Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after the crime?

Within 24 hours after the first contact with law enforcement, victims should receive information from law enforcement regarding victims’ rights, crime victim compensation, victim assistance services and information on how to reach Victim/Witness Services and the District Attorney's office. If someone was arrested, but not charged with a crime, the Victim/Witness Coordinator should inform the victim that no charges will be issued. If charges are filed against the defendant, the victim should receive written information within ten days after the initial appearance or 24 hours before the preliminary hearing.


What is a plea agreement?

A plea agreement is a way to resolve a case without a trial. Plea agreements are worked out between the ADA/DA, the defense attorney and the offender. In most cases, an agreement can be reached to hold the offender accountable, but avoid a trial. Victims have a right to confer about potential plea agreements. It is important to inform  Victim/Witness Services of your request to confer. 


What does the "opportunity to confer" mean?

To confer with the ADA/DA means to discuss the case and its possible outcomes.  If a victim requests to confer, the discussions can include potential plea agreements, sentencing recommendations and disposition information. The ADA/DA will consider your input, but makes a final decision based upon all factors of the case.


What can I do if I receive any threats or am being harassed?

If you are being threatened or harassed, contact the police or other law enforcement agency immediately.


How do I get property held in evidence returned to me?

Any questions about your property should be directed to the Victim/Witness Coordinator.


What do I do if the offender’s investigator or attorney wants to talk to me?

Always make sure you know with whom you are talking; you can ask for identification. You do not have speak to the person, and you may also ask to have a police officer or district attorney with you during the interview. If you decide to talk with the person, give clear and precise statements and be aware that anything you say may be used in court.


Receiving a Subpoenas?

If you receive a subpoena (notice to appear in court), you are being asked to serve as a witness in a criminal court hearing. A subpoena lists the date, time, place and proceeding in which your testimony is required. Do not ignore a subpoena. If you fail to appear, you could be charged with contempt of court. Every attempt will be made to contact you if it is known that the hearing is cancelled.  Therefore, it is very important that the Victim/Witness Coordinator have your current address, telephone number or contact number.   


Where do I go?

The subpoena will tell you where to report.  You can call the Victim/Witness Coordinator for help; they may provide maps, directions, parking information and arrange a waiting area for you.  Please arrive at least 10 minutes early. 


What should I do with the subpoena?

Read the subpoena carefully. It may ask you to call the District Attorney’s office or the Victim Witness Coordinator the day before the court appearance or it may provide other information or instructions. Please bring the subpoena with you to court and be prepared to provide identification in order to obtain witness fees. 


Do I need to bring anything with me to court?
Unless your subpoena gives you specific instructions to bring records, books or other items to court, you do not need to bring anything. Be prepared to wait. Often there are a number of scheduled court events on any given date. You may want to bring a book or magazine.


How often will I be required to appear in court?

Victims have a right to be present at any court hearing. The only time you must go to court is when you receive a subpoena. 

If you are subpoenaed to a court hearing, you may not be able to attend the entire hearing as the court may order sequestration.

You will be notified each time you are needed, and told, whenever possible, if the case has been delayed or cancelled. Therefore, it is very important that the V/W Coordinator have your current address, telephone number or contact number.


What if the court dates conflict with my job?

Wisconsin law forbids employers from firing employees because they have been called to testify in a criminal proceeding, even if the employee's testimony is against the employer or involves a work-related incident. Employees are required to give their employers prompt notice of the subpoena. If you need assistance with an employer about being subpoenaed to court, contact Victim/Witness Services.


Why are there delays in holding the trial?

An attorney may ask for more time to prepare the case or to locate an important witness. Trials are sometimes also delayed, because the judge or one of the attorneys has a schedule conflict. Sometimes court must be cancelled at the last minute. Every effort is made to notify you in advance.  Please ensure that the Victim/Witness Coordinator has your current address, telephone number or contact number. 


Who do I contact if I have questions about the case?

You can call Tanya Deerpalsing, Jackson County Victim/Witness Coordinator at (715)284-0239.  It is helpful to have the case number or the offender’s name when calling about a specific case. 


Will I be paid for my time spent as a witness?

You will receive a nominal witness fee for each day you are subpoenaed to appear in court. The Victim/Witness Coordinator can provide assistance with applying for witness fees.