Minnehaha County, South Dakota
If you are a victim of or a witness to a crime in Minnehaha County, the Victim/Witness Assistants from the Minnehaha County State's Attorney's Office are available to assist you while you are involved with the criminal justice system.
As a victim of crime, you may be experiencing feelings of confusion, frustration, fear and anger. We will explain your rights as a victim and help you better understand how the criminal justice system works.
One of the responsibilities of citizenship for those who have knowledge about the commission of a crime is to serve as witnesses at the criminal trial or one of the other hearings held in connection with the criminal prosecution. The complete cooperation and truthful testimony of all witnesses is essential to the proper determination of guilt or innocence in a criminal case.
Our office is concerned that victims and witnesses of crime are treated fairly throughout their contact with the criminal justice system. We have taken several steps to make the participation by victims of crime and witnesses more effective and meaningful.
One of these steps is the establishment of this website. We hope that it will provide you the answers to many of your questions and will give you sufficient general information to understand your rights and responsibilities. Another step has been to employ Victim/Witness Assistants who are available to answer any of your questions and to assist you where possible as you participate in the criminal justice process.
Link to Juvenile Crime
Victims of crime, including victims of driving under the influence vehicle accidents, have the following rights as designated by the South Dakota Legislature:
A. Notice of the defendant's escape from custody and return to custody following escape;
B. Notice of any other release from custody, including placement in an intensive supervision program or other alternative disposition, and any associated conditions of release;
C. Notice of parole; and
D. Notice of pending release of an inmate due to expiration of sentence;
Is there someone in the State's Attorney's Office who can answer my questions?
If you have any questions about your rights, the court proceedings or the Victim's Compensation Program, you may call one of our Victim-Witness Assistants at (605) 367-4226. One of our assistants can help you if you need information about your case, information about protection orders, or referrals to other community victim service providers.
What if I am threatened while my case is pending?
If anyone threatens you, or you feel that you are being harassed because of your contribution to the case, you should immediately notify local law enforcement and the State's Attorney Office. It is illegal to threaten, intimidate, harass, or mislead a witness in a criminal case.
What if I want the charges dropped?
Only the State's Attorney can drop charges against a defendant; however, you should let our office know if you no longer wish to proceed with the case. While we will take your wishes into consideration, we must also take into consideration the safety of the community and other factors when making a decision to drop charges or continue prosecution of the case.
Is it possible to be reimbursed for my financial losses?
Often, crime means a real financial loss for the victim. Perhaps you had cash or valuable property stolen (and not recovered), have property that was damaged, medical expenses, a loss of income because you could not work, or the nature of the crime may be that you have been defrauded of money belonging to you. If any of these things has happened to you, please check to see if you have insurance that will cover the loss. If you have no insurance, only partial coverage, or have insurance but deductible amounts, then there are three possible ways of trying to recover your losses:
A Protection Order is a legal document signed by a judge prohibiting a person from contacting the petitioner. A Protection Order violation is a Class I misdemeanor. Protection Orders are civil matters, but a criminal charge results when a Protection Order is violated. A Protection Order may be obtained at the Minnehaha County Clerk of Courts office, which is located at 425 N. Dakota Ave. in Sioux Falls, SD. Questions about obtaining a protection order can be addressed to staff in the clerk's office at (605) 367-5900.
If a criminal charge has been filed by the State's Attorney's Office, the victim may request that the attorney in court ask the judge to order a No Contact Order as a condition of bond. A No Contact Order is an order signed by a judge prohibiting the defendant in a criminal case from having any contact with the victim while out on bond. If the defendant violates either a Protection Order or a No Contact Order, the victim should contact the police immediately. Although the violator may be gone by the time the police arrive, victims should still have the police complete a report to forward to the State's Attorney's Office.
You may have been a victim of or an eye-witness to a crime. You may be the owner of stolen property, or be able to provide some piece of information which will help to prove a criminal case. You are an essential witness and without your cooperation, our criminal justice system could not work.
You can expect to receive a subpoena at some point in the proceedings which will require you to testify. Written statements are not permitted instead of live testimony because a person charged with a crime has a right to ask questions of the witnesses who testify against him/her through his/her attorney.
It is very important that you keep us informed of any changes in your address or phone number. We will not be able to notify you of dates in your case if we cannot locate you.
We hope that this website has answered many of your questions as to how the criminal justice system operates and what is expected of you in your role as a potential witness. Please feel free to contact one of our Victim-Witness Assistants at (605) 367-4226 to discuss any of this information or to answer any questions relating to your case.
|The Compass Center||(605) 339-0116|
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|Children's Inn||(605) 338-4880|
|South Dakota Department of Social Services||(605) 367-5444|
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