Criminal proceedings

What are criminal proceedings?

Criminal proceedings are specific procedures beginning with initial suspicion and continuing through the charging of possible offenders. Subsequently, the case is heard by the court(s), and possibly ends with the enforcement of the courts decision.

Criminal proceedings can be divided into several stages:

  1. Pre-trial proceedings
  2. Trial proceedings
  3. Execution proceedings

The current stage of the criminal proceedings is a key consideration when determining the scope of means availible to the defense. Therefore it is crucial to develop a proper strategy, promising the best chance of a desirable outcome.

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What laws regulate the criminal proceedings?

Criminal proceedings are complicated procedures containing many sub-steps, each with their own rules. Similarly, criminal law has several regulations, each with their own rules. The most important of these regulations is the Criminal Procedure Code, a decades-old code which has been amended many times. Comprehensive knowledge of this code may not be straightforward for a "non-criminal" lawyer, and may be even more confusing to average people without legal expertise. 

Hence, it is very easy for a person without expertise in criminal law to underestimate something, fail to exploit a proper defense means, or even act in such a way that may cause by an ill-considered action – even by just a single sentence.

Do I have to be defended in criminal proceedings by an attorney?

The law prescribes professional defense by an attorney only in specific instances, e.g. when the accused is in custody, in prison, when his or her legal liability is officialy limited, when a fugitive is prosecuted, or when the proceedings concern crimes with the prescribed sentence exceeding five years in prison. However, under certain conditions the accused may waive the right to a professional defense.

Nonetheless, criminal proceedings are so specific and involve such serious consequences that a professional defense by a special defense attorney is more than advisable. This is the only way to minimize the risks of underestimation or failure to exploit the procedural means nescesarry to end the initiated prosecution (or at least to diminish the potential of negative consequences arising from such a prosecution).