Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Q.What is a Victim Advocate?
  1. Victim Advocates are professionally trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, resources and help filling out paperwork. Advocates may also contact organizations, such as criminal justice or social service agencies, to get help or information for victims. Victim Advocates are available to assist with the Criminal Justice Process by accompanying victims to criminal proceedings. To learn more about victim services, please click here.
  1. Q. What is the difference between a Prosecutor and an Assistant Prosecutor?
  1. The County Prosecutor is the chief law enforcement officer in the County and oversees all law enforcement agencies in the county. The Assistant Prosecutor is an employee of the County Prosecutor and is an attorney who represents the people of the State of New Jersey during criminal cases.
  1. Q. How can I find out what’s happening with my case?
  1. Victims are notified of upcoming court events or changes in the status of all cases. Notifications are normally made by mail. Contact the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459 if you have not received any notices or have any questions about your case.
  1. Q. Is the defendant in jail or in prison?
  1. Click here to see the custody status of the offender and to register to be notified if the defendant is released from custody.
  1. Q. Whom should I notify if I move or change my number?
  1. Contact the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459 if you change your address or telephone number. You should also contact the police department in the town where the crime occurred.
  1. Q. How will I know if I have to go to court?
  1. You will receive a subpoena. A subpoena is a court order which tells you when and where to appear. Please call the number on the subpoena to confirm you received a subpoena, verify your contact information and to receive updated information regarding the date and time to appear.
  1. Q. Where do I go to testify?
  1. Your subpoena will have the address and a phone number to call before you come to court. Please call to make sure the matter is still scheduled and to confirm the time. The Monmouth County Courthouse is located at: 71 Monument Street, Freehold, New Jersey. Click here for directions.
  1. Q. What should I do if my court date has been postponed or continued?
  1. You will receive a subpoena with the new date and time.
  1. Q. What should I do if I cannot come to court on the date I am subpoenaed to appear?
  1. Call the Prosecutor’s Office as soon as possible. There should be a direct contact number to call on your subpoena. If not, please contact the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459.
  1. Q. Can I bring my young children with me?
  1. Court proceedings can take a long time, so you should try to find a responsible adult to care for your children at home. If you cannot find someone, please call the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459 before the date of the court proceeding.
  1. Q. Is transportation available?
  1. If you are a victim or witness and you do not have transportation, please contact the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459 so transportation arrangements can be made. Please make sure to contact the unit as soon as possible prior to your required appearance, if transportation is a problem.
  1. Q. If I have to testify in court, I may miss work or school. What should I do?
  1. Show your employer or a school official your subpoena and explain that you must appear. The employer or a school official may contact the Victim Witness Unit if there are any questions. Once you are finished testifying, the Victim Witness staff will provide your employer or school official with a letter specifying the dates you were required to be in court.
  1. Q. What do I do at a Grand Jury Hearing?
  1. Grand Jury proceedings are private and are not open to the public. The Grand Jury is made up of 23 ordinary citizens who meet in private and vote to formally charge someone who has been accused of a crime. The only people allowed in the Grand Jury Room are the grand jurors, the Clerk of the Grand Jury, the Assistant Prosecutor handling the case, a court reporter and the witness who is testifying. The Assistant Prosecutor asks witnesses questions about the crime then the jurors have a chance to ask questions. The court reporter records what is said in the Grand Jury Room. Unlike a regular trial, the vote in a Grand Jury does not have to be unanimous, only a majority vote is needed to return an indictment against a defendant. Click here to learn more.
  1. Q. Do I have to go to court for every status or pre-trial conference?
  1. If you do not receive a subpoena, you are not required to appear. It is your right to appear if you wish. Court dates are often rescheduled so please call the Victim Witness Unit at 732-431-6459 a day in advance to confirm the date and time.
  1. Q. What will happen in court?
  1. As a victim or witness, you may be questioned by the Assistant Prosecutor and then by the defense attorney. You will be asked to tell what you know about the case. Just tell the truth. If you do not understand a question, ask the attorney to explain it to you.
  1. Q. What happens in trial?
  1. The Assistant Prosecutor has to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime as charged and will present evidence to prove his or her case. The defendant’s attorney may also present evidence although it is not required. The defendant does not have to testify. Click here to learn more….
  1. Q. Will I be permitted to stay in the courtroom before and after I testify?
  1. As a witness, you may be sequestered, or kept out of the courtroom until you testify. Witnesses are not permitted to discuss their testimony with each other, or to hear other witnesses’ testimony before they give their own testimony. The Assistant Prosecutor will let you know whether you may stay in the courtroom or whether you must wait outside the courtroom. After you testify, you are usually allowed to be in the courtroom for the remainder of the trial.
  1. Q. Who is going to pay my medical bills? How can I get my money back?
  1. The Victims of Crime Compensation Office is a state agency which helps innocent victims of crime with out of pocket medical, counseling, and funeral expenses. A Victim Advocate from the Victim Witness Unit can help you fill out the application to determine if you are eligible for compensation.  Click here to find out more…
If a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty by a jury, he or she may be ordered by the judge to pay restitution (money) to you for the cost of your medical bills, property
that is stolen, damages or other losses.
  1. Q. What should I do if I am threatened by someone?
  1. You should immediately notify the Assistant Prosecutor or Detective assigned to your case. Your safety is very important. If you feel you are in danger right now, call 911 or the local police.
  1. Q. What is Bail Reform?
  1. On January 1, 2017, the State moved from a criminal justice system that relied principally on setting monetary bail as a condition of release to a risk-based system. The statute also sets deadlines for the timely filing of an indictment and the disposition of criminal charges for incarcerated defendants.
  1. Q.What should I do if I am contacted by a lawyer or investigator for the defendant?
  1. You do not have to speak with anyone who works for the defense until the trial. However, if you do talk with the defense, you may want to notify the Prosecutor’s office before you answer any questions. The Assistant Prosecutor and County Detective may wish to be present during any interview.
  1. Q. What if the defendant is not convicted?
  1. If the defendant is acquitted (found not guilty); you may feel that justice has failed, especially if you are certain she or he was guilty. It is very important to remember that our system of justice calls for guilt to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict someone in a criminal case. However strong the evidence may seem to you, it may not be sufficient to remove reasonable doubt from the minds of a judge or jury. Even if a case is dismissed or the defendant acquitted, you should realize that with your help the court has done as much as it could.