Although our office typically represents individuals who are accused of committing a crime, there are times when it is necessary for crime victims to retain our services. Keep in mind that although the job of the prosecutor is to seek justice, just as a crime victim seeks justice, the prosecutor’s office does not represent the crime victim and is not the crime victim’s attorney.
Below is Part 2 of our blog post addressing situations in which a crime victim should consider hiring his or her own attorney.
Situation 3: The crime victim intends to bring a civil suit against the criminal defendant.
In most cases, law enforcement has much easier access to evidence and other resources than an attorney in a civil case. By hiring an attorney, a crime victim will have an advocate to ensure that the investigation is as thorough as possible so that any evidence that is revealed can be used in a subsequent civil case. One such example would be the use of search warrants to obtain evidence. Another example would be to interview all potential witnesses and “lock them in” so that it would be difficult for uncooperative witnesses or witnesses who are friendly with the criminal defendant to change their stories at a later time. The police typically have the advantage of investigating matters before anyone else can get involved. Some police departments are much more thorough in their investigations than others. By having an advocate who can effectively communicate with the police and prosecutor, crime victims can take steps so that his/her case is properly investigated so that any and all favorable evidence can be collected and preserved for use after the criminal case.