OVA: Who is a Crime Victim?

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WHO IS A CRIME VICTIM?

OVERVIEW

 

The term “crime victim” or “victim of crime” is defined differently in different parts of the law (i.e., the Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.)).  These differences can be important because the definition of who is and who is not a crime victim can determine whether a crime victim is eligible for certain services, including victim advocacy services, counseling services and victim compensation. 

 

Unless defined differently in the statues governing particular victim service programs (see below), the term “crime victim” or “victim of crime” is defined fairly broadly pursuant to C.G.S. §1-1k as:

 

A person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of crime and may include the immediate family members of a minor, an incompetent person or a homicide victim and someone previously and properly designated by a homicide victim to make decisions for such victim (C.G.S. §1-56r).

 

NOTE: Despite variations in the definition of "crime victim" in the statutes, all of the rights afforded crime victims in the Victim Rights Amendment to the Connecticut state constitution attach to anyone fitting the above definition. 

 

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING:

 

With respect to the services offered and provided by the Office of Victim Services (OVS), which include victim compensation and court-based victim advocacy services, the definition of crime victim is much narrower than the general definition described above.  Pursuant to C.G.S. §54-201(1) and C.G.S. §54-209(a) a crime victim, for purposes of services offered and provided by the OVS, is someone who is injured or killed resulting from:

 

(1)

his/her attempt to prevent the commission of crime or to apprehend a suspected criminal or in aiding or attempting to aid a police officer in apprehending such suspected criminal;

(2)

the commission or attempt to commit by another of any crime as provided in  C.G.S. §53a-24 [i.e., any felony (C.G.S. §53a-25) or misdemeanor (C.G.S. §53a-26)];

(3)

the operation of a motor vehicle by another person who was subsequently convicted with respect to such operation for a violation of C.G.S. §14-224(a) or of §14-227a (Operation while under the influence of liquor or drug or while having an elevated blood alcohol content), §53a-56b or §53a-60d; or

(4) 

any crime involving international terrorism as defined in Section 2331 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

 

Therefore, according to Connecticut law, only those individuals who:

 

(1)

sustain personal injury [as defined in C.G.S. §54-201(2)] as a result of any of the events listed 1-4 above; or

(2)

are family members of someone killed as a result of any of the events listed 1-4 above

 

are considered “victims” or a "crime victim" and eligible for victim services as offered and provided by the Office of Victim Services.

 

So, for example, persons who sustain no personal injury but only financial loss as a result of a crime are not considered “crime victims” for the purpose of eligibility for OVS services and, therefore, are ineligible to receive victim compensation or court-based victim advocacy services. 

 

HOWEVER, all of the rights afforded to crime victims in Connecticut's state constitution and the many other rights provided in the state statutes can be exercised by a crime victim, even if s/he sustained no physical injury as a result of the crime.

 


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR RIGHTS AS A CRIME VICTIM HAVE BEEN VIOLATED CONTACT THE OFFICE OF THE VICTIM ADVOCATE (OVA)

To file a formal complaint with the OVA regarding any alleged violation of your rights, you can begin the process by printing, filling-out, and submitting an OVA Complaint Form.

 


Sec.1-1k. "Victim of crime", "crime victim", defined. Except as otherwise provided by the general statutes, "victim of crime" or "crime victim" means an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as a result of a crime and includes immediate family members of a minor, incompetent individual or homicide victim and a person designated by a homicide victim in accordance with section 1-56r.

 

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Sec.1-56r. Designation of person for decision-making and certain rights and obligations. (a) Any person eighteen years of age or older may execute a document that designates another person eighteen years of age or older to make certain decisions on behalf of the maker of such document and have certain rights and obligations with respect to the maker of such document under section 1-1k, subsection (b) of section 14-16, subsection (b) of section 17a-543, subsection (a) of section 19a-279c, section 19a-550, subsection (a) of section 19a-571, section 19a-580, subsection (b) of section 19a-578, section 31-51jj, section 54-85d, section 54-91c, section 54-126a or chapter 968.

 

(b) Such document shall be signed, dated and acknowledged by the maker before a notary public or other person authorized to take acknowledgments, and be witnessed by at least two persons. Such document may be revoked at any time by the maker, or by a person in the maker's presence and at the maker's direction, burning, canceling, tearing or obliterating such document or by the execution of a subsequent document by the maker in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.

 

(c) Any person who is presented with a document executed in accordance with this section shall honor and give effect to such document for the purposes therein indicated.

 

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Sec.54-201. Definitions. As used in this chapter:

(1) "Victim" means a person who is injured or killed as provided in section 54-209;

(2) "Personal injury" means (A) actual bodily harm and mental anguish which is the direct result of bodily injury and includes pregnancy and any condition thereof, or (B) injury to a guide dog or assistance dog owned or kept by a blind or disabled person;

(3) "Dependent" means any relative of a deceased victim or a person designated by a deceased victim in accordance with section 1-56r who was wholly or partially dependent upon his income at the time of his death or the child of a deceased victim and shall include the child of such victim born after his death;

(4) "Relative of any person" means the spouse, parent, grandparent, stepparent, child, including natural born, step and adopted, grandchild, brother, sister, half brother, half sister or spouse's parents;

(5) "Crime" means any act which is a felony, as defined in section 53a-25, or misdemeanor, as defined in section 53a-26, and includes any crime committed by a juvenile.

