California Victims’ Rights

California crime victims have many rights.  Some of them are listed below with a reference to the law in which the right is found. 

The law enforcement officer assigned to the case must provide a crime victim with a AMarsy Rights@ card explaining the rights of crime victims enumerated in California Constitution Article I, section 28(b). Penal Code section 679.026(c). 

These are the Marsy Rights: 

To have the safety of the victim and the victim=s family considered in fixing bail and release conditions;

To prevent disclosure of a victim=s address and medical or counseling treatment information;

To refuse an interview or deposition by the defense;

To confer with the prosecutor about the arrest of and charges against the defendant;

To be heard at release, plea and sentencing proceedings;

To receive the presentence report at the same time as it is provided to the defendant;

Upon request, to notice before any pretrial disposition;

Upon request, to reasonable notice of all proceedings;

To the prompt return of property;

To be informed of and to participate in all parole procedures and  

To restitution.

Other rights now in the California Constitution because of Marsy=s Law are:

Once a restitution order has been entered, the victim must receive the first dollars of any payment from the defendant. California Constitution Article I, section 28(b)(13)(C).

The victim has standing to enforce these rights before the trial court and on appeal personally, through a representative or through counsel. California Constitution Article I, section 28(c)(1).

The right to receive notice of and an opportunity to be heard  prior to release of a defendant on bail, if the defendant is charged with a felony. California Constitution Article I, section 28(e)(3).

Other rights of victims:

The probation department must notify the victim of all sentencing proceedings. Penal Code section 1191.1

The county victim-witness assistance program, if one exists, must assist the victim in obtaining restitution if the victim requests it. Penal Code section 13835.5(a)(14).

The court must provide the victim with a certified copy of the restitution order on request. Penal Code section 1214(b).

Victims may have special rights or protections during hearings. In cases of sexual molestation of a minor or a dependent person with a substantial cognitive impairment, the victim=s testimony and testimony about the victim may be closed to the public. Penal Code sections 859.1 and 868.7(a)(1)

Victims have certain rights to confidentiality. Under the California constitution victims have the right to prevent disclosure of their addresses and information about medical treatment or counseling. California Constitution Article I, section 28(b)(4). See also Penal Code section 964.

Even though a victim seeks restitution for counseling, the defendant cannot see information about the counseling (except for bills). People v. Garcia (2010) 185 Cal. App. 4th 1203, 111 Cal. Rptr. 3d 435.

Defense counsel may not disclose victims= addresses to defendants. Penal Code section 1054.2

A sexual assault or sexual crime victim cannot be cited for contempt for refusing to testify about the crime. California Code of Civil Procedure section 1219 (b).

If would like information on California victim restitution, please go to and see the FAQ section and other information.

 Prepared by attorney Antonio R. Sarabia II, [email protected],

                                    October 2010.