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As defined in article 56, Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, a victim of a violent crime is someone who : (1) has suffered bodily injury or death as a result of criminally injurious conduct, or who has been the victim of a crime involving sexual assault, kidnapping, or aggravated robbery; (2) is the close relative (spouse, parent, brother, sister, or adult child) of a deceased victim; or (3) is the guardian of a victim. As a victim of violent crime, you have the following rights :
- The right to receive from law enforcement agencies adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts.
- The right to have the magistrate take the safety of the victim or his family into consideration as an element in fixing the amount of bail for the accused.
- The right, if requested, to be informed of relevant court proceedings and to be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to the event.
- The right to be informed, when requested, by a peace officer concerning the defendant's right to bail and the procedures in criminal investigations and by the District Attorney's office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system., including general procedures in guilty plea negotiations and arrangements, restitution, and the appeals and parole process.
- The right to provide pertinent information to a probation department conducting a pre-sentencing investigation concerning the impact of the offense on the victim and his family by testimony, written statements, in any manner prior to any sentencing of the offender.
- The right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as provided by the Crime Victim's Compensation Act including information related to the costs that may be compensated under that Act and the amount of compensation, eligibility for compensation , and procedures for application for compensation under that Act.
- The right to be informed, upon request, of parole procedures, to participate in the parole process, to be notified, if requested, of parole proceedings concerning a defendant in the victim's case, to provide to the Board of Pardons and Paroles for inclusion in the defendant's file information to be considered by the board prior to the parole of any defendant convicted of any crime subject to this Act, and to be notified, if requested, of the defendant's release.
- The right to be provided with a waiting area, separate or secure from other witnesses, including the offender, and relatives of the offender, before testifying in any proceeding concerning the offender; if a separate waiting area is not available , other safeguards should be taken to minimize the victim's contact with the offender and the offender's relatives and witnesses, before and during court proceedings.
- The right to prompt return of any property of the victim that is held by a law enforcement agency or the attorney for the state as evidence when the property is no longer required for that purpose.
- The right to have the attorney for the state notify the employer of the victim, if requested, of the necessity of the victim's cooperation and testimony in a proceeding that may necessitate the absence of the victim from work for good cause.
- The right to counseling, on request, regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
- (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection testing for AIDS , HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS.
Note : Article 56 states : "A judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this article."