 

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Sec.54-209. Compensation ordered, when. (a) The Office of Victim Services or, on review, a victim compensation commissioner may order the payment of compensation in accordance with the provisions of this chapter for personal injury or death which resulted from: (1) An attempt to prevent the commission of crime or to apprehend a suspected criminal or in aiding or attempting to aid a police officer so to do, (2) the commission or attempt to commit by another of any crime as provided in section 53a-24, (3) the operation of a motor vehicle by another person who was subsequently convicted with respect to such operation for a violation of subsection (a) of section 14-224 or of section 14-227a, 53a-56b or 53a-60d, or (4) any crime involving international terrorism as defined in Section 2331 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

 

(b) In the absence of conviction, as provided in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of this section, the Office of Victim Services or, on review, a victim compensation commissioner may order payment of compensation under this section if, upon consideration of all circumstances determined to be relevant, the Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner, as the case may be, reasonably concludes that another person has operated a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (a) of section 14-224 or of section 14-227a, 53a-56b or 53a-60d.

 

(c) Except as provided in subdivision (3) of subsection (a) and subsection (b) of this section, no act involving the operation of a motor vehicle which results in injury shall constitute a crime for the purposes of this chapter unless the injuries were intentionally inflicted through the use of the vehicle.

 

(d) Evidence of an order for the payment of compensation by the Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall not be admissible in any civil proceeding to prove the liability of any person for such personal injury or death or in any criminal proceeding to prove the guilt or innocence of any person for any crime.

 

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Sec.53a-24. Offense defined. Application of sentencing provisions to motor vehicle and drug selling violators. (a) The term "offense" means any crime or violation which constitutes a breach of any law of this state or any other state, federal law or local law or ordinance of a political subdivision of this state, for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment or to a fine, or both, may be imposed, except one that defines a motor vehicle violation or is deemed to be an infraction. The term "crime" comprises felonies and misdemeanors. Every offense which is not a "crime" is a "violation". Conviction of a violation shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense.

 

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the provisions of sections 53a-28 to 53a-44, inclusive, shall apply to motor vehicle violations. Said provisions shall apply to convictions under section 21a-278 except that the execution of any mandatory minimum sentence imposed under the provisions of said section may not be suspended.

 

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Sec.53a-25. Felony: Definition, classification, designation. (a) An offense for which a person may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year is a felony.

 

(b) Felonies are classified for the purposes of sentence as follows: (1) Class A, (2) class B, (3) class C, (4) class D, (5) unclassified and (6) capital felonies.

 

(c) The particular classification of each felony defined in this chapter is expressly designated in the section defining it. Any offense defined in any other section of the general statutes which, by virtue of an expressly specified sentence, is within the definition set forth in subsection (a) shall be deemed an unclassified felony.

 

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Sec.53a-26. Misdemeanor: Definition, classification, designation. (a) An offense for which a person may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year is a misdemeanor.

 

(b) Misdemeanors are classified for the purposes of sentence as follows: (1) Class A, (2) class B, (3) class C and (4) unclassified.

 

(c) The particular classification of each misdemeanor defined in this chapter is expressly designated in the section defining it. Any offense defined in any other section of the general statutes which, by virtue of an expressly specified sentence, is within the definition set forth in subsection (a) shall be deemed an unclassified misdemeanor.

 

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Sec.14-224. Evasion of responsibility in operation of motor vehicles. Racing. Required removal of motor vehicle from traveled portion of highway. (a) Each person operating a motor vehicle who is knowingly involved in an accident which causes serious physical injury, as defined in section 53a-3, to or results in the death of any other person shall at once stop and render such assistance as may be needed and shall give his name, address and operator's license number and registration number to the person injured or to any officer or witness to the death or serious physical injury of any person, and if such operator of the motor vehicle causing the death or serious physical injury of any person is unable to give his name, address and operator's license number and registration number to the person injured or to any witness or officer, for any reason or cause, such operator shall immediately report such death or serious physical injury of any person to a police officer, a constable, a state police officer or an inspector of motor vehicles or at the nearest police precinct or station, and shall state in such report the location and circumstances of the accident causing the death or serious physical injury of any person and his name, address, operator's license number and registration number.

 

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Sec.53a-56b. Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle: Class C felony. (a) A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, he causes the death of another person as a consequence of the effect of such liquor or drug.

(b) Manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a class C felony and the court shall suspend the motor vehicle operator's license or nonresident operating privilege of any person found guilty under this section for one year.

 

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Sec.53a-60d. Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle when, while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, he causes serious physical injury to another person as a consequence of the effect of such liquor or drug.

 

(b) Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle is a class D felony and the court shall suspend the motor vehicle operator's license or nonresident operating privilege of any person found guilty under this section for one year.

 

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Content Last Modified on 12/8/2006 9:43:41 PM