a) Criminal Code
Criminal Code No. 40/2009 Sb. (hereinafter the “CC”) came into force in the Czech Republic on 1 January 2010. This is modern legislation, which took an extensive amount of time to prepare and which takes into consideration both EU law and also recommendations and standpoints from the European Council.
The Criminal Code determines what a criminal offence is and what punishments are imposed for specific criminal offences. The range of criminal offences is similar to that embedded in the criminal codes of other European states.
We can essentially state that a criminally liable offender must be (i) of sound mind, (ii) at least 15 years of age and (iii) must commit the criminal offence intentionally. Intent basically means that the offender wished to commit the criminal offence or at least knew that his/her actions could lead to him/her committing a criminal offence and if he/she does commit an offence in this manner, then he/she was aware of this possibility.
In exceptional cases negligent behaviour is all that is necessary to commit a criminal offence. However, this must be explicitly stipulated by the law (Section 13(2) of the CC). A criminal offence is committed out of negligence if the offender was aware that he/she might commit a criminal offence but believed that this would not come about, without adequate reasons. Negligence is also behaviour when the offender was not aware that he/she could commit a criminal offence by his/her actions, even though he/she should and could have known this.
As an example, criminal offences related to business activities particularly include embezzlement (Section 206 CC), fraud (Section 209 CC), harm to creditors (Section 222 CC), cause of bankruptcy (Section 224 CC) or violation of duties during an insolvency proceeding (Section 225 CC). Furthermore, for example, legalisation of the proceeds of criminal activities (Sections 216, 217 CC) and breach of duties during administration of the property of another (Sections 220, 221 CC). In relation to business activities, it is also possible to commit criminal offences such as tax evasion (Section 240 CC), breach of regulations on the rules of economic competition (Section 248 CC) and also criminal offences related to the capital market such as manipulation of the exchange rate of investment instruments (Section 250 CC), or criminal offences against the environment.
b) Act on the criminal liability of legal persons
Act on the criminal liability of legal persons No. 418/2011 Sb. (hereinafter “ACLLP”) came into force in the Czech Republic in 2012. This act enables prosecution of a legal person (company), which has a registered office in the Czech Republic or has a factory or organisational unit located in the Czech Republic, for a criminal offence. All that is actually necessary is that such a legal person at least conducts its activities in the Czech Republic or has property here when it commits a criminal offence within the territory of the Czech Republic.
Legal persons may commit any of the criminal offences stipulated in the Criminal Code, with the exception of those criminal offences that are explicitly excluded in the ACLLP (e.g., murder, affray, bigamy, etc.).
A criminal offence committed by a legal person is an illegal act committed in its interest or within the scope of its activities by its statutory body, a person in a leadership role who executes decisive influence on the management of such a legal person or even just an employee or person in a similar position while carrying out work tasks. Furthermore, the criminal liability of a company is not precluded if it cannot be established which specific natural person acted on behalf of this legal person.
However, a legal person does not commit a criminal offence particularly if it implemented the compulsory measures according to another legal regulation or measures that could have reasonably be required of it (particularly compulsory and necessary control), or implemented measures essential to limit or avert the consequences of the committed criminal offence or prevent it.
The punishment of termination of the legal person, forfeit of property, monetary penalties or prohibition of activities may be imposed for criminal offences committed by a legal person.
Czech criminal proceedings are initiated by the phase of so-called verification, during which time the police verify the decisive facts indicating that a criminal offence has been committed on the basis of a criminal complaint or their own findings. There is practically no formal procedure for this phase, which corresponds to the fact that police findings and also evidence obtained during this phase of the procedure usually cannot be used in the subsequent phases of the criminal proceeding and must be repeated. For instance, official records of submitted statements of explanation may only be used to consider the proposal for a specific person to be questioned as a witness. However, the exception to this rule is urgent or unrepeatable actions, which must be carried out by law enforcement bodies in compliance with fairly strict legal conditions.
