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Act XIX of 1998
on Criminal Proceedings

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Right to court procedure and the right to remedy
Section 3 (1) Everyone has the right to have the charge filed against him adjudicated by a court.
(2)It is the exclusive right of the court to ascertain the liability of a person in committing a criminal
offence and to impose punishment therefore.
(3)Judicial remedy is available – as it is prescribed by this Act - against the decisions of the court,
the prosecutor and the investigating authority, as well as against the measures taken by the prosecutor
and the investigating authority, moreover, on account of omission of measure should have been taken
by the court, the prosecutor and the investigating authority.
(4) Ordinary remedy is not available against the decisions of the Supreme Court

Burden of proof
Section 4 (1) The charge shall be proven by the accuser.
(2) Facts not proven beyond a reasonable doubt may not be contemplated to the detriment of the
defendant.


Right to defence
Section 5 (1) The defendant shall have the right to defence.
(2) Everyone has the right to defend himself at liberty. This right may only be restricted as well as a
person may be deprived of his freedom only for the reason and only in virtue of the procedure allotted
in this Act.
(3) The defendant may undertake his own defence, and may be defended by a counsel at any phase
of the proceedings. The court, the prosecutor and the investigating authority shall ensure that the
person against whom criminal proceedings are conducted can defend himself as prescribed in this Act.
(4) In the cases specified in this Act, it is compulsory to retain a defence counsel.

Ex officio procedure, initiating criminal proceedings and exemptions objections of the criminal
proceedings
Section 6 (1) It is the obligation of the court, the prosecutor and the investigating authority to
initiate as well as conduct the criminal proceedings if the conditions set forth in this Act are met.
(2) Criminal proceedings may only be initiated upon the suspicion of a criminal offence and only
against the person reasonably suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
(3) No criminal proceedings may be initiated, and criminal proceedings in progress shall be
terminated or a verdict of acquittal be rendered if
a) the action does not constitute a criminal offence, or was not committed by the defendant (the
denounced person),
b) it cannot be ascertained either that the criminal offence has been committed or that it has been
committed by the defendant (the denounced person),
c) with the exceptions set forth in this Act, grounds for the preclusion or termination of punishability
exist,
d) a final court verdict has already been delivered on the action of the defendant; however, this
provision does not apply to the procedures defined in Part Four and Titles II and III of Chapter
XXIX.13
(4) With the exception of the procedures specified in Part Four (extraordinary legal remedy),
subsection (3) d) shall apply even if the action of the offender constitutes several criminal offences,
but the court – in accordance with the classification in the indictment – does not ascertain the guilt of
the defendant in all offences that could be established based on the facts of the indictment.
(5) Prior to the retrial procedure defined in the Act of Misdemeanour16 no criminal proceedings
may be instituted against the person who has been declared liable in a court decision delivered in a
procedure for misdemeanour, if the facts of the case have not changed.


Presumption of innocence
Section 7 No person shall be considered guilty until, according to the law, finally convicted by the
court.


Prohibition of self-incrimination
Section 8 No one may be compelled to give testimony against himself or herself or to furnish
evidence against himself or herself.


Use of the native language
Section 9 (1) Criminal proceedings shall be conducted in the Hungarian language. No disadvantage
may be suffered by anyone who lacks the command of the Hungarian language.
(2) In criminal proceedings all those involved may use, both verbally and in writing, their native
language, or, pursuant to an international agreement promulgated by law may use their regional or
minority language concerning issues definied by the international agreement, or – lacking in command
the Hungarian language – another language defined by the party concerned as a language spoken.
(3) Translation of the decisions and other official documents to be served pursuant to this Act shall
be the responsibility of the court, prosecutor or investigating authority which has adopted the decision
or issued the official document.
(4) If an Act does not order it differently, the documents to be delivered ought not to be translated,
if the person concerned renounces this expressly.

