• Someone committed a crime against me, what do I do?
  • Get to a safe place and call 911. Once the police are called, give them your location and wait, and then make a report with as many details as possible.
  • I'm a victim – what are my rights?
  • The State of Georgia has defined the Crime Victims' Bill of Rights to ensure victims are treated fairly, informed, can participate if desired, and more. Financial assistance and Restitution are also covered further down in this document. The full set of rights are located on the Georgia and Columbus site: download Georgia's Crime Victims' Bill of Rights and visit the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office's Victim's Rights web page.
  • What is the best source of information for victims after a report is filed?
  • The Victim-Witness Office is your best resource and can be reached at (706) 653-4426 and VictimWitness@ColumbusGA.org. They can walk you through everything on this FAQs page and much more.
  • Are services of the Victim-Witness Program free of charge?
  • All services offered at the Victim-Witness Assistance Program are free of charge.
  • Is there financial assistance available for the victim?
  • The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program helps victims of violent crimes with expenses like medical, counseling, lost wages, funeral expenses and crime scene clean up. You may also be entitled to "Restitution", which is a monetary amount for victims', paid by the defendant during their probation period, to assist in making a victim "whole". Reach out to a Compensation Specialist at the Victim Advocacy Office at (706) 653-4426 or VictimWitness@ColumbusGA.org, or visit Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program online. Many of the requirements for financial assistance are time-sensitive, so please reach out quickly.
  • What else can I do to protect myself from the accused?
  • With adequate reasoning, a victim can request a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) through the Clerk of Superior Court.
  • The accused has been arrested, is (s)he still in jail?
  • There are three ways to know the inmate's status.
    1. Online: To search for an inmate using the Sheriff’s website, you must know their first and last name.
    2. Jail: Inmates that committed crimes in Muscogee County are generally held in the Muscogee County Jail, call (706) 653-4258.
    3. Victim-Witness Office: Please call or email us at VictimWitness@ColumbusGA.org.
  • What happens after an arrest?
  • Typically, within 72 hours of the arrest, the defendant will have their "First Appearance" at the Preliminary Hearing. The Preliminary Hearing is also known as the Probable Cause Hearing because a judge must find "probable cause" for the arrest. Please note that "probable cause" does not mean they have been found guilty, but only that there is enough information to proceed to the next step. As the victim, you may receive a summons for the Preliminary Hearing that is held in Recorder's Court (702 E 10th Street Columbus, GA 31901). However, you should be aware that, even if you receive the summons, the defendant may not have a hearing if they post bond or invoke their right to waive the hearing.
  • How long will it take the case, I am a victim on to close?
  • This is not a simple answer. There are multiple steps and personnel involved in the Criminal Justice System. If you have questions or concerns about a time frame, reach out to our office.
  • What if I do not have transportation to court?
  • Please contact our office if you do not have transportation. Should your presence be requested, or you would like to be present, our office may arrange transportation to and from court.
  • What if my employer does not give me time off to attend hearings?
  • Please contact our office if you have received a subpoena and your employer will not allow you time off. If you have not received a subpoena and your employer will not allow you time off, please call, although that decision is with the employer.
  • What happens after Recorder's Court (the Preliminary Hearing)?
  • For traffic offenses and misdemeanors, the accused will be prosecuted in state court by the Muscogee County Solicitor General. For felonies and violent crimes, the accused will be prosecuted in Superior Court by the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit's District Attorney's Office. If you haven't been contacted yet, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Victim-Witness Office (706-653-4426).
  • Do I have the right to speak at all hearings?
  • The victim (or immediate family) has the right upon request to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused. For more information, please victim Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights (O.C.G.A. 17-17-1).
  • What is the difference between restitution and compensation?
  • Restitution means payment by an offender to the victim for harm caused by the offender's wrongful acts. Courts have the authority to order convicted persons to pay restitution to the victim as part of their punishment or sentencing.
    Compensation is offered to victims, family, and dependents of violent crimes by the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program. This may help with medical, dental, counseling, and economic support due to the victimization.