Within the terms of verification, the police may summon anyone to submit a statement of explanation, whether this is as a suspect or a witness. Even during this phase of the criminal proceeding the affected person is entitled to legal aid from a lawyer, who is the only person who may act as defence counsel for someone against whom criminal proceedings are directed.
Persons submitting a statement of explanation with no command of the Czech language are naturally entitled to have a court interpreter present during submission of a statement of explanation. This is conditional to the person who is providing a statement of explanation explicitly declaring that he/she does not have command of the Czech language.
The verification phase usually lasts from two to six months and always ends in a decision either to (i) suspend the case if the police come to the conclusion that a criminal offence was not committed, or (ii) submit the case for a misdemeanour hearing if this is not a criminal offence case but a misdemeanour, or (iii) a decision to initiate prosecution.
Prosecution is initiated the moment the police have specific findings available which justify the conclusion that a specific person has committed a criminal offence. Prosecution is initiated at the moment of delivery of a resolution to initiate prosecution to the accused person, i.e., the suspect.
A complaint can be filed against a decision to initiate prosecution within a very short time limit of three days. This complaint is submitted to the body against whose resolution such a complaint is directed.
The suspect is entitled to legal assistance from a lawyer (defence counsel), who may be present during all actions carried out by the police, such as the questioning of witnesses or co-defendants, recognition, etc. During these actions the defence counsel protects his/her client’s interests, he/she may ask questions, raise objections and particularly supervise the legality of the procedure by law enforcement bodies, for example. The defence counsel may view the police file, submit suggestions for verification of the procedure to the public prosecutor supervising the preparatory phase of the criminal proceedings, and thereby effectively safeguard protection of the suspect’s rights.
The suspect’s rights:
The suspect has the right to comment on all circumstances that he/she is accused of and also on all evidence. The suspect is not obliged to testify, however, he/she may change his/her decision to refuse to do so at any time during the criminal proceedings. If the suspect is represented by a lawyer, it is always useful to choose the strategy by which to proceed within the terms of investigation of a criminal offence.
The suspect is entitled to state the circumstances and evidence used for his/her defence, and also to submit motions and file complaints and remedial measures. He/she is entitled to choose his/her defence counsel and to consult him/her even during actions carried out by law enforcement bodies. However, he/she is not permitted to consult his/her defence lawyer on how to answer a previously asked question while he/she is being questioned. He may request that he/she be questioned in the presence of his/her defence counsel and also for his/her defence counsel to be present during other actions in the pre-trial proceedings. If the suspect is on remand or is serving a sentence of imprisonment, he/she may speak to his/her defence counsel without a third party being present.
In Czech, law detainment and remand of a suspect is a so-called custodial institute which fundamentally interferes in the personal integrity of this person. This is why the rights of detained persons and persons who are being prosecuted while serving a sentence of imprisonment should be protected to the maximum possible extent and interference in their personal freedoms should be minimised.
A person caught while committing a criminal offence or immediately after doing so may be restrained by anyone, if this is necessary to establish such a person’s identity to prevent this person from escaping or to secure evidence. However, this person must be immediately handed over to the police bodies.
Police bodies may detain:
1) persons who are suspects (i.e., persons against whom no prosecution has been initiated and who have not yet been charged), if this concerns an urgent case when there is reason to detain such a person. The consent of the public prosecutor is essential for detaining a suspect; without this consent a person may only be detained if the matter brooks no delay and consent cannot be obtained in advance, particularly if such a person was caught while committing a criminal offence or caught while escaping;
2) an accused person (against whom prosecution has been initiated), if there is a reason for remand.
The police body will question the detained person and execute a record of questioning. The detained person must be immediately released in the event that the suspicion is dispelled or the reasons for detention are disproven for other reasons. If the police do not release the detained person, a record of the questioning of this person is submitted to the public prosecutor, along with a resolution to initiate prosecution and other evidence so that the public prosecutor is able to submit a motion to take this person into custody. The police body must submit this motion without undue delay, so that the person detained according to this law can be handed over to the court within 48 hours of being detained; otherwise, this person must be released. The judge is required to question the detained person and to decide whether he/she will be taken into custody or released within 24 hours of delivery of the motion from the public prosecutor.
