Can I receive compensation for physical injuries suffered?
If you sustain physical injuries and the injuries are from certain violent crimes, then you can file with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office under the Victim Compensation Act. Victim’s Compensation can reimburse you for medical expenses and loss of earnings. It only covers expenses NOT covered by your insurance company. It DOES NOT apply to property damage.

You are eligible for Victim’s Compensation if:

  • You are injured as a result of a violent crime committed or attempted against you
  • You have a loss resulting from injury of $200.00 or more after deducting any benefits or payments from Workman’s Compensation or private insurance (those 65 years of age or older are exempt from this requirement)
  • You notify the police within 72 hours of the crime
  • You cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the apprehension and prosecution of the offender
  • You cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the apprehension and prosecution of the offender
  • You are not related to or living in the same household as the offender
  • Your injury was not the result of any provocation on your part
  • You file an application for compensation with the Illinois Court of Claims within one year of the injury
Contact the Attorney General and/or the Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Victim & Witness Services Coordinator, Sydney Bartels, if you would like to request a Victim’s Compensation Act Form from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at (815)941-3279.
How does a criminal charge get filed?
The police department will bring the reports of arrested suspects to the State’s Attorney’s Office to file a complaint. After reviewing the report, if the State’s Attorney’s Office feels there is enough evidence to prosecute the case, a complaint will be signed.

If the State’s Attorney’s Office feels there is insufficient evidence in the case, a complaint will not be issued.

The State's Attorney's Office has the discretion to file or not file charges at any point in time within the statute of limitations.
What do I do if I am a victim of a crime?
Immediately report the crime to your local police or the Sheriff’s Department.
The police will ask you questions regarding the incident and will then prepare a police report.

The sooner you make the report the better the chances are that law enforcement officials can collect the evidence necessary to prosecute the crime.
What do I tell the police?
Tell the police exactly what happened:

  • date, time, place
  • description of the offender(s)
  • names and addresses of any witnesses (if possible)
  • items that may have been taken, property that was damaged, and injuries that you may have received.
BE TRUTHFUL IN PROVIDING INFORMATION. You could be prosecuted for deliberately giving false information to the police.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that carries a maximum sentence of county jail time and fines upon conviction.
In a misdemeanor case, the defendant will plead guilty or not guilty during the first court appearance.

If there is a Not Guilty plea entered, a date is set for a status hearing. Many cases are resolved prior to trial.

If a resolution does not occur prior to trial, the case is set for trial and witnesses and victims are notified to appear if testimony is needed.
What will happen when I appear in court?
The defendant is entitled to be in the courtroom during the trial and will normally be represented by an attorney. The case may be continued for a number of reasons; one of the parties may be sick or out of town. The defendant could ask for more time to find a lawyer or prepare his or her case if she or he is representing themselves. Sometimes, there are a great number of cases and they can’t all be heard at the same time. You will be given as much notice as possible either by phone or by mail.
When will I be notified to appear as a witness?
The Victim/Witness Coordinator in the State’s Attorney’s Office will provide written notification of the status of the case to all victims. Due to the volume of the cases handled by the individual prosecutors, most contact between the State’s Attorney’s Office and the victim(s) is conducted by the Victim/Witness Coordinator. Notices/Subpoenas are usually issued soon after the case has been set for trial.
What do I do if a defense attorney contacts me?
The defense attorney has the right in a criminal case to interview all witnesses. However, you don’t have to talk to him or her alone. If you would feel more comfortable have the Assistant State’s Attorney who is assigned to your case present at the interview, arrange to have him or her there. You should not sign anything without first talking to the prosecutor who is assigned to your case.
What do I do if I become a victim of Identity Theft?
Most of the time, you can’t prevent an ID Theft incident from occurring, because two-thirds of the time, some company that leaked the data is to blame. So be prepared, and be organized. Save paper bank records for at least a year. You’ll need them to prove your account balances in the event of an ID Theft incident.
For more information, visit:
What is a Felony?
A felony is a more serious criminal offense that upon conviction carries a possible sentence of imprisonment with the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Initially, a date is set to determine whether or not there exists probable cause to believe the defendant committed the offense. The State either presents evidence of probable cause to a grand jury made up of sixteen citizens, or to the judge in a preliminary hearing.

