It is the mission of the Victim Services Unit of the Calera Police Department to provide all victims of crime with the resources and the emotional support to combat the devastation of being victimized.
- On-scene crisis intervention for victims and their families
- Referrals to local, state, and federal crime victim resources
- Information about the criminal justice process
- Follow-up contact with victims of crime who file a report with the Calera Police Department
Your Rights As A Victim
Victims of crime in the State of Alabama have certain rights granted by law. After filing a police report, you should be provided with the following by the agency that took the report:
- A list of local emergency and crisis services
- The name and phone number of the officer and agency handling your report
- The name and phone number of the prosecuting attorney
- A listing of your rights as a victim including a form to insure you are given your rights
- The procedural steps in a criminal prosecution
- The availability of victims’ compensation benefits
- The existence and eligibility requirements of restitution and compensation
- A recommended procedure if you are subject to threats or intimidation as a victim
- If within 60 days you are not notified of an arrest in your case, you may call the telephone number of the law enforcement agency for the status of the case.
It is important that you notify the agencies investigating and prosecuting your case of your current address and phone numbers where you can be reached during the day. If these should change, make the notification in writing immediately.
If you are threatened or subjected to intimidation resulting from this offense, you should seek help from a law enforcement agency or the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office at (205) 669-3750.
You may obtain a copy of the police report for this incident in three to five business days. There is a $5 charge for the first copy. The records office is located at 1070 10th Street. You may call 668-3889 to see if your report is ready. The records office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is closed on holidays. Only the victim or complainant may obtain a copy from the Records Office without a proper court order.
YOU HAVE OR MAY REQUEST THE RIGHT TO:
- Designate a representative if you are physically or emotionally unable to assert your rights
- Be notified of all criminal proceedings and charges filed against the defendant, with the exception of initial appearance, and the right to be present at all proceedings
- Confer with the prosecuting attorney before final disposition of the case, and before commencement of a trial, but not to direct the prosecution
- Be provided a waiting area separate from the defendant, his or her relatives, and defense witnesses if available; and be aware that information about the victim shall not be public record
- Refuse an interview or other communication by the defendant, his attorney, or anyone acting on his behalf
- Be notified of or have reasonable attempt made to notify you of a plea agreement and to be present at plea proceeding
Your Guide to Obtaining a Protection From Abuse Order (PFA)
What is a Protection Order?
A Protection Order is a court order issued under the Protection From Abuse Act (PFA) which provides limited protection for people who have been threatened, harassed, or physically abused (plaintiff). It may also address issues regarding custody of children, distribution of personal property, and temporary possession of the family residence. A Protection Order is a civil matter and only applies to domestic violence cases. There is no filing fee for a petition for a Protection from Abuse Order.
Who can get one?
You can file for a PFA if you are at least 18 years old and have one of the following intimate relationships with an abuser:
- Married, regardless of living arrangements
- Divorced or separated
- Common-law or former common-law spouse
- Have a child in common
- Present or former household member with whom you have or had an intimate relationship
- Are or have been in a dating relationship with the abuser within the last six months from the date you filed the petition
Where can I get a Protection Order?
Protection Orders may be obtained at the Circuit Clerk’s Office, Room 128, Shelby County Courthouse, Columbiana. Once you have completed the Petition and Deposition, the clerk’s office will arrange for you to see a judge. The Shelby County Clerk’s office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. However, you should arrive at the clerk’s office before 3 p.m. to allow sufficient time for processing.
What information will I need?
- Details of the abuse
- A current address/phone number and a work address/phone number for the abuser
- The date/place of marriage, divorce, or separation
- A copy of other court cases or orders involving you and the abuser
- Vehicle description and tag number
- Inform the judge if the abuser owns a firearm or other weapon and has threatened to use it to harm you
- It is not necessary to have a copy of a police report when filing for a protection order
How long will it take?
After a Petition for a Protection Order is filed, the judge may issue an ex parte (emergency) order which is only effective until your hearing. This final hearing date should be included on an emergency order. A hearing shall be held after the filing of a petition at the request of the defendant or within 10 days of service to the defendant. A final protection order is permanent unless otherwise specified by court order. Copies should be provided to each place listed on the order (employment, schools, etc.).
Where can I go for additional help?
Although a Protection Order can be an important tool in discouraging incidences of domestic violence, it is a judicial order and not a shield to protect you. The local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse, is available 24-hours a day for emergency shelter. They can also assist in developing a safety plan and provide counseling. (205-669-7233)
Misdemeanor/Municipal Ordinance Violations
Calera Municipal Court has jurisdiction over prosecutions for violations of municipal ordinances and State misdemeanor offenses occurring within Calera city limits and police jurisdiction.