The detained person is entitled to choose a defence counsel, to speak with this counsel without a third party being present, and to consult this counsel while he/she is being detained; he/she is also entitled to request that the defence counsel be present while he/she is being questioned. If the public prosecutor files a motion to take this person into custody, the suspect must be represented by a defence counsel (see below Re: “mandatory defence”).
The accused may be remanded in custody if the legal requirements are met, on the basis of a decision by a court. The suspect must always be represented by a defence counsel within the terms of the remand proceedings. This defence counsel is either chosen by the accused or is appointed ex offo.
Suspects cannot be remanded in custody; only a person who has been charged and to whom a resolution of initiation of prosecution has been delivered and who is therefore aware of what exactly he/she is being charged with by the police may be remanded.
In order to take an accused person into custody it is necessary to meet one of the three reasons for remand according to Section 67 of the Criminal Code. There must therefore be reasonable and substantiated concern that
Whether a person is to be remanded in custody is decided during a pre-trial proceeding (i.e., once the accused has been charged) by a court of law (judge) on the basis of a motion filed by the public prosecutor. A complaint may be submitted against the decision to remand a person in custody, within a time limit of three days of the date the remand ruling is delivered, or it can be made orally in a record immediately after the remand ruling is announced.
Depending on how serious the criminal offence is that the accused is charged with, remand may last from up to one year (in relation to less serious criminal offences) to four years (in regard to especially serious crimes, for which an exceptional punishment may be imposed).
If the accused is remanded in custody during the pre-trial phase and this custody lasts for over 1/3rd of the highest permissible period of imprisonment, he/she must then be released. The same applies if the subsequent trial lasts longer than 2/3rds of the highest permissible period of imprisonment.
If this does not concern remand due to the risk of collusion, custody may be substituted by a monetary guarantee (bail), a guarantee provided by a trustworthy person, the accused’s written promise to refrain from committing criminal offences, supervision by a probation officer or a so-called preliminary measure (prohibition of gambling and betting, prohibition of travelling out of the country, prohibition of contact with the aggrieved parties, etc.).
The accused person has the right to request to be released from custody at any time after the remand ruling comes into legal force. If such a request is denied, the accused may repeat his/her request to be released from custody no sooner than after 30 days have elapsed, but if he/she gives new reasons for him/her to be released from custody, he/she may file a request to be released before this time limit elapses.
The judge is required to decide whether the accused will be kept in custody or whether he/she will be released, on the basis of a motion by the public prosecutor, every three months after the ruling to remand the charged person in custody or the ruling to keep him/her in custody comes into legal force. Otherwise, the accused must be immediately released.
Conditions for remand
While on remand the accused person may receive and send correspondence without restrictions, but the content of such correspondence is always subject to inspection. The exception to this rule is the accused’s correspondence with his/her defence counsel, inspection of which is not permitted.
The accused person may usually use a telephone to contact a close person, however, the prison service may monitor these calls. The accused covers the costs for such telephone calls. Telephone calls can be made using pre-paid telephone cards from a landline in the remand prison. When the accused enters the remand prison, he/she provides a list of telephone numbers of close persons which will be contacted. He/she is not permitted to call other numbers.
The accused person is also entitled to receive visits by up to four persons once every two weeks. These visits may last up to ninety minutes. However, these persons must receive a prior invitation to visit on a specific day and hour, which they are unable to choose and which will be determined by the prison service.
It is important that the defence counsel may visit the accused person without restriction, at any hour on any day, and is entitled to speak with the accused without a third party being present, in a designated room.
The accused is also entitled to receive a parcel with food and personal items, weighing up to 5 kg, once every three months. However this weight restriction does not apply to parcels containing clothing for the purpose of its replacement, books, daily newspapers, magazines and toiletries. Parcels are also subject to inspection carried out by the prison service.
The accused may receive money sent to him/her to the prison to a special bank account, without restriction.
