- Victim/Witness Services
- You as a Victim or Witness
- The Criminal Justice Process
- Contact Information
- Links & Resources
Victim & Witness Services
Usted Como Una Victima O Testigos
Sheriff’s Office Services
It is the policy of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to provide and maintain a strong link between the victims of a crime or tragedy and the Sheriff’s Office.
The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office goal is to assist victims of a crime and their families to return to the level of normalcy enjoyed prior to the offense or tragedy, and to ensure compliance with Chapter 960 of the Florida Statutes. Services offered by the Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit include:
- Protection – The Sheriff’s Office will take the appropriate steps to protect victims and witnesses.
- Scheduling – Line-ups, interviews and other appearances required by the Sheriff’s Office will be scheduled at the convenience of the victim/witness, when possible.
- Information –Sheriff’s Office Deputies, Investigators, and Victim Advocates will provide information on the procedures involved in the prosecution of cases and the victim/witness role in those procedures.
- Referrals – All Sheriff’s Office employees may provide referrals to other community resources. You may request a referral by contacting the Victim Services.
- Return of Property – As a victim of a crime, you have the right to a prompt return of property unless there is compelling law enforcement needs to retain it. When possible, the Sheriff’s Office will attempt to photograph your property, substitute the photographs as evidence and return the property to you unless there is a compelling reason to retain the property until after the trial process is over. If your property is being held as evidence, authorization to release the property must come from the State Attorney’s Office. If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact the Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit.
- Victim Notification – The Sheriff’s Office will promptly attempt to notify the victim or in the case of homicide, a relative of a homicide victim, of the arrest of the accused.
Other Victim/Witness Services
- Community Based Services: Many services are available through local programs located within the area. Referrals to these crisis intervention services, supportive or bereavement counseling, social service support, and community-based victim treatment programs are available from the Victim Services Unit of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, (321) 633-8414.
- State Attorney’s Office
You As a Victim or Witness
El Proceso Criminal Justicia
Your involvement as a victim or witness begins when a crime is committed and reported to a law enforcement agency (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office). Your role is vital in that you have knowledge, have seen or heard something concerning the act that was in violation of the law. One or more Sheriff’s Deputies may interview you with questions about the details of the crime, identity of suspects, location of the crime scene and other witnesses. It is important to recognize that investigation of crimes can be time consuming and your cooperation is necessary. Unlike movies or television, where crimes are investigated, arrests made and prosecution completed in the space of one or two hours, the Criminal Justice System must work within legal guidelines and definite procedures which may take days, weeks or even months.
No law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney, or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sexual battery as defined in chapter 794 or other sexual offense to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device as a condition of proceeding with the investigation of such an offense. The refusal of a victim to submit to such an examination shall not prevent investigation charging, or prosecution of the offense.
Information gained by a victim pursuant to F.S. 960.001, including the next of kin of a homicide victim, regarding any case handled in juvenile court, must not be revealed to any outside party, except as reasonably necessary in pursuit of legal remedies.The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit will work with you during this process.
The Criminal Justice Process
There are several stages in the criminal or juvenile justice process which are of significance to the victim or witness.
Stage I – Arrest
This stage follows the steps of an offender from the commission of the crime to the arrest. This stage includes steps such as:
- Filing of charges by complainant.
- Investigation by Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Investigators.
- Booking, fingerprinting and photographing the defendants at jail.
It is during this stage that the investigation of the crime will be conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. Depending on the type of crime committed, your case may be investigated by a uniformed Deputy, or possibly, an Investigator who specializes in a particular category of crimes. Processing of evidence may be required by a crime scene investigator or later laboratory analysis. The Deputy or Investigator handling your case may need to recontact you for additional information or to provide you with an updated status of your case. It suspects have been identified or arrested, the cases may be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for legal action. You may also work with a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Victim Advocate who will be assigned to your case.
Stage II – Arraignment in Open Court
The Defendant’s initial appearance or arraignment in open court may include:
- Reading of rights and charges.
- Entering of plea.
- Setting of bail.
- Release of bail or recognizance.
For many crimes, including assaults with weapons, burglary and thefts of items of over $300.00 in value, bail bond amounts have been previously determined by the Courts and are contained in a list of standard bond amounts. If the accused is unable to post the standard bond amount or if the murder, rape, robbery or type of charge is not included in the standard bond list, the accused will go to a hearing within 24 hours after arrest.
This is called “First Appearance Hearing”. At his hearing the judge listens to the facts, determines if there is “probable cause”, decides whether a bond amount will be set and, if so, determines the amount.
Some defendants will post bond immediately after arrest and will be released. You will not be advised if the defendant posts bond, unless the person arrested was charged with homicide, a sex offense, stalking, domestic violence, or violations of an injunction for protection. Otherwise, you must contact the Brevard County Detention Center to determine if the defendant has been or may be released, if that information is needed.
Stage III – Hearings
Preliminary hearings, probable cause determinations, discovery, and hearings on other motions may be conducted during this stage. A trial date may be set at this time.
Stage IV – Trial
The steps involving a trial may include:
- Bench or jury trial, impanel jury.
- Opening statements.
- Prosecutor’s case to establish burden of proof.
- Motion of defense.
- Defense case.
- Rebuttal case by Prosecutor.
- Closing argument and summation.
- Change to jury.
Stage V – Post Disposition
This stage includes several steps which may be followed if a defendant is found guilty. They include:
- Pre-sentence investigations and reports including criminal history.
- Sentencing which may include probation, fine, jail/prison, or death penalty.
- Discharge or conditional release.
You may receive additional information about these stages by contacting the Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Unit or the State Attorney’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office can answer questions regarding the investigation and arrest of offenders while the State Attorney’s Office can provide information on the subsequent stages.
- BCSO Victim /Services Unit: (321) 633-8414
- State Attorney’s Office Main: (321) 617-7510
- State Attorney’s Victim Services: (321) 617-7555
- State Attorney’s Witness Center: (321) 617-7317