Victim Impact Statement Tips

  • Your VIS should address the Judge. Always remember that you are talking or writing to the judge about how the crime has affected you and what you think should happen to the defendant. You do not need to know the name of the judge sentencing the defendant. You can simply begin your VIS with "Honorable Judge, ..." You are not allowed to use this opportunity to address any comments to the defendant. If you are making a verbal statement and begin to address comments to the defendant, the judge will stop you. 
  • Your VIS is part of the public record. This means that the defendant or any other person may see your VIS. If this is a concern for you, be sure not to include any identifying information in your VIS. Leave that on the cover sheet which, which will not be included in the public record. 
  • Maintain a copy of your VIS. The copy you present at court may become part of the record.
  • Don't forget to include the defendant's name and case number on your VIS. 
  • Provide your written statement at least a week before sentencing if possible. This will give the Victim/Witness Unit ample time to get your statement to the judge before the sentencing hearing, so that the judge can read your statement prior to sentencing.   
  • Ask the Victim/Witness Coordinator to find out what the sentencing range is for the defendant, so that you can ask for a sentence within that range.
  • If you need special equipment or set up for your VIS, notify our office in advance.
  • If you are having trouble deciding what to write in your VIS, check out the Sample VIS or the VIS Questions for Consideration.  Remember that the Victim/Witness Coordinator can also assist you in deciding what to include in your VIS or compiling it.