Criminal proceedings are held in the Czech language in the Czech Republic. Anyone who declares that he/she does not have command of the Czech language is entitled to use his/her native language or a language he/she states he/she has command of before law enforcement bodies. In such cases the relevant body summons an interpreter. With regard to the fact that the quality of interpretation may vary and the translation may not always correspond to the information provided by a person without command of the Czech language, it is appropriate for the defence counsel to have command of the accused’s language and be able to effectively inspect the content of the translation.
The accused is entitled to a written translation of important papers into his/her native language. This particularly concerns resolutions to initiate prosecution, resolutions to remand a person, the indictment, plea bargains and motions for their approval, motions for punishment, judgments, orders of punishment, appeal decisions and decisions to conditionally suspend prosecution.
The Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, which stipulates that a summoned court interpreter must be free for persons charged with a criminal offence, applies in the Czech Republic.
In criminal proceedings an indictment is an institute by which the accused is brought to justice on the basis of the results of the pre-trial phase – investigation. According to the Criminal Code, an indictment may only be issued in the Czech Republic by the public prosecutor. Czech law does not acknowledge the institute of private or supporting indictment as used by Austrian law.
One must remember that the accused is unable to use any remedial measures as defence against an indictment, whereas a court of law must always make a judgment on the indictment.
The public prosecutor appends the files compiled during the pre-trial phase to the indictment and notifies the accused, as well as the defence counsel and the aggrieved party, that an indictment has been issued against him/her. The court with jurisdiction to hear the indictment then sends the indictment to the involved parties, usually together with a summons to the main trial. However, the indictment can be requested from the court with jurisdiction at any time after the public prosecutor sends out the notification that an indictment has been issued.
Once an indictment has been issued against the accused by the public prosecutor, the court orders a trial. The term accused is used to identify the suspect from the time a trial is ordered. Once the indictment is issued the accused may file a motion for a preliminary hearing to the relevant court. The reason for a preliminary hearing is particularly breach of procedural regulations during the pre-trial phase, insufficient establishment of the facts of the case, incorrect legal qualification of the facts of the case as a criminal offence, or if there are other reasons for discontinuing the criminal proceedings.
The main trial is the phase of the criminal proceedings following immediately after indictment, in which a decision is made regarding the accused’s guilt and punishment, or possibly on imposition of measures and compensation of damages to the aggrieved parties. In the Czech Republic the main trial is governed by the principles of being public and oral.
At the beginning of the main trial the judge asks the public prosecutor to present the indictment, the defence counsel and the accused then issue their statement regarding the indictment. The court then moves to submit evidence, which is the most important phase of its activities during the main trial, whereas the court explains and evaluates the circumstances that are relevant to the facts of the case described in the indictment, in the presence of all the parties.
According to the Czech Criminal Code evidence may be anything that can contribute to clarification of the case. Law enforcement bodies should obtain evidence in the favour of and to the detriment of the accused person. However, the reality is quite different; the accused must obtain evidence in his/her favour him/herself at his/her own initiative or propose this evidence at his/her own initiative during the main trial. It is the defence counsel’s task to check whether the evidence submitted by law enforcement bodies was obtained legally and whether all the statutory conditions were met for obtaining this evidence and its use. If not, the specific evidence cannot be used within the terms of evaluation of the accused’s guilt.
Once all the evidence has been presented, the chairperson for the senate gives the floor for the closing arguments. The public prosecutor takes the floor first of all. Once he/she has given his/her closing argument, the other procedural parties, or more precisely their representatives, may speak, with the understanding that the defence counsel or the accused always speaks last. Once the closing arguments have been given and before adjourning for a final consultation, the chairperson of the senate gives the accused the opportunity to give his/her final words. The accused must not be asked any questions during his/her speech. Giving the accused the opportunity to give final words at the very end of the trial is an important guarantee of his/her rights, because the judges leave for their final consultation with the impression of his/her speech uppermost in mind.
