-VINE (1-877-664-8463). You may also receive a document with sentencing information from your Victim Services Coordinator that will enable you to request that the custodial facility notify you when the defendant is scheduled to be released or furloughed.
- How do I prepare for testifying?
Guide for Testifying
What does it mean to be subpoenaed?
When a crime is committed, regardless of the offense, it is considered a wrong against the State. As a result, the State of Minnesota files a complaint on behalf of its residents. This office represents the State of Minnesota.
You have been subpoenaed on behalf of the State to testify about facts concerning the alleged crime. A subpoena is a Court Order requiring you to come to court and testify. We realize that being a witness may carry with it substantial burdens. It is our hope to eliminate as many of these difficulties and uncertainties as possible. If your employer says you cannot go to court, call us.
On your day in court
- Dress appropriately. You will be appearing in front of a judge and possibly a jury.
- Bring your subpoena with you. It contains important information on where the trial will take place.
- Arrive promptly, but bring materials with you to help pass the time in the event of a delay.
- Plan accordingly. Your appearance may be two hours, or it could be the better part of a day. Do not plan to return to work.
When you are on the stand
- Tell the truth.
- Speak clearly and in your normal conversational tone of voice. A court reporter will be taking down everything you say. Answer with a "yes" or "no", and not with "yeah", "uh-uh" or shaking of head.
- Speak in your own words. Visualize the incident and speak frankly.
- Listen carefully to each question. Never answer a question that you do not fully understand. You may ask for the question to be clarified. If you realize you have answered a question incorrectly, ask to correct it immediately.
- Stop speaking if you hear the word "object". The judge will instruct you further.
- Always be polite. Do not be argumentative or sarcastic.
- When at all possible, give positive, definite answers. If you do not know or are not sure of the answer, say so. Do not guess. There is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know". You can be positive about the important things without remembering all the details.
- Testifying for a substantial length of time is surprisingly tiring. If you feel you need a break, tell the judge.
Things not allowed in court
- Active pagers and cellular telephones
- Tobacco in any form
- Unnecessary conversation (i.e. loud whispering)
- Verbal or nonverbal reaction to what is happening in court
- Cameras, recording devices
Changes in dates or times
You should call Court Administration's recorded message after 5:00 p.m. on the evening before your court date to make sure the case was not taken off the calendar. The number for the recorded message is (218) 673-5064.
If the case is still going to trial, but the date or time you are required to appear in court changes, you will be notified.
This office will do everything possible to make your experience in court a positive one. We will explain the court process, review your testimony and familiarize you with the courtroom. Typically, you will only be able to be in the courtroom during your testimony. If you want to hear other testimony, please ask the prosecuting attorney.
You can receive witness fees for attending court. If you are a minor child, you and your parent who brings you will receive witness fees. These fees include lost wages and mileage. This will be more fully explained on the day of trial.