Criminal Law

„In dubio pro reo“ – benefit of the doubt – marks one of the most important principles of German criminal law and criminal proceedings. Despite not being codified, it states that unless the judge / judges in charge are convinced of a person’s guilt, this person has to be treated as if unguilty and to be acquitted in the trial. Remand is only allowed exceptionally – the German “Code of Criminal Procedure” (StPO) provides the premises.

Experience shows that even if guilt is proved, the penalty the accused is sentenced to massively depends on his appearance before public prosection authorities and before the court. This impression can frequently be influenced in a positive way by a defense counsel.

Since criminal proceedings usually begin with preliminary investigation executed by a state prosector or police authorities, it is of vital importance for the suspected person to obtain profound advice on his rights and necessary statements and/or actions even in this early state.

It might happen that someone finds himself beeing suspected of criminal behaviour without knowing further details. Police authorities might wish to interrogate him before stating details on the suspection. In this case, a defense counsel can clarify things by requesting inspection of the investigation file and advising whether commenting or refusing to give evidence would be advantageous.

Selected F.A.Q.s and respective answers on this topic will be available for your information and can be browsed in the navigation bar on the left. Please keep in mind that this is introductory information only, not taking into account individual aspects. Although preparing and updating carefully, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, and quality of the information provided, nor that it is up-to-date. If you face a legal problem, we strongly suggest you consider our firm or any other attorney’s office in order to obtain appropriate legal advice.