Can a defendant be tried in court without the victim being present?

This is an ongoing case in which the defendant is being charged with 2 counts of attempted murder. Is it true that the state cant take him to trial without his alleged victim being present or can they?

Asked on June 5, 2017 under Criminal Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no law which state's that the victim of a crime appear in court during a trial. While the state's case would be stronger with their testimony and cooperation, if there is enough other evidence to support a conviction, such testimony is not required. Accordingly, if there was a witness to the crime, video footage of it, fingerprints, DNA evidence od some sort, etc., the defendant can be convicted.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The alleged victim is a witness--nothing else (i.e. he or she is not in charge of or bringing the case). The victim's testimony is very valuable, and as a practical matter, it may be impossible to convict without it--but it is not legally required. If there is sufficient other evience (other witnesses; forensic evidence, like fingerprints, DNA, hair, etc.; video footage; a confession; etc.) the defendant can be tried and convicted without the victim being present.

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