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FAQs - Victim Witness

Changes to a police report - How can I drop charges against someone, make additions to a police report, or correct errors on a report?

To make changes, corrections or additions to a police report, contact the officer who took the report.  If that is impossible, you may contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to request that a supplemental report be made. 

What is the difference between restitution and Crime Victim Compensation?

Restitution is something the defendant is ordered to pay to the victim, upon sentencing by the judge in the case. Often, court cases take some time to be resolved and for the defendant to be sentenced. In addition, the defendant may only pay very small amounts every month toward their restitution. For all of these reasons, it sometimes takes a while for the victim to receive any restitution monies.

Can I obtain restitution for things such as pain, suffering, and mental anguish?

Not through the criminal justice system.  Restitution is ordered for out of pocket expenses directly related to the crime.  If you want to seek compensation for pain and suffering, you may wish to file a civil suit.  However, neither the Victim Witness Unit or the District Attorney’s Office can advise you in such a matter. (SEE RESTITUTION)

Are there restitution laws in Colorado?

According to Colorado law, defendants may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim upon sentencing by the judge in the case. Victims can be reimbursed for damages or losses suffered as a result of a crime, provided the judge orders the defendant to pay restitution. To request restitution, a victim must furnish information about repair costs, medical bills, or the value of items that have been stolen and not recovered. The Deputy District Attorney gives this information to the judge who orders the defendant to pay restitution.

How could the defendant plead "not guilty?" I saw him/her do it, he/she confessed.

In our justice system, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Almost all defendants plead "not guilty" when charged with a crime.  They may decide to change their plea after talking with a lawyer, or they may decide to go to trial and require that the State prove them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

I was subpoenaed by the defendant, not the prosecutor. Does this change anything?

Our Victim Witness Unit helps witnesses that the Prosecutor's office subpoenas to court, not witnesses whom the defendant subpoenas.  If you are subpoenaed by the Defense you should contact them regarding testifying dates and times.

What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order directing you to appear in court at a particular time and place. It may be delivered by mail or in person. It does not mean that you are charged with a crime.  Its purpose is to bring you to court to testify.  Usually you are notified in advance of the court date. If you change your address or telephone number, immediately notify the Victim Witness Unit of the District Attorney’s Office at (970) 247-8850 or (800) 835-8522. We may need to contact you if there is a change in the date or time you are to appear.

What if someone threatens me, as a witness?

Someone who unlawfully threatens witnesses is obstructing justice and committing a crime. If someone threatens you, call law enforcement:  the investigating officer or the police immediately. In an emergency situation, call 911. Do so as soon as possible so that threats can be documented and appropriate action taken. After calling the police, please call the Victim Witness Unit or Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case.

Why am I a witness? I didn't see the crime occur.

Witnesses are not limited to "eye witnesses". You may have seen or heard the crime happen or may know something about it. You may also know something about a piece of evidence, or may know something that contradicts another witness' testimony.

What if the defense attorney or defense investigator contacts me?

It is always your choice who you speak with or whether you speak to anyone about the case. If you have any concerns about talking with anyone (lawyers, investigators, etc.), or concerns as to who someone is you should contact the Victim Witness Unit or Deputy District Attorney assigned to the case.

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