The main trial essentially ends with announcement of the judgement, which either finds the accused guilty, or acquits him/her. It is also possible to suspend the criminal proceedings in the event that the court finds any circumstances during the main trial that mean that prosecution is not possible, the case is returned to the public prosecutor or prosecution is suspended, Approval of a settlement agreement is also possible under the terms stipulated by the law, during which time prosecution is also conditionally suspended.
The order of punishment is a simplified judicial ruling for sentencing. Issue of an order of punishment is typical for proceedings before a sole judge and is used to accelerate and simplify the course of prosecution in relation to less serious criminal offences. A sole judge may only issue an order of punishment without hearing the case during a main trial if the facts of the case are reliably proven by the obtained evidence, this includes during a simplified proceeding held after an abbreviated pre-trial proceeding. The order of punishment is of the nature of a sentencing judgement with the understanding that a remonstrance may be submitted against the order of punishment within 8 days after it has been delivered. This remonstrance is of the nature of a remedial measure. Submission of a remonstrance voids the order of punishment. The relevant court subsequently orders a main trial, within the terms of which a judgment which imposes a stricter punishment on the accused compared to the previous order of punishment, may also be announced.
The rights of the accused
The accused has the right to comment on all the circumstances he/she is accused of and on the evidence for these circumstances. However, the accused is not required to testify and the accused must be instructed of this right. He/she has the option of commenting on the indictment in detail, particularly to coherently describe the circumstances that are the subject of the indictment, state circumstances that weaken or refute the indictment and offer evidence of this.
The accused has the right to view the files, make excerpts and notes from them and obtain copies of files and their parts at his/her own expense. It can be recommended that one becomes acquainted with the content of the criminal file in detail and checks whether its content corresponds with the content of the file at the time of the pre-trial phase, and makes copies of crucial evidence.
The accused naturally has the right to take part in the indictment hearing during the main trial, to comment on each piece of evidence presented and to give a closing argument including his/her last words. The accused may also present circumstances and evidence for his/her defence, make motions and submit requests and remedial measures.
The Criminal Code determines cases of mandatory defence, i.e., cases when the accused must have a defence counsel, which may only be a lawyer registered in the list of lawyers of the Czech Bar Association. Persons who are considered to be on the run, on remand or sentenced to imprisonment, who are relieved of capacity or have restricted capacity to take legal actions or, for example, those who are at risk of being sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum period of over 5 years, must also have a defence counsel during the pre-trial phase. The law stipulates a number of other cases where the accused must have a defence counsel, for instance, cases where the court or public prosecutor (during the pre-trial phase) consider this necessary.
The accused has the right to choose his/her defence counsel in all the cases set out above. If he/she does not choose a defence counsel within the specified time limit, a defence counsel will be designated by the court. However, the accused may choose a different defence counsel at any time instead of the designated defence counsel.
If there is a case for mandatory defence, this does not mean that the accused will be provided with a defence counsel free of charge. The accused is required to cover the costs for the defence counsel even in cases of mandatory defence. If it is proven that the accused does not have sufficient funds to cover the costs for the defence counsel, the court will decide that the accused is entitled to free defence or will reduce the remuneration required for such defence. Such motions are submitted by the accused to the court, with the understanding that this must be done by means of the public prosecutor during the pre-trial phase.
An appeal in favour of the accused may be submitted by the accused him/herself and also the public prosecutor, the accused’s close relatives, siblings, adoptive parent, spouse, partner or common-law spouse. On the contrary, only the public prosecutor or the aggrieved party, in the event that he/she claimed the right to compensation of damages, may submit an appeal to the detriment of the accused.
The Czech Criminal Code does not stipulate or define the reasons according to which an appeal may be submitted. The authorised person can therefore contest the judgment for any reason it considers important with the understanding that the appeal can also be based on new circumstances and evidence.
The appellate court is always the superior court of a higher instance, within whose district the court of the first instance is located. The defence counsel must be present in all cases, as in the main trial, the public prosecutor’s participation is also compulsory during a public hearing; on the contrary, the accused’s presence is essential in all cases the appellate court considers necessary or if the accused is a minor.
