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CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC

 

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Section 2 Basic Principles of Criminal Procedure


(1) No one shall be prosecuted for other than statutory reasons and in a manner stipulated by
this Code.
(2) A person, against whom is conducted criminal procedure may not be considered guilty
until the final convicting judgment of the court pronounces him guilty.
(3) The public prosecutor is obliged to prosecute all criminal offences which they gain
knowledge of, unless the law or a promulgated international treaty binding the Czech
Republic stipulates otherwise.
(4) Unless this Code stipulates otherwise, the authorities involved in criminal proceedings act
ex officio. Criminal cases must be dealt with as soon as possible and without undue delay;
with greatest speed shall be handled especially custodial matters and matters where property
has been seized, if it is necessary due to the nature and value of the seized property. Criminal
matters are handled with full consideration of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the
Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms and by international treaties on human
rights and fundamental freedoms binding the Czech Republic; when conducting acts of
criminal procedure, these rights of persons concerned by such acts may be affected only in
justified cases based on the law and in the extent necessary for securing the purpose of
criminal proceedings. The authorities involved in criminal proceedings shall not consider the
contents of petitions affecting the performance of such obligations.
(5) Authorities involved in criminal proceedings proceed in accordance with their rights and
obligations pursuant to this Code and with the cooperation of the parties so to establish the
merits of the case beyond reasonable doubt and to the extent necessary for their decisions.
Confession of the accused person shall not relieve the authorities involved in criminal
proceedings of the obligation to examine all the relevant circumstances of the case. During the
pre-trial proceedings the authorities involved in criminal proceedings shall examine, even
without petitions of the parties, all the circumstances for and against the person, against whom
the proceeding is conducted, with equal care and in the manner provided by this Code. In trial
proceedings the public prosecutor and the accused may propose and produce evidence to
support their positions. The public prosecutor is obliged prove the guilt of the defendant.
However, this does not relieve the court of the obligation to provide additional evidence in the
extent required for its decision.
(6) The authorities involved in criminal proceedings shall evaluate the evidence according to
their inner beliefs based on careful consideration of all circumstances of the case individually
and also in their summation.
(7) All authorities involved in criminal proceedings shall cooperate with public interest
associations and utilise their educational activities.
(8) Criminal prosecution before courts is only possible on the basis of an indictment or a
motion for punishment or a motion for the approval of a declaration of guilt and accepting a
punishment (hereinafter referred to as “agreement on guilt and punishment”) submitted by the
public prosecutor. The public prosecution in trial proceedings is represented by the public
prosecutor.
(9) Decisions in criminal trial proceedings are made by a senate or a single judge; the
presiding judge or a single judge shall decide alone only if the law explicitly stipulates so. If
the court decides in pre-trial proceedings in the first instance, the decision shall be made by a
judge.
(10) Criminal cases are heard before the court in public in such a way that citizens may attend
and observe the hearing. The public may be precluded from attending a trial and a public
session only in cases explicitly provided for by this Code or by a special Act.
(11) Hearings before courts are held orally; evidence by testimonies of witnesses, experts and
accused persons are generally produced through questioning.
(12) When deciding in a trial, as well as during public and closed sessions, the court may only
take into account the evidence that was produced during such proceedings.
(13) The person against whom criminal proceedings is conducted must be instructed in every
stage of the proceedings about his rights enabling him to fully exercise his defence, and about
that he may choose a defence counsel; all authorities involved in criminal proceedings are
obliged to enable full exercise of his rights.
(14) The authorities involved in criminal proceedings conduct the proceedings and issue
decisions in the Czech language. Any person who declares that he does not speak Czech is
entitled to use their mother tongue or a language he declares he understands before the
authorities involved in criminal proceedings.

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Section 11a
Criminal prosecutions against the same person for the same act may not be initiated unless the
public prosecutor in the summary pre-trial proceedings
a) decided to sanction the settlement and adjourned the case, or
b) decided to conditionally suspend the submission of the motion for punishment and the
suspect has approved or is considered as approved.

Section 28 Interpreter


(1) If the need to translate the content of a document, testimony or other procedural act arises,
or if the accused exercises the right referred to in Section 2 (14), a translator shall be coopted;
the same applies for appointing an interpreter to a person with whom it is impossible to
communicate otherwise than though the communication systems for deaf and deaf-blind
persons. The interpreter may also be the court reporter. Unless the accused states the language
that they understand or states a language or dialect that is not the language of his nationality
or the official language of the country he is a citizens of, and there is no person registered for
such a language or dialect in the register of interpreters, the authority involved in criminal
proceedings shall appoint an interpreter for the language of their nationality or the official
language of the country he is a citizen of. In the case of a person without a citizenship, it shall
be understood as the State where he has a permanent residence, or the State of his origin.
(2) Under to the conditions stipulated in sub-section (1) the accused person must be provided
with a written resolution on the initiation of criminal prosecution, resolution on custody, an
indictment, an agreement on guilt and punishment and a motion for the approval thereof, a
motion for punishment, a judgment, a criminal order, a decision on appeal and on conditional
discontinuation of criminal prosecution; this does not apply if the accused person declares,
after being instructed, that the translation of such a decision is not required. If such a decision
relates to several accused persons, every accused person shall be provided only with a
translation of the section of the decision that directly concerns him, provided that it can be
separated from other statements of the decision and their justification. Translating decisions
and the service thereof shall be secured by the authority involved in criminal proceedings,
decision of which is concerned.
(3) If the service of the decision referred to in sub-section (2) is associated with the beginning
of a time limit and it is necessary to make a written translation of such a decision, the decision
is considered served upon the service of the written translation.

