Prosecution for Thai criminal cases and law is the responsibility of the Royal Thai Police, the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice. Professional Corporate Services has a very well-trained team of criminal lawyers who know exactly what needs to be done and how to get it done.

In criminal cases where there are foreign defendants, the Thai criminal justice system may appear to be difficult to navigate and that is why we urge suspects or defendants to contact an experienced criminal trial lawyer. The language barrier alone is the biggest reason you should lawyer up.

Thailand is also member of INTERPOL. This means that you can be subject to INTERPOL notices. Thailand also has various extradition treaties with some foreign governments. Therefore, should you be faced with a personal situation that potentially is criminal in nature we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. We can quickly assess the situation and possibly provide solutions to avoid criminal charges.

Understanding Criminal Law In Thailand

If you are ever charged with a crime in Thailand the first thing you should do is get a Thai criminal lawyer if you don’t you will be at the mercy of the police who will attempt to get you to sign a statement and plead guilty. Don’t every sign anything. Get a criminal lawyer!

Know Your Rights as a Criminal Suspect
If you ever become a suspect in a criminal case in Thailand it is important that you fully know and understand your rights. You have:

  • Right to remain silent.
  • Right to access a consular representative.
  • Right to apply for bail.
  • Right to a lawyer, or trusted person present at the interrogation.
  • Right to have contact with their relatives, including visits.
  • Right to medical treatment if you are unwell.
  • Right not to provide a statement – This is the most important one and you should never give a statement to the police without a lawyer present. This statement can and will be used against you in court so resist the right to defend yourself.

Police will often attempt to convince you to plead guilty to a crime. While their argument of a lesser sentence may be appealing, you have just waived a very important tool that can be used by a criminal lawyer, the plea-bargain. This opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser crime is more often than not better than the option of a lesser sentence, simply because a lawyer cannot present evidence during the sentencing hearing.

Finally, Thai authorities may request to inspect your passport as you are foreign national. BUT they may not retain it without a court order or a warrant as potential criminal offenses are not related to your right to stay. This is true regardless of what you are being charged with.

Know your Rights as a Criminal Defendant
Once the public prosecutor has filed a criminal complaint against you, your status changes from suspect to defendant. It is also very important that you understand your rights as a defendant in a criminal case. And please remember that you are only seen as a criminal once you have been found guilty of a wrongful act against Thai society, not before.

  • Right to inspect and review any statement that is provided.
  • Right to inspect and retain copies of court files.
  • Right to retain and inspect copies of evidence submitted.
  • Right to private consultations with criminal lawyers.
  • Right to have a lawyer present during the preliminary hearing.
  • Right to have a lawyer present during the trial.
  • Right to a fair and expeditious trial.

Thai Criminal Law - Significant Differences

Thailand does not have a jury system and that means that Judges have all the power. As a civil law jurisdiction Thailand does not have case law on its side as most Western countries do. Supreme Court decisions are not binding, but they do carry some clout and the criminal justice system is statute-based.

Criminal charges can be filed privately. And criminal cases can carry monetary compensation values. Suspects may legally be detained by law enforcement for 48 hours without any charges ever being filed.

Defamation is a serious criminal offense in Thailand and can lead to civil damages.

The death penalty is very commonly used for offenses related to drugs.

Bail in Thailand

All alleged defendants have the right to bail. Bail is more often than not granted but the amount of the bail will depend on severity of the case.

The request for bail should be made by a lawyer and in almost all cases the court will request that the defendant surrender their passport. Bail decisions can be expected the same day.

When bail is granted, a letter is sent to the Immigration Office informing them that you must remain in the country. While under bail, you may or may not be permitted to travel around Thailand freely, but you will need to appear in court when you are due to appear.

If Bail is denied by the Court of First Instance an appeal can be filed with the Appeals Court. Their decision is Final, but in some cases Lawyers can file a new application for Bail.

Your Visa While on Bail or During Your Case

It is extremely important to keep your visa updated during your criminal case as you do not want any unforeseen surprises when you are released from the charges. A good Law Firm will make it their priority to keep your visa valid and ensure conformity.

Appealing the Criminal Verdict

The Court of Appeals in Thailand has its own process and not like any other in Western Countries. Here are the basics:

  • Either party may appeal within one month after a verdict.
  • An Appeals Court is not likely to allow additional evidence.
  • It bases its findings on the evidence that was submitted during the original trial.
  • Proceedings are not conducted in public.
  • A panel of judges is involved, and their identities are not disclosed.
  • Processing time for the Appeals Court is between eight months and two years.

The Appeals Court ruling is returned to the Court of First Instance with the case file in a sealed envelope. A date is then scheduled to read the ruling. The prosecutor gets the notice and sometimes gives notice to the defense lawyer, not always. The defendant is brought to court on the scheduled date.

It is very possible that the defense lawyer is not notified and therefore is not present at the reading of the appeal. If the appeal is unsuccessful the defendant, may need to notify their lawyer should they wish to take the case to the Supreme Court.

If the lawyer sees that there is a need to take the case to the Supreme Court, an Appeal must be made within one month of the reading.

Summarizing Criminal Litigation in Thailand

As you can see, criminal litigation in Thailand can be complicated, a little tricky and not at all like what you are used to seeing and doing in Western Countries. It is advisable that you engage a qualified criminal lawyer to handle your situation as soon as possible. Professional Corporate Services can certainly assist you, so don’t hesitate to contact us. And remember the 1st consultation is totally FREE! Go ahead use the contact us form below. We are here to serve you!

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Our Address

253 Sukhumvit 21 Road (Asoke), 25th Floor

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+66 2 109 5160

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