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Do crime victims need lawyers?

Strictly speaking, the criminal justice system does not require that victims of crime have lawyers. Prosecutors are responsible for pursuing criminal cases against perpetrators and are generally expected to at least consider the victims’ expectations or hopes regarding the outcome. However, over the years, Matthew Galluzzo (a former Manhattan prosecutor) has represented, advised, advocated on behalf of, and assisted dozens of crime victims in a wide variety of matters – most commonly sexual assault, domestic violence, and fraud. If you or a loved one have been a victim of a crime, you might benefit from a consultation with Mr. Galluzzo for the reasons set forth in more detail below.

  1. Understanding the Process

The criminal justice system can be intimidating for a victim, so much so that many crime victims decline to even make a report or complaint. As a longtime former Manhattan prosecutor, Matthew Galluzzo can answer questions a crime victim might have about the process, including: 1) whether, and how the perpetrator will be arrested, 2) what the perpetrator might be charged with and what penalties he/she would face, 3) whether the crime victim will have to testify, and/or when and how often, 4) whether the crime victim will ever have to confront the perpetrator in court, 5) whether the crime victim’s identity will ever be known to the perpetrator, and 6) what sort of outcome the crime victim might reasonably expect. Many crime victims have found these sorts of consultations with Mr. Galluzzo to be invaluable, in that it relieves some of the stress in the process and helps them decide what course of action to take.

2. Protecting your Rights and Interests

For those victims who have chosen to make reports, Mr. Galluzzo can help protect their rights and interests throughout the process. Oftentimes, crime victims may themselves be at some risk for arrest or criminal prosecution based upon their complaints, and need an attorney to ensure the proper invocation of their Fifth Amendment rights. Victims should not assume that just because they are cooperating with law enforcement that they themselves are immune from punishment fo their own actions.

3. Advocating for a Result

Crime victims may also wish to have an attorney communicating with the prosecution to skillfully advocate for a particular result. Attorneys for victims can possibly help victims get full restitution in fraud cases, for example, or convince prosecutors to seek certain penalties in assault cases. The advantage of having an attorney for this purpose is that he/she should have a better understanding of the prosecutorial options. Moreover, a former prosecutor will be more credible in discussing these options with a prosecutor.

4. Bringing a Lawsuit

Victims of crimes may wish to pursue civil lawsuits against the criminals or the establishments where the crimes happened. These suits can be sometimes be brought after the criminal justice process has concluded, but can also be brought while the criminal case is pending. The decision as to whether or not to bring such a suit depends not only on whether the facts can be proven, but on whether money damages can actually be recovered from the perpetrator. Mr. Galluzzo has also assisted crime victims in bringing civil lawsuits against perpetrators of crimes. In many ways, his background as a former prosecutor makes him ideally suited to “prosecuting” a crime in civil court. He has helped victims of rape, sexual assault, assault, and other crimes sue individuals and establishments for money damages sustained by crime victims, and has helped them navigate the criminal justice system so as to maximize their results in civil court. Mr. Galluzzo is very selective about the cases that he pursues in this way, but is prepared to discuss the possibility with you.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a crime, you should strongly consider contacting the Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo PLLC and speaking with Matthew Galluzzo, a former Manhattan prosecutor.

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