Defence in Criminal Proceedings

Our law firm provides defence services to the accused in criminal proceedings.

The right of the defendant to the defence is a traditional and inherent part of the right to a fair trial. The right of defence can be construed as a set of rights guaranteed to persons facing criminal proceedings, i.e. the accused/the defendant.

The fact that the right of defence is usually guaranteed by the Constitution or international documents defining human rights and fundamental freedoms, mainly by the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, is yet another attestation of its pivotal role in criminal proceedings.

Under Czech law, the right of defence is further elaborated on by the applicable criminal legislation including, without limitation, the Criminal Procedure Act; this means that the rights, inherently related to the right of defence, granted to anyone facing criminal proceedings (mainly the accused) and their defence counsel are introduced.

To comply with the principle of a fair trail, it is indispensable that the person facing criminal prosecution, i.e. the accused, may intervene in the proceedings through an experienced professional who knows how to organise the defence, who can provide support to the defendant in a difficult situation, supervise the terms of the detention and check whether the prosecuting bodies have acted lawfully.

In a democratic society, the right to a fair trial plays an essential role; the exercise of the right to a fair trial facilitates the defence through the defence counsel.

Only an attorney-at-law may be retained to act as counsel in criminal proceedings. Such an attorney-at-law may only start acting for you after being retained or appointed by court. Everyone may choose their counsel at their discretion, or if the accused fails to do so, the counsel may be retained by their direct relatives, siblings, adoptive parents, adopted children, spouses, civil partners, or partners. In situations where the accused fails to retain counsel but it is required by law to have one, the defence counsel will be appointed to act for such person by court. The accused may, however, retain another attorney-at-law instead of the defence counsel appointed by court or retained for him or her by the persons listed above.

Besides situations where defence by a lawyer is required by law, the counsel may also be appointed by court where the accused is entitled to the defence free-of-charge or for a reduced fee. If the accused is found eligible for the defence free-of-charge or for a reduced fee, a counsel will be appointed immediately after the accused applies for the appointment.

The counsel – either retained or appointed by court – shall provide the defendant with necessary legal services, effectively use any statutory remedies or means of defence available to protect the interests of the accused or the defendant; this includes, without limitation, making sure that all circumstances of the criminal offence that may exonerate the accused or minimise his or her culpability be duly and timely dealt with.

As early as from the pre-trial stage of the criminal proceedings, the defence counsel may file motions on behalf of the accused, file applications, apply for remedies, take part in the scheduled investigating activities, ask questions during any interviews as well as object to the methods used for the investigation. The counsel may usually consult the file, take quotes and notes from the files and make copies of the files or their parts. The counsel has the right to study the files within a reasonable period after the investigation has been closed, and request additional investigation. The counsel may participate in examination during trial, make proposals for evidence to be taken, and ask to be allowed to produce evidence in court e.g. by examining a witness or an expert witness; in addition, the counsel has the right to give the closing speech at the end of the trial.