According to the Criminal Code, the appellate proceeding may be completed in several ways: (i) dismissal of the appeal if the appellate court finds that there are no grounds for the appeal, (ii) rejection of the appeal if it does not meet the prerequisites for the content of an appeal, (iii) reversal of the contested judgment or its part and retrial by the court of the first instance, (iv) a judgment, if the appellate court makes a judgement in this case, (v) resolution, if the appellate court returns the case to the public prosecutor for further investigation, (vi) resolution, if it refers the aggrieved party to civil law proceedings, (vii) resolution to return the case to the court of the first instance for further investigation.
Proceedings against a fugitive may be considered in cases when the accused avoids prosecution by residing abroad or by hiding from law enforcement bodies, not only within the territory of the Czech Republic. There is no need to deliver papers to the accused during such proceedings; all papers are delivered personally to his/her defence counsel (always designated by the court), who has the same rights as the accused. The court may therefore judge the case without the presence of the accused, or more precisely the fugitive, during proceedings against a fugitive, and may also announce a judgment of conviction.
If the criminal proceedings against the fugitive have been legally effectively completed and the fugitive, as the accused, was legally effectively found guilty of committing a criminal offence in absentia, the fugitive, as the convicted person, may file a motion to reverse this decision and insist on a re-trial of the case during the main trial.
A European Arrest Warrant is issued in compliance with EU regulations and is valid in all European Union member states (hereinafter the “EAW”). Issue of an EAW and handing over of the accused or convicted person is governed in the Czech Republic by Act No. 104/2013 Sb., on international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
On the basis of an EAW, each member state is explicitly required to arrest and hand over suspects or convicted persons to the state that issued the EAW so that prosecution or the serving of an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment can take place. This warrant is particularly issued in cases where a warrant to detain, arrest or deliver a person for the purpose of serving a sentence was issued, whereas such a warrant could not be successfully executed for a period of 6 months.
If this person is subsequently detained in an EU member state on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant, this person is placed in remand for the purpose of handing over, and the relevant body of the specific EU member state decides on his/her handing over to the relevant EU member state. If this state finds handing over of this person justified, the bodies of the member state hand over the required person to the bodies of the Czech Republic at the designated location.
A convicted person serving a sentence of imprisonment may receive and send correspondence without restriction, but the content of such correspondence is always subject to inspection. The exception to this rule is correspondence between the convicted person and his/her defence counsel, inspection of which is not permitted.
The convicted person may usually use a telephone to contact a close person; however, the prison service may monitor these calls and make recordings of them. The convicted person covers the costs for such telephone calls. Telephone calls may be made by using a pre-paid telephone card from telephones within the prison.
A convicted person also has the right to receive visits from close persons, lasting a total of 3 hours during one calendar month. The convicted person may be visited by a maximum of 4 persons simultaneously, including minor children. Visits by minor children up to the age of 15 years are only possible if they are accompanied by a person aged over 18. Visits take place on the basis of a request by the convicted person, which is submitted to the warden. The warden then issues a written permit for the visit, which specifies a maximum of 4 close persons, the date of the visit and the instructions for carrying out the visit. The convicted person sends this to the visitors at his/her own expense, who are permitted to enter the prison after submitting this permit and verification of their identity.
A convicted person has the right to the provision of legal aid from a lawyer, who is authorised within the scope of his/her authority to carry out correspondence with the convicted person and speak with him/her without third parties being present.
The convicted person also has the right to receive a parcel containing food and personal items, weighing up to 5 kg, twice a year. This weight limit does not apply to parcels containing underwear, clothing or supplies for realisation of an education or interest programme. The parcels are subject to inspections performed by the prison service.
The convicted person may receive money without restriction, which is sent to him/her to a special bank account in prison. The convicted person may also purchase items using money he/she handed over to the prison when arriving to serve his/her sentence.
Convicted persons who are employed are required to work if they are medically fit to work. Convicted persons are also required to cover the costs related to serving a sentence of imprisonment.
