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What is the Function of a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Thailand?

There are some who pose the question: what do criminal lawyers and attorneys do? Unlike other areas of law, the functions of criminal defense solicitors, barristers, lawyers, advocates, attorneys, or whatever particular title remain fairly similar from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Thailand, the functions of a Thai criminal defense attorney (and the criminal lawyers affiliated therewith) are not unlike their counterparts throughout the world notwithstanding the fact that the body of law from which such jurists practice is rather unique when compared to that of virtually any other country.

Bail Hearings

One of the significant functions a Thai criminal defense attorney can undertake is pleading the defendant’s case for bail before a court of competent jurisdiction in Thailand. Depending upon the severity of the crime as well as other relevant facts (risk of flight, defendant’s nationality, prior criminal record, etc) the court will make a determination as to A) whether bail in appropriate and B) the amount of bail to be paid and the conditions of the defendant’s release. In virtually every instance, the assistance of a Thai criminal defense attorney can be critical in both securing bail and limiting the amount of bail necessary to secure a defendant’s release. In the event that a defendant violates the conditions of his or her bail said defendant’s bail shall become forfeit to the court and the defendant shall likely become the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the court.

Pleadings

When a defendant is charged with a crime in Thailand said charge must be answered before the court. These proceedings are called pleadings and generally a defendant must decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges being presented to the court. Having the assistance of a competent legal professional can be of substantial benefit when deciding how to plead a case. This is true even when pleading guilty as assistance from a Thai attorney in framing one’s case can be critical in mitigating the ultimate sentence handed down by the Thai criminal court system.

Litigation

Should one choose to challenge the charges brought against them in the Thai criminal courts it is essential to have a licensed Thai attorney and legal team in order to be provided with litigation services during a trial of the case. Legal strategy and tactics are of utmost importance in cases where a defendant speaks the vernacular of the court, it is even more important when the case is brought in a jurisdiction where the defendant is not a fluent native speaker of the language. For those who are not Thai speakers having a Thai legal team who can explain the dynamics of the legal proceedings can be of enormous assistance.

Post sentencing

Thai legal professionals can be of service even after a case has concluded as such professionals are entitled to visit their clients if they are incarcerated and can assist in arranging visitation for family and friends. Such services can provide a great deal of solace and comfort to those incarcerated (for long or short terms).

Appeal

A Thai criminal defense attorney can also assist in the appellate process. As many cases can turn upon the interpretation of fine points of law a well presented appeal can prove beneficial to a criminal defendant in Thailand as such filings can result in a case being remanded for retrial, a sentence being reduced, or even a sentence being overturned. For this reason, retaining competent legal counsel is always a wise course of action.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of any case brought before the courts of any jurisdiction. This is no different in Thailand, no one can guarantee an outcome, but with effective assistance of counsel in the form of a competent Thai criminal defense lawyer an individual’s chances of seeing a more advantageous conclusion to criminal proceedings is better assured.