Criminal charges often carry the potential for lifelong consequences. If you are charged with an offence, or believe you may be charged in the immediate future, having capable and committed legal representation is vital to mounting an effective defence. Our lawyers will help you work through the facts of your case and identify the best possible approach.
The Thai Criminal Justice System:
While the Thai judicial system is founded on many principles and practices similar to those of Western legal systems, it is important to understand that there are also significant differences that will affect the way a criminal case unfolds.
The first thing to note is the absence of a jury system. Trial by jury is a fundamental feature of most Western judicial systems, but jury trials are not available in Thailand. All rulings on procedure and the facts of a case are made by a single judge, and the case must be argued directly to them.
It is also important to be aware that it is not possible to ‘plea bargain’ with Thai prosecuting authorities to reduce the charges being brought against a defendant or the sentence that may result from a conviction. The Royal Thai Police, however, can assess a case prior to submitting it for prosecution and choose to alter the charges. The prominent role played by Thai police in the judicial process means it is important to engage legal representation as soon as possible after an arrest, or indeed after any investigative contact from the police, to ensure proper guidance through this crucial stage.
Finally, not all prosecutions in Thailand are carried out by a public prosecutor acting on behalf of the state. An accuser may ask their lawyer to file a motion with the court for a private criminal prosecution, and if the application is granted, a prosecution will proceed. At any time during a private prosecution a public prosecutor may decide to join proceedings on behalf of the government. This system is advantageous to potential plaintiffs, who have more options through which to pursue a criminal complaint, but it can leave a defendant facing not just one prosecutor but two, adding considerable complexity to the process of defending a charge in the Thai legal system.
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Murder and Assault
Drug Use and Possession
Embezzlement and ‘White Collar’ Offences