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What is ‘general’ criminal law? It’s jargon for the frequent cases of, for instance, theft, embezzlement, fraud, abuse, homicide, sex offences or drug trafficking. Several of our lawyers handle these kinds of cases.
Generally, you become aware that you are suspected of a ‘general’ crime when you are suddenly apprehended (‘arrested’) and transported to the police station for questioning. Our advice: do not answer questions without talking to a lawyer first.
Of course, a suspect or witness may receive a written summons or subpoena to appear before the police or in Court. Again, consult a lawyer first.
Always consult a lawyer before you, as a suspect, answer questions by the police, Public Prosecutor or judge.
A suspect does not have to answer questions and may always invoke his/her right to remain silent.
There is no such thing as an “off the record” conversation with the police or judicial authorities. Everything can be taken down and used against you at a later stage. Remember that all phone conversations by detainees can be wiretapped by the authorities!
Have you been summoned or subpoenaed as a witness? Prior consultation with a lawyer is advisable. Sometimes you are under no obligation to make a statement (legal privilege).
A lawyer is not always allowed to be present during police interviews. This can be resolved if the suspect immediately indicates that he/she will only make a statement in the presence of his/her lawyer.
A criminal case does not always get to court. Given the circumstances, your lawyer may negotiate a ‘dismissal’ or ‘transaction’ with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
If you have been arrested but cannot afford a lawyer, you can make a ‘preference statement’. If the preferred lawyer is available, he/she will assist you at the government’s expense.
Consult our specialists for more information