What Are Victim Impact Statements And Panels?

If you are convicted of a crime that either caused harm to someone or potentially could have caused harm to someone, you might face consequences that involve the victims of the incident or victims of other incidents. This can occur through victim impact statements or victim impact panels, and here are a few things to know about these things.

What is a victim impact statement?

When someone is hurt by a crime committed by another person, this person is considered a victim. This might be a person that is directly hurt by the criminal, or it might be a loved one of a person who was hurt or killed. Victims are often asked and encouraged to write letters called victim impact statements. A victim impact statement is a letter or statement made by a victim that describes how they feel about the incident. It is designed to be read in front of defendants who are charged with the crimes that directly affected the person writing it, or they can be read to people facing similar charges.

If you commit a crime such as a DUI, and if you injure someone, that person might be at court during your case. That person might also stand up and read the letter or just speak from his or her heart to you. The point of this is to help criminals understand the effects of their actions.

What is a victim impact panel?

A victim impact panel is generally a group of several people who all have faced the effects of injuries or loss due to crimes. For example, the parents of a child who was killed by a drunk driver might take part in a victim impact panel. Defendants charged with DUI crimes might have the punishment of sitting before a panel like this to hear what how drunk driving has affected the individuals in the panel.

Why is it important to know these things when facing criminal charges?

If you are convicted of any type of crime that hurt someone or that could have hurt someone, you should be prepared to have to hear statements from victims or sit before a panel of victims. This consequence often helps people realize that their actions do not just affect themselves but also affect others.

Crimes that people commit can hurt other people, and the law gives rights to the people who are hurt by crimes. If you have questions about the charges you are facing, talk to a criminal defense lawyer in your city.