If you have victim/witness related questions that are not addressed on
this page please call one of the our Victim/Witness Coordinators
Basic Steps in the Criminal Justice System

Offense - Crime is Committed.

Investigation - the collection of information, statements, and evidence to
determine who committed the crime. (Continues throughout the process)

Arrest - the accused is charged with the crime and taken into custody.

First Appearance - the defendant is informed of the charges against
him/her by a judge, is given an explanation of his/her constitutional rights,
and is appointed an attorney if he/she cannot afford one.

Probable Cause and/or Grand Jury Indictment - (Felony Cases only)
determines if a crime has been committed and if there is sufficient evidence
to believe the defendant committed the crime.

Entry of Plea - guilty or not guilty.

Trial - if the defendant pleads not guilty there will be a trial before a
presiding judge and a jury of 12 citizens who will hear and evaluate the
evidence to determine the defendant's guilt or innocence.

Sentence - if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty to the charges
against him the judge will sentence him to prison for a certain length of time
or the judge may suspend the sentence and place the defendant on probation.

Possible Appeal to a Higher Court - an attempt to get a conviction
overturned by finding errors in the law during the trial or an allegation by
defendant that his attorney was incompetent in representing him/her.

Serve Sentence - the defendant is placed in the Department of Correction
for his/her prison term or is placed on probation

Bond is set after the arrest and can be reviewed at any court hearing
afterwards. Plea negotiations and guilty please may happen anytime before a
jury verdict. These steps may vary from county to county.
                 Victims Rights
You have the right to be given information about the crime, how the criminal
justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services to

You have the right to be informed of and be present at court proceedings of
the accused.

You have the right to talk with the prosecutor and provide a Victim Impact
Statement (VIS).

You have the right to be heard at the sentencing of the accused and at other
times as allowed by law.

You have the right to receive restitution.

You have the right to receive information about the conviction or final
disposition and sentence of the accused.

You have the right to present your views and concerns to the Governor or
agency considering the release of the accused.

A Victim's Responsibilities:
If you wish to receive notification and to be informed of court proceedings
you must notify your Victim Witness Assistant at the District Attorney's
office of any change of address or telephone number you may have.

If you are served with a Subpoena (a court order), you must appear in court
unless you are expressly released from it.

What to do if Threatened or Intimidated
Threatening a witness is a crime in North Carolina. If you receive a threat
from the defendant or anyone else, call the police or contact the prosecutor
or the Victim Witness Assistant in the District Attorney's office.

The Victims Compensation Program
The Victims Compensation Program, administered by the Division of Victim
and Justice Services, is designed to assist persons and crime survivors who
suffer personal injury or death caused by criminal conduct which occurred on
or after August 13, 1987. Under North Carolina law, the victim, his/her
survivors, or a legal representative may file a claim within two (2) years to
receive compensation from this fund.

Who is eligible for Compensation?
The victim, a dependant of a deceased victim, a person who is authorized to
act on behalf of a victim or dependant, a third person who provided benefit
to the victim of his/her family other than in the course or scope of his
employment, business or profession.

What may be compensated?
The compensation program is designed to cover medical expenses, lost wages,
and/or replacement services (i.e. childcare expenses). A maximum of $30,000
may be paid for any award except when the victim dies as a result of the
crime. In that case, an additional $3,500 may be paid to survivors for
funeral expenses.
Victim/Witness Program
Edgecombe County (252) 824-3210
Nash County (252) 220-3010
Wilson County (252) 206-3010
Rocky Mount Judicial Center (252) 212-3110