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The defendant
Section 43 (1) The defendant is the person against whom criminal proceedings have been
instituted. The defendant is called suspect in the course of the investigation, accused in the
course of the court procedure and convict after the final imposition of the sentence, or the
definitive imposition of the reprimand, probation or corrective education.
(2) The defendant is entitled to
a) receive information on the suspicion, on the charge and any changes therein,
b) – unless provided otherwise by this Act – be present at the procedural actions, and
inspect the documents affecting him or her in the course of the procedure,
c) be granted sufficient time and opportunity for preparing his or her defence,
d) present facts to his or her defence at any stage of the procedure, and to make motions and
objections,
e) file for legal remedy,
f) receive information from the prosecutor and the investigating authority concerning his or
her rights and obligations during the criminal proceedings.
(3) The detained defendant is entitled to
a) contact his or her defence counsel, and, in the case of foreign citizens, the representative
of the consulate of his or her native country and communicate with them both in writing and
verbally without control,
b) conduct verbal communication with his or her relatives personally under supervision,
and written communication under control, based on the decision of the prosecutor and the
court before and after the bill of indictment is filed, respectively.
(4) Without prejudice to the right set forth in subsection (2) c) above, the defendant shall be
granted the possibility for making preparations without causing unreasonable difficulties for
conducting the procedure.
(5) The defendant residing in the territory of of Hungary shall report his or her place of
residence or place of stay and any change therein to the court, prosecutor or investigating
authority within 3 working days after moving, which conducts criminal proceedings against
him or her. Unless this Act stipulates other legal consequences, upon the failure to report the
above, in addition to imposing a disciplinary penalty, the defendant may be obliged to pay the
resulting costs. The defendant shall be advised thereof at the first interrogation during the
investigation and at the delivery of the indictment during the court procedure.
(6) When the relative (heir) of the defendant is granted the right of motion by this Act,
the rights of the defendant shall apply, as appropriate, to the rights of the relatives (heirs).
Upon the death of a defendant was a member of a church and was prevented from entering
into marriage due to the order of the church which he belonged to or due to an oath made, in
the absence of a relative (heir), his principal at the relevant church shall have the rights of a
relative in direct line.


The counsel for the defendant
Section 44 (1) The counsel for the defendant may be a lawyer acting upon a power of
attorney or an official appointment, or rather in case of conditions defined in separate laws
European lawyer may act.
(2) More than one counsels for the defence may act on behalf of a single defendant. In the
event that powers of attorney are given to several counsels for defence – unless the power of
attorney indicates otherwise – any of the assigned defence counsels may act on behalf of the
defendant at procedural actions or upon making a legal statement.
(3) If several counsels act on behalf of a single defendant, the official documents –
including the subpoena and notices – shall be served on the counsel of record, and any
statement concerning legal remedy or pleading may only be made by the counsel of record or
the defence counsel designated by him. Until the counsels unanimously denominate another
person, the counsel of record shall be the one who had first submitted his power of attorney.
(4) The same counsel may act on behalf of several defendants, provided that the defendants
do not have adverse interests.
(5) Apprentice lawyers shall not act as a defence counsel, beside a counsel or as a deputy
of the counsel at the public session as well as on the trial of the Court of Justice, the High
Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

Section 45 (1) The following shall not act as defence counsel:
a) the victim, the private prosecutor, the substitute private prosecutor, the private party as
well as the representatives and relatives thereof,
b) who acted in the case as a judge, prosecutor or a member of the investigating authority,
or who is a relative of the judge, prosecutor or a member of the investigating authority acted
or is acting in the case,
c) whose conduct was against the interests of the defendant, or whose interest is against
those of the defendant,
d) who is or was involved in the case as an expert or consultant,
e) who is or was involved in the case as a witness, unless the person could not be heard
pursuant to Section 81 (1) b) or refused to give testimony pursuant to Section 82 (1) c).
f) who is or has been involved in the case as a mediator
g) who is involved in the case as a defendant.
(2) The lawyer acting in the interest of a witness cannot act simultaneously as a defence
counsel.
(3) The court decides about the exclusion of the defence counsel.