- Crime occurs and is reported to police.
- Accused is arrested or victim files complaint with Calera Magistrate. A complaint is a written statement made upon oath before a magistrate giving essential facts of the offense and alleging that the defendant committed the offense. The Magistrate may then issue a warrant for the arrest of the person charged and subpoena witnesses.
- Following an arrest the accused may be released on bond under conditions imposed to assure appearance at trial or minimize the risk of harm to others.
- Initial Appearance. Defendant enters plea of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”. If “Guilty” plea is entered, the case proceeds directly to the Sentencing Phase. If “Not Guilty” plea is entered, the case will proceed to Trial Phase.
- Trial Phase. Victims/witnesses may be required to testify. If the defendant is found guilty, he/she will be sentenced by the judge to: Jail, Fine, Restitution, and/or Probation. The victim of a crime does not need his/her own lawyer; the City Prosecutor is responsible for prosecuting cases in municipal court.
- Appeals Phase. If the case is appealed by the convicted offender, the City Prosecutor will work to uphold and defend the conviction.
Criminal Felony Procedure
- Crime occurs and is reported to police.
- The Evidence is Presented. A formal complaint is signed. Depending on the evidence, the case could proceed directly to the grand jury prior to the arrest of accused.
- The Accused is Arrested.
- The Preliminary Hearing is Held. Depending on the evidence, this step could be skipped with the case proceeding directly to the grand jury prior to the arrest of accused.
- Evidence is Presented to a Grand Jury.
- If Case is True Billed by a Grand Jury, Proceed to Arraignment.
- If a “Not Guilty” plea entered, then the case will proceed to the Trial Phase.
- The Arraignment. The defendant enters plea of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”.
- If a “Guilty” plea is entered, the case will proceed directly to the Sentencing Phase.
- If a “Not Guilty” plea entered, then the case will proceed to the Trial Phase.
- The Trial Phase. If the defendant is found guilty, he/she will be sentenced by the trial judge to one or more of the following: Prison, Fine, Restitution, Probation.
- The Appeals Phase. If the case is appealed by the convicted offender to the Appellate Courts, an attorney from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office will be assigned to work to uphold and defend the conviction on behalf of the State of Alabama.
Shelby County District Attorney Robert Owens 205-669-3750
What to do if someone steals your identity
- File a crime report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Call the fraud units of the three major credit bureaus and tell them you are a victim of identity theft. When calling any of the three major credit bureaus, note the date, time, and person you talked to for your own records. Ask each bureau to do the following:
- Send you a copy of your credit report. When it arrives, be sure to look through it carefully and ask them to investigate any incorrect information.
- Give you the names, address, and phone numbers of companies where accounts have been opened.
- Place a fraud/security alert asking credit grantors to contact you by phone before opening a new account and add a “fraud victim statement” to your file.
- Contact each of your credit companies that may have been affected. Call and send follow up letters to each company (i.e. credit card issuers, department stores, utility companies, etc.) where you think that your information may have been used fraudulently in the same way. In addition, do the following:
- Ask them to close any fraudulent accounts you become aware of and ask the companies to report any necessary corrections to the major credit bureaus.
- If someone has taken over your accounts and you want to maintain accounts with those companies, ask them for replacement credit cards with NEW account numbers
Note: These companies may ask you to fill out a notarized Affidavit of Forgery or provide a written statement and copies of a police report or other documents to them.
The Three Major Credit Bureaus:
Attn. Consumer Credit Fraud Assistance Department
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX. 75013
Attn. Fraud Unit
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA. 30348
Any person who is an innocent victim of criminally injurious conduct and who has sustained personal injuries as a result; or a surviving spouse or child of a victim who died as a result of criminally injurious conduct may be eligible for compensation. Compensation may be provided for medical expenses due to personal injuries or for funeral and counseling services. Expenses covered by another source cannot be paid. You may be eligible for compensation if you meet the following criteria:
- You have been a victim of a personal injury as the result of criminally injurious conduct, or you are the dependent of such a victim
- An application is filed within one year of the incident, or good cause shown
- The incident was reported to law enforcement within 72 hours, or good cause shown
- You did not cause or contribute to the injury and were not involved in illegal activity at the time of the offense
- You fully cooperated with law enforcement officials
For additional information contact:
Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission
P.O. Box 231267
Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1548
(5845 Carmichael Road, Montgomery)
Phone (334) 290-4420
Toll-free for Victims 1-800-541-9388
Fax (334) 290-4455
Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission Website
In any case in which a defendant is convicted of criminal activity resulting in pecuniary damages or loss to a victim, the court is required to conduct a restitution hearing and order the defendant to “make restitution or otherwise compensate such victim for any pecuniary damages.” (Section 15-18-67, Code of Alabama 1975) Restitution may be ordered after a hearing at sentencing in an amount set by the judge. Restitution expenses will also be considered in a case where an offer of settlement is made. To assist the court in ordering restitution, keep your receipts, estimates, or bills for damages or injuries suffered in connection with the crime and submit them as soon as possible to the agency prosecuting your case.