 

SUBDIVISION FOUR
Accused Person


Section 32 Accused Person


The person suspected of having committed a criminal offence may be considered as the
accused, and the means specified by this Code may be used against him, once a criminal
prosecution is initiated against him (Section 160).


Section 33 Rights of Accused Person


(1) The accused person has the right to comment on all matters of facts he is being charged
with and to all evidence thereof, however he is not obliged to testify. He may state
circumstances and evidence for his defence, make proposals, and submit petitions and
appeals. He has the right to choose a defence counsel and to consult him even during acts
performed by authorities involved in criminal proceedings. However, he may not consult the
defence counsel on how to respond to a question that has already been asked. He may request
to be questioned in the presence of his defence counsel, and that the defence counsel attended
other acts of the pre-trial proceedings (Section 165). If he is in custody or serving a sentence
of imprisonment, he may consult the defence counsel without the presence of a third party.
The accused person has these rights even if he is legally incapacitated or if his legal capacity
is restricted.
(2) If the accused person proves that he does not have enough funds to pay the costs of the
defence, the presiding judge or a judge during pre-trial proceeding shall decide that he is
entitled to the defence counsel free of charge or at a reduced fee. If the evidence gathered
imply that the accused person lacks sufficient funds to pay the costs of the defence, the
presiding judge and during pre-trial proceedings the judge upon a motion of the public
prosecutor may decide that the accused person is entitled to the defence free of charge or at a
reduced fee even withou a petition of the accused person, if it is necessary to protect his
rights. In cases referred to in the first and second sentence, the whole or partial costs of the
defence are covered by the state.
(3) In addition to the accused and his defence counsel, the persons referred to in Section 37
(1) are also entitled to submit a petition for a decision pursuant to sub-section (2). The petition
for a decision pursuant to sub-section (2), including annexes, which should prove its merits, is
to be submitted by the accused person during pre-trial proceedings through the public
prosecutor and in trial proceedings to the court that conducts the proceeding in the first
instance. A complaint is admissible against the decision under sub-section (2), which has a
dilatory effect.
(4) If a final decision pursuant to sub-section (2) awarded the accused person a title to a free
defence or defence at a reduced fee and the accused requests the appointment of the defence
counsel, the defence counsel shall be appointed immediately. The defence counsel shall be
appointed and, if the grounds for a decision according to sub-section (2) expire, the
appointment shall be cancelled by the presiding judge, and in pre-trial proceedings by the
judge. Provisions of Section 38 (2), Section 39 (2), Section 40 and 40a shall apply
accordingly.
(5) All law enforcement authorities are obligated to always instruct the accused person of his
rights and provide him with the full possibility to exercise these rights.
Section 34 Statutory Representative of the Accused Person
(1) The statutory representative of the accused person, who is legally incapacitated or whose
legal capacity is restricted, is entitled to represent the accused person, especially to choose his
defence counsel, to make proposals, submit petitions and lodge appeals on his behalf; the
statutory representative is also entitled to attend all procedural act, which can be attended by
the accused person. The statutory representative can exercise these rights for the benefit of the
accused person even against his will.
(2) In cases where the statutory representative of the accused person can not exercise the
rights referred to in sub-section (1) and is in danger of delay, the presiding judge, and in pretrial
proceeding the public prosecutor, may appoint a guardian to the accused to exercise these
rights. A complaint against the decision on the appointment of a guardian is admissible.


SUBDIVISION FIVE
Defence Counsel


Section 35 Defence Counsel
(1) The defence counsel in criminal proceedings can only be an attorney. The defence counsel
may be represented by an articled clerk for the purpose of individual acts of criminal
proceedings, except for proceedings before the Regional Court as the court of the first
instance, the High Court, and the Supreme Court.
(2) The defence counsel cannot be an attorney against whom there was or is conducted a
criminal prosecution, as a result of which he would be in the position of the accused, witness
or participant in proceedings, where he should represent the defence of the accused person.
(3) The defence counsel in criminal proceedings cannot be an attorney who testifies as a
witness, gives an expert opinion, or is acting as an interpreter.