When convicted foreigners serve a sentence of imprisonment, Czech prisons proceed where possible so that foreigners of the same nationality or speaking the same or a similar language are able to communicate together.
The aggrieved party is the party that suffered harm to health, proprietary damage or non-proprietary harm as a result of the criminal offence, or a party to whose detriment the offender enriched him/herself by committing the criminal offence.
The aggrieved party is entitled to propose that the court impose the duty to compensate him/her for damages or non-proprietary harm which the aggrieved party suffered as a result of the criminal offence, or the duty to surrender unjustified enrichment which the convicted person acquired to his/her detriment as a result of the criminal offence, against the convicted person in the judgment of conviction. This is of great advantage for the aggrieved party, because he/she is subsequently not required to claim his/her rights in a traditional complaint during a civil lawsuit.
It must be remembered that the motion for compensation of damages must be filed during the main trial before the presentation of evidence begins at the latest. The motion must clearly state the reasons for and the scope of the claim for compensation of damages or non-propriety harm, or the reasons for and scope of the claim for the surrender of unjustified enrichment. The aggrieved party is required to provide evidence of the reasons for and the value of damages, non-proprietary harm or unjustified enrichment.
The aggrieved party may also be represented by an agent, who represents the aggrieved party’s interests during the criminal proceedings.
In relation to the business activities of foreign nationals in the Czech Republic, it is possible for such persons to be required to submit an excerpt from the Criminal Records Register to a court of law (typical for the Commercial Register) or an administrative body.
On the other hand, it is sufficient to apply for an excerpt from the Criminal Records Register in the state in which you will be submitting it. This relieves one of the duty to obtain such a document and attach an apostille to it, but provision of this information by another state may take longer.
If criminal proceedings are being held against an EU citizen as the accused in criminal proceedings, in the Czech Republic, law enforcement bodies will always obtain an excerpt from the Criminal Records Register from the country of his/her origin, whereas records of criminal offences are always considered aggravating circumstances.
In cases when the personal freedom of citizens is restricted, either due to their being suspected of committing a criminal offence or because they committed a criminal offence, the embassy of the country of these citizens is authorised to provide its citizens with assistance, which chiefly consists of the provision of information about the citizen’s legal situation or arranging contact information for a local lawyer, and the embassy is also authorised to help during communication with law enforcement bodies.
According to the Act on serving a sentence of imprisonment, foreigners are instructed to contact the diplomatic mission and consular office of the state they are citizens of immediately after starting to serve their sentence. Foreigners are also instructed on receiving consular visitors, either at their own request or the request of their relatives. These visits are not included in the number of visits allowed to the convicted person for meeting with close persons.
The embassy also provides the opportunity to consult matters regarding the possibility of serving (the remainder of) the sentence in their country of residence. Foreigners are instructed of this right according to the Act on serving a sentence of imprisonment. One must remember that according to Czech law, foreigners may only be handed over to their country of residence in the event that such procedure is permitted by an international treaty binding the Czech Republic.
JUDr. Vojtěch Steininger, LL.M.
Mgr. Hedvika Hartmanová
Hartmanová & Steininger, advokáti
CZ – 110 00 Praha 1
Copyright © 2017 –
This website reflects legal situation as of September 1st, 2017.
The authors have taken every care in preparation of this website. Nevertheless they cannot provide any guarantee for the correctness of the information provided.
All rights to this website including all or any of its parts are reserved. Any use beyond the strict limits of copyright law without the permission of the author or publisher is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. This applies, in particular, to reproductions, translations, microfilming, and storage and processing on electronic media.
This website is a general guidance on matters of interest only, and do not constitute professional advice. This website do not and cannot take into account any specific circumstances, financial situation or needs of any reader; our readers should not act upon the information contained in this website without obtaining independent professional advice first. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this website, and, to the extent permitted by law, JUDr. Vojtěch Steininger, LL.M., Mgr. Hedvika Hartmanová, their employees, cooperating attorneys and tax advisers do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of the reader, or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this website or for any decision based on it.