What is a Victim Impact Statement?
A Victim Impact Statement is the victim's chance to tell the judge in their case how the crime has affected them and what their life has been like since the crime took place. The purpose of a Victim Impact Statement is to assure a balanced picture of both offender and victim in determining the most appropriate sentence for the convicted offender. It may be the only opportunity a victim has to communicate with the offender. A victim retains the right, however, not to prepare a written statement and not to speak or read a statement in court.
Although many crime victims experience similar feelings, questions and concerns as a result of crime, no two victims experience the same emotional, physical and financial impact. Only you can tell how you and those close to you have been affected by this crime. Not all victims are comfortable writing or submitting a Victim Impact Statement because of fears of retaliation or other reasons. While you have the opportunity to complete a Victim Impact Statement, the decision is totally up to you and you are under no obligation to do so.
If you decide to write a Victim Impact Statement, it will become an official court document after it is given to the court, and will become part of the defendant's permanent file. The judge, prosecutor and probation officer will read your statement. In addition, prison and parole officials may read your statement if the defendant is sentenced to a prison term. The defendant and the defendant's attorney will also be able to read what you have written. They may even be able to ask you questions about your statement in court. However, the defendant will not be able to see your address and telephone number because you are not asked to put them on your statement.
The Mayor's Office will assist any citizen that chooses to tell their side of the story. The simple process described below will help you (1) compose a meaningful, descriptive impact statement, (2) provide detailed information on where to send your statement, and (3) provide additional resources and contact information to learn more about victim's rights in Baltimore City.
Suggestions for Completing Your Victim Impact Statement
The following suggestions and sample are offered only as a guide. Please answer as many questions as you wish. Make sure that your Victim Impact Statement includes the name of the Defendant, the Case Number and the Court Date.
If you would like to tell the court about the emotional impact of this crime, you may want to consider:
- Has this crime affected your lifestyle or those close to you?
- Have your feelings about yourself or your life changed since the crime?
- Has your ability to relate to others changed?
If you or your family members were injured, you may wish to tell the court about the physical impact of this crime. You may wish to:
- Describe the physical injuries you or members of your family suffered.
- Describe how long these injuries lasted or how long they are expected to last.
- Describe any medical treatment you have received or expect to receive in the future.
You may also wish to discuss how this crime has affected your ability to earn a living and how it has affected you financially.**
- Sample Victim Impact Statement
Where do I send my Victim Impact Statement?
If your case is in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City send your Victim Impact Statement to the Judge assigned to your case at:
111 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
If your case is in the District Court for Baltimore City send your Victim Impact Statement to:
Borgerding District Court Building
5800 Wabash Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215-3330
Send a copy of your Victim Impact Statement to the Assistant State’s Attorney who is handling your case at:
State's Attorney's Office
208 Mitchell Courthouse
110 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202