Section 46 The participation of a defence counsel is statutory in criminal proceedings, if
a) the offence sentenced by imprisonment of 5 years or longer in accordance with the
law,
b) the defendant is detained,
c) the defendant is disabled in hearing, suffers from deafblindness, blind, mute or –
regardless of his legal responsibility – mentally disabled,
d) the defendant does not speak the Hungarian language or the language of the procedure,
e) the defendant is unable to defend himself personally for any other reasons,
f) it is expressly prescribed by this Act.

Section 47 (1) 130A defence counsel may primarily be retained by the defendant. A power
of attorney may also be conferred by legal representative or a relative of legal age of the
defendant, or, in the case of foreign citizens, the officer at the consulate of their native
country. The defendant shall be notified of the retainer.
(2) The power of attorney shall be submitted to the court, prosecutor or investigating
authority before which the criminal proceeding is held at the time of conferring the power of
attorney. The retained defence counsel may exercise his procedural rights after submitting the
power of attorney.
(3) If the defendant is detained, the institution executing the detention shall be notified
immediately about the identity and contact details of the retained defence counsel by the
court, prosecutor or investigating authority before which the proceeding is held.
(4) The defendant may withdraw the power of attorney, regardless of whether the counsel
of defence was retained by himself or another person.
(5) If the defence counsel must be present at the trial and the retained counsel has not
arranged a substitution for himself, the court shall appoint a substitute defence counsel. The
defence counsel appointed by the court is entitled to get remuneration and refunding of costs
in accordance with the provisions regarding the appointed defence counsel. The retained
counsel shall be obliged to reimburse - with the exceptions defined by this Act – these costs.

Section 48 (1) The court, the prosecutor, or the investigating authority shall officially
appoint a defence counsel, if defence is statutory and the defendant has not retained a defence
counsel. The defendant shall be notified of the person of the defence counsel after the official
appointment thereof. In the case of Section 46 b), the defence counsel shall be appointed not
later than the first questioning of the defendant. The defence counsel must be informed about
the place of the detention of the defendant, moreover of the proposed place and time of the
questioning by the resolution about the official appointment.
(2) The court, the prosecutor or the investigating authority shall also appoint a defence
counsel, if defence is not statutory, but the defendant requests the appointment of a counsel on
the ground of inability to make arrangements for his defence due to his financial
circumstances.
(3) If it seems to be necessary according to the interest of the defendant, at the request of
those listed in Section 47 (1) or ex officio, the court, the prosecutor or the investigating
authority shall appoint a defence counsel.
(4) If the defendant or an authorized proxy retains a defence counsel, the court, the
prosecutor or the investigating authority revokes the appointment thereof. The official
appointment shall lose effect by the revocation
(5) The appointment of a defence counsel shall not be subject to legal remedy; however,
the defendant – with justification – may request the appointment of another counsel. The
request shall be judged by the court, prosecutor or investigating authority before which the
proceeding is held.
(6) In justified cases the appointed defence counsel may request his/her absolution of the
appointment. The request shall be judged by the court, prosecutor or investigating authority
before which the proceeding is held.
(7) The defence counsel shall forthwith inform the defendant, as well as the court,
prosecutor or investigating authority before which the proceeding is held of the person acting
on behalf of him/her if the defence counsel employs an assistant after his/her appointment.
(8) If the defendant is detained, the institution executing the detention shall be notified
immediately about the identity and contact details of the appointed defence counsel by the
authority appointed him/her.
(9) The appointed defender shall be entitled to remuneration for appearing before the
court, the prosecutor or the investigating authority when summoned or notified as well as for
studying the files of the case, furthermore, for counselling the detained defendant at the
institution executing the detention, as well as he/she is entitled to reimbursement of his
verified out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with his actions.

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