Criminal proceedings

Execution proceedings

If the criminal proceedings end with a sentence that becomes final, the sentence is then executed. The different punishments are defined in more detail by law.

To a certain extent, the execution methods may alter as the sentence is served. Sometimes, the execution of the sentence may be suspended. The sentenced may also be released on parole (or the execution of the remaining sentence may be abandoned).

After the sentence is served, related matters must be kept in mind. In particular, the expungment. The expungment delets the relevant record from ones Criminal Register. In the case of a conditional sentence, the convicted needs to 'prove himself'". 

What can happen to you in execution proceedings?

Extraordinary remedies

Even after the conviction has become final, the convicted may apply extraordinary remedies such as an extraordinary appeal (if necessary, this could lead to the filing of a constitutional complaint and possibly a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights), a complaint for violation of the law (an impetus to the Minister of Justice), a motion for retrial, or an application to the President of the Republic for a individual pardon (to reprive the convicted of his duty to serve the sentence, i.e. not to annul the guilt).

The application of these extraordinary remedies does not, however, suspend the duty of the convict to serve the sentence. Until any of the instruments applied has nullified the effects of the sentence, the convicted is required to serve the sebtance he received at court.

Alternative sentences

When the sentence has become final, the accussed becomes the convict, who must await a summons to exercise the sentence, i.e. to arrive to prison.

However, in addition to a prison sentence, there are a number of alternative sentences: house arrest (the convict may go to work, go shopping, go to the doctor), community service, and others. It is also a frequent occurance for sentences to be conditionally postponed for a probationary period. In all these alternatives, the convict is supervised by an appointed probation officer. The probation officer has extended powers which allow him/her to regulate the details and performance of such alternative sentences. Hence, the court shall only intervene upon the request of the convict, as he/she may disagree with the probation officer's procedure. Therefore, it is profitable to cooperate with the probation officer from the outset.

Alternative sentences should be applied for prior to the conviction, i.e. if seems the criminal proceedings will not end in the accused's favor, the procedural strategy should be to prepare to minimize to impact of the punishment.

Order to exercise the sentence

Criminal proceedings end when the sentence becomes final, i.e. at the latest by the judgment of the appeal court. At this point, the sentence imposed cannot be altered and the defendant becomes a convict who must await a summons to serve the sentence, usually to prison. In principle, the duty to serve the sentence cannot be avoided even if the convict becomes ill or responsible to care of his/her child (prisons are equipped with hospitals and child wards). In rare cases, the convict may apply for a delay of the commencement of the sentence.

The choice of the location that the execution of the sentence is to occur (prison) is made by the court that issued the sentence. This court shall send the convict a notice to report to prison. Along with that, the court usually provides the convict with a period of time (no longer than one month) to make the necessary personal and official arrangments before reporting to prison. If the convict fails to report to prison, the court shall have the police search for him and force him to report to prison. Any resistance by the convict has a major impact on the possibility for conditional release before the full term of the sentence has been served.

Defer the execution of the sentece

After conviction and before service of the sentence has commenced, within the due time set by the court, the convict may apply to the court to delay the execution of the sentence. Approval of such an application is left to the decision of the court (it does not change the sentence, only its execution), who must assess the extraordinary grounds to allow the deferral.

As a rule, the only effective ground for the deferral may be the health condition of the convict, i.e. if the commencement of the sentence would endanger his/her health or life. Therefore, the application for suspension of the sentence must be supplemented by sufficient medical reports. There is no (automatic) legal entitlement to a deferral.

Suspend the execution of the sentence

After entering prison, the convict may apply for a suspension of the sentence (the application is submitted to the prison director, who forwards it to the court). Suspension of the sentence is not allowed for alternative sentences. Suspension of the execution of a sentence is an extraordinary procedure – again, the only effective ground is the need for medical treatment of the convict which the prison is unable to provide. There is no legal entitlement to a suspension of the execution of a sentence.

Conditional release

A sentence of unconditional imprisonment does not have to last for the entire period of time imposed in the conviction. If the convict exhibits good behavior in prison and after meeting other conditions (at least partial recompense, etc.), the convict may be released on parole after a certain period of imprisonment (at least 1/3 of their sentence). However, after their release, he/she will be supervised by a designated probation officer for the remainder of the sentence time, and must return to prison once he/she has violated the conditions of his/her conditional release.

Conditional abandonment of the sentence

Concerning only the sentences of prohibition from activity or residence, the convict may apply to the court to conditionally waive the duty to comply with the prohibition from activity or residence for the remaining period of such sentences. In order to apply for conditional abandonment of the remaining sentence, the convict must have served at least half of their sentence as prescribed by the court.

For his/her application to be approved, the convicts behavior during the service of his sentence must prove to the court that he has already reformed, and therefore it is no longer necessary for him to serve the remainder of his sentence. Beyond proving that he has reformed his lifestyle, the convict may provide the court with an guarantee that someone else (associates, relatives) will monitorhis/her further life. However, the reliability of the guarantee offered is for the court to assess. Again, there is no legal entitlement to conditional release.

Becoming approved

If the convict does not violate the conditions of supervision in the probation period, as soon as the probation period ends it is in his/her interest to apply to the first instance court (the court that sentenced him/her) to issue an approval. Such an application must be supplemented by documents proving that the convict has complied with the conditions of probation (most important is the probation officer's report). The court will then issue a decision certifying wether or not the convict has proved himself . If the court does not reach such an decision within 1 year after the application has been submitted, the certificate of approval will be issued automatically. Only after obtaining this certificate may the convict then apply to the court to expunge his/her sentence (after a prescribed period of good life).

Expungment of conviction

After serving the sentence, the convict must not forget to apply to the court to have the sentence expunged from the Criminal Register – after the prescribed period has passed, depending on the type of sentence. Otherwise, the criminal record may complicate his/her proper life, in particular where integrity is required by law (government service, participating in public procurement, etc.).

Grace of the President of the Republic

This option does not require any formalities, although there is a recommended form for it on the website of the Ministry of Justice. It can be filed at any time, that is, until the entire imposed sentence has been served. It is submitted to the office of the President of the Republic through the Ministry of Justice. The factual status of the convicted person is decisive for its success. In the vast majority of cases, pardons are granted only when the life or health of the convicted is at stake.

In an application, it is possible to ask either for the remission of the sentence or the remainder of it OR for the discontinuation of the criminal prosecution. Therefore, it is not possible to request the annulment of a guilty verdict once pronounced by a court. If the president grants a pardon, it does not affect the validity of the sentence, only the imposition of the sentence. The convicted person is not even entitled to compensation from the state for the conviction or to the deletion of the record from the Criminal Register.