The following expenses can be considered in determining restitution:
- Medical Expenses including costs of treatment by all care providers, ambulance service, lab fees, and prescriptions (submit copies of bills)
- Lost Income due to medical reasons as a result of this crime
- Property damage for a house, car, etc. Repair estimates or bills should be submitted, along with insurance information (deductible, amount received, claim pending)
- Miscellaneous Expenses not covered by insurance which you feel you may be entitled to
- Stolen and/or Recovered Property
- Replacement value of stolen property
- Damage/repair/replacement value of recovered property
Victim Services Resources
The following is a list of local, state, and federal crime victim resources.
Click on any of the links and you will be directed to the home page of that organization.
Alabama Attorney General's Victim Assistance Unit - State level victim services unit. 1-800-626-7676.
Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission - Alabama's compensation law covers a variety of expenses for which compensation is paid. The ACVCC provides the only substantial financial compensation to victims for expenses for personal injuries including medical, funeral, and counseling bills. 1-800-541-9388 (for victims only); 1-334-290-4420.
Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence - The ACADV serves domestic violence victims throughout the state through its 18-member shelter programs and 24-hour crisis line for domestic violence. 1-800-650-6522.
Alabama Coalition Against Rape - ACAR is a statewide non-profit organization working to prevent sexual violence in the State of Alabama and is comprised of 15 member rape crisis centers. 1-334-264-0123.
Crisis Center of Birmingham - The Crisis Center provides a 24-hour hotline for those in emotional crisis. Other services include confidential counseling for teens, kids, victims of rape, and the elderly; suicide intervention and bereavement counseling for suicide survivors; and community education and training. Crisis Hotline 205-323-7777; Rape Crisis Line 205-323-7273.
Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama - HICA is a social service organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for Latinos in Alabama. Services include coordination of community resources, provision of translational services, and advocacy. Phone 1-205-942-5505 or toll free 1-866-502-4422.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving - MADD offers direct victim services to victims/survivors of impaired driving crashes: emotional support, guidance through the justice systems, and information and referrals. 1-800-635-0722
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children - Provides nationwide support services for families and professionals in the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of abducted, endangered, and sexually exploited children. 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). To report sexually exploited children on the CyberTipline http://www.cybertipline.com/.
National Center for Victims of Crime - Provides information on local and national victim rights issues. Website has supportive information for victims and victim advocates on a wide variety of topics and crime victim issues. 1-800-FYI-CALL (394-2255)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Organization for Victim Assistance - A victim's rights advocacy and emergency counseling organization which provides information on crime, safety, and psychological trauma, and links to many related pages. Information and Referrals 1-800-TRY-NOVA (1-800-879-6682).
National Sexual Assult Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Office for Victims of Crime - The OVC was established by the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to oversee diverse programs that benefit victims of crime. A clearinghouse of information for crime victims and victim advocates with especially useful court-related topics and a directory of victim resources. 202-307-5983
Parents of Murdered Children - Originally organized to support parents grieving the loss of a murdered child, the organization provides assistance to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one due to violence. 1-888-818-POMC (7662)
SafeHouse - SafeHouse provides a local 24-hour domestic violence/sexual assault shelter. SafeHouse provides emergency shelter for victims and their children, counseling for victims of violence, court advocacy, and sexual assault response. Crisis Line 205-669-SAFE (7233).
Shelby Emergency Assistance - Provides temporary, basic needs assistance to Shelby County residents experiencing a crisis with the goal of providing them the tools to become self sufficient. Provides temporary emergency food assistance, temporary emergency financial assistance, community advocacy, rural outreach, and education. 205-665-1942; Email Shelby Emergency Assistance
United Way of Central Alabama - Extensive resource directory for Shelby, Jefferson, St. Clair, Blount and Walker counties. Information and Referral 205-323-0000.
Victim Assistance Online - Extensive resource directory of victim services information across the nation and around the world.
Victims of Crime and Leniency - VOCAL provides assistance to families of homicide victims. Services include individual and group counseling, community information and referrals, criminal justice support, assistance with compensation, and training. Crisis Helpline 1-800-239-2319.