If there is a finding of probable cause, the case is set for arraignment, at which time the defendant is formally charged with a criminal offense and is called upon to plead guilty or not guilty.

If the defendant pleads Not Guilty, a trial date is set. Felony cases do not always go to trial and may be resolved by a plea of guilty before trial.
What is the difference between a criminal case and a civil case?
There is a difference in the law between civil and criminal cases.

The main differences are that imprisonment is not a remedy in a civil case and the burden of proof is greater in a criminal case.

In a civil case, the plaintiff need only prove his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence. Such a case can be filed even though the police and the State’s Attorney feel there is insufficient evidence to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Examples of cases which cannot be charged by the State’s Attorney include those situations in which someone owes you money and has refused to pay you back. To most people, this behavior is theft and the person ought to be charged with a crime. However, the law requires that the State prove that the person had the criminal intent to deprive at the time the person took possession of the money.

In most cases, this element is missing. Without evidence of criminal intent, the State’s Attorney would be unable to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt. In such a case, a small claims case can be filed in order to resolve the matter.
What is the Identity Theft, how do I protect myself from it, and what do I do if I am a victim?
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the nation today. You may be a victim of identity theft and not even know it.

With the computer age upon us, there are hundreds of databases that collect and retain personal information about you. That information could include your buying habits, lifestyle activities, social security and driver’s license numbers, date of birth, phone number, home address, and profession.

Most information collected from you is collected legitimately, from grocery stores, magazine subscriptions, buying habits gleaned from credit card purchases, insurance carriers and doctor’s offices. However, sometimes criminals gain access to this information.

Another method of information gathering is much darker. Dumpster Divers check your mailbox and your garbage for credit card statements, bill receipts, and other documents that may give them information on your credit or banking information.

Prevention is Key

Some ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim at home are to: destroy all incoming mail, paid bill attachments, receipts, bank/credit card statements, etc. that have your name, address and/or personal information on them.

Take your mail to the post office or put it in your mailbox right before the mail carrier comes. Do not put your social security number on your driver’s license, and don’t carry your social security card, passport, or birth certificate unless it is absolutely necessary.

If someone calls you and offers you the chance to receive a credit card, “grand prize,” or anything else valuable DO NOT give them any information. Instead, ask them to send you written verification.

If they won’t, hang up.

Keep a complete list of all your account numbers in a safe place and don’t forget to include the phone numbers for customer service.

Watch the dates when your credit card bills usually arrive. If your bill does not arrive by the date you expect it to arrive, contact the credit card company to make sure no one has changed your billing address.

With computers, it is sometimes impossible to tell what is valid or invalid. Just make a habit of deleting emails from unknown persons or companies. Also, you should order only from companies that have “safe” websites.

A safe website has “https” in the address bar and a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window. Be sure to keep your virus protection updates and have software for “cookie” or tracking device removal.

When traveling, stop all mail, newspapers, and other recurring deliveries. Don’t give out any personal information unless you know and trust the person; i.e. hotel, car rental, etc. Use a secure (where no one can overhear you) location in the event you need to give out any personal information.

Check Your Credit Report

Beginning March 1, 2005, all Illinoisans can receive free copies of their credit reports once a year from each of the three national credit reporting agencies. The annual free reports are available only through the centralized source set up by the three credit reporting agencies. If consumers contact the companies directly they will still be charged for their credit reports.

To obtain the free reports, consumers can:
Call 1-877-322-8228
Order online at www.annualcreditreport.com
Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form available at www.ftc.gov/credit, and mail it to:

Annual Credit Reports Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
What should I do if I am threatened?
Anyone who seeks to threaten or bribe you into dropping charges is obstructing justice and may be committing additional crimes. Immediately report any threat or bribe to the police. After you file a report, notify Sydney Bartels, the Victim/Witness Services Coordinator so that she can update the Assistant State's Attorney handling the case.