Will I have to testify in court?
Maybe. Your testimony would be required during a trial, or possibly at a special hearing date.

However, only a small percentage of criminal cases actually go to trial. The majority of defendants eventually admit guilt in criminal cases and plead guilty. Commonly, this occurs in one of two ways: in a negotiated plea, the prosecutor and the defense agree to a sentence, and they present the plea to the judge for approval; alternatively, defendants sometimes simply plead guilty and the judge determines the sentence. If the defendant maintains his or her innocence in court and requests that the State prove criminal charges at trial, then victims and witnesses are subpoenaed to testify in court. Even if there is no trial, however, witness testimony is sometimes necessary or appropriate. For example, if the defendant pleads guilty to a crime, the victim of a violent crime may want to present a victim impact statement at the time of the plea or at the sentencing hearing. Another time witness testimony may be necessary is at a restitution hearing. Restitution hearings are sometimes necessary to determine the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses or other damages that a defendant caused a victim to incur.

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1. What type of services and information can I get through Victim Witness Assistance Unit?
2. If I am the victim in a criminal case, do I need to hire an attorney?
3. Can I drop charges against the defendant/offender?
4. Are defendants required to attend all court dates?
5. Are crime victim(s) or witnesses required to go to all court dates?
6. Can victims attend court dates?
7. How do I find out the next court date?
8. Will a Victim Witness Assistance Coordinator be assigned to every case?
9. How can an offender plea not guilty if he/she made a statement to the police or there are witnesses to the crime?
10. Who decides if the defendant pleas guilty or request a trial?
11. Will I have to testify in court?
12. What do I do if I receive a subpoena to testify?
13. What should I do if the defense attorney or investigator contacts me?
14. How long will I be in court?
15. Can a friend or relative be in court when I testify?
16. Will the defendant be in the courtroom when I testify?
17. What time does court start?
18. Where do I park when I come to the court house or Lake County State’s Attorney Office?
19. Does the victim of crime have input on the criminal case?
20. What is a victim impact statement?
21. Who can present a victim impact statement (VIS) in court?
22. When should a violent crime victim prepare or write a victim impact statement (VIS)?
23. When does the victim present the victim impact statement (VIS) in court?
24. How many victim impact statements can be presented in court?
25. Is a violent crime victim required to complete a victim impact statement (VIS)?
26. Can I write and present a victim impact statement for a non-violent crime in court?
27. Is there money to help cover medical expenses as a result of violent crime committed against me?
28. Is there money to help violent crime victims and families of homicide with medical, counseling, and burial expenses?
29. What is the Attorney General’s Crime Victim Compensation Program and who is eligible?
30. Is counseling available to violent crime victims?