Mandatory Counsel
Section 36
(1) The accused person must have a defence counsel as early as in the pre-trial proceedings,
a) if he is in custody, serving a sentence of imprisonment, in execution of a protective
measure associated with incarceration or is on observation in a medical facility
(Section 116 (2)),
b) if he is legally incapacitated or if his legal capacity is restricted,
c) if a proceeding against a fugitive is concerned, or
d) in negotiating of an agreement on the guilt and punishment.
(2) The accused must also have a defence counsel, if the court and in pre-trial proceedings the
public prosecutor deems it necessary, especially with regard to any physical or mental defects
of the accused person, which give rise to doubts about his capacity to defend himself
appropriately.
(3) If there is a proceeding on a criminal offence for which the law stipulates a sentence of
imprisonment with the upper limit exceeding five years, the accused must have a defence
counsel as early as in the pre-trial proceedings.
(4) The accused must also have a defence counsel
a) during a trial in simplified proceeding against an apprehended person,
b) during proceedings, where it is decided on imposition or transformation of security
detention or imposition or transformation of protective treatment, with the exception
of anti-alcoholic protective treatment,
c) if he is to comment on whether he waives the right for the application of the principle
of speciality in proceedings after extradition from a foreign State,
d) in proceedings on extradition to a foreign State or surrender to another Member State
of the EU,
e) in proceedings for further surrender to another Member State of the EU, or
f) in proceedings on the recognition and enforcement of foreign decision imposing an
unsuspended sentence of imprisonment, or transforming a suspended sentence or
another another punishment into an unsuspended sentence of imprisonment, or
imposing a protective measure associated with incarceration.


Section 36a
(1) In execution proceedings in which the court decides in a public session, the convicted
person must have a defence counsel,
a) if he is legally incapacitated or if his legal capacity is restricted,
b) if he is in custody, or
c) if there is any doubt about his capacity to properly defend himself.
(2) In proceedings on a complaint for the violation of law, in extraordinary appeal
proceedings and in proceedings on the petition for authorization of a new trial, the convicted
person must have a defence counsel,
a) in cases referred to in Section 36 (1) a) or b),
b) if it concerns a criminal offence for which the law stipulates a sentence of
imprisonment with the upper limit of more than five years,
c) if there are doubts about his capacity to properly defend himself,
d) if it concerns proceedings against a convicted person who has died.


Section 36b
(1) If there is a condition of a necessary counsel according to Section 36 (3) or Section 36a (2)
b), the accused person may waive the defence counsel, unless a crime for which may be
imposed an exceptional sentence of imprisonment is concerned. The accused person may
waive the defence counsel also in case of necessary counsel according to Section 36 (4) a).
(2) The accused person may waive the defence counsel according to sub-section (1) only by
an explicit written declaration or orally into the protocol before an authority involved in
criminal proceedings that conducts the proceedings; the declaration must be made in the
presence of the defence counsel and after a previous consultation with him.
(3) The declaration on waiving the defence counsel may the accused person revoke at any
time. Along with revoking the declaration, the accused person must present a power of
attorney of the selected defence counsel, or ask for his appointment; if he fails to do so, it
shall be considered as if he did not chose a defence counsel and he shall be immediately
appointed to him. Once the accused person has revoked his declaration on waiver of the
defence counsel, he may not waive the defence counsel again.
(4) Actions performed from serving the declaration on waiver of the defence counsel to the
authority involved in criminal proceedings until its retracting do not need to be repeated
solely for the reason that the accused person was not represented by a defence counsel.


Section 37 Selected Defence Counsel
(1) If the accused person does not exercise the right to choose a defence counsel and neither
does his statutory representative, then it may be chosen by his direct relative, sibling, adoptive
parent, adoptive child, spouse, partner, or a participating person. If the accused person is
legally incapacitated or if his legal capacity is restricted, this can be done even against their
will.
(2) The accused person may choose a defence counsel other than the one appointed him or
chosen by an entitled person entitled. If he announces the change of the defence counsel so
that the defence counsel can be notified of a procedural action within the statutory period, the
authority involved in criminal proceedings shall notify the newly elected defence counsel
from the day of service of such a notification. Otherwise, the defence counsel previously
appointed or selected is obliged to perform the defence until the time it is personally assumed
by the newly selected defence counsel, unless he is excluded from the defence.
(3) If the accused person chooses two or more defence counsels and does not notify the
authority involved in criminal proceedings which of these defence counsels was given the
authority for admission of documents and for notification of the acts of criminal proceedings,
the presiding judge and in pre-trial proceedings the public prosecutor shall determine choose
him; their decision shall be notified to all selected defence counsels.


Section 37a
(1) The presiding judge and in pre-trial proceedings the judge may decide to exclude an
attorney as the selected defence counsel from the defence even without a petition
a) for the reasons referred to in Section 35 (2) or (3), or
b) if the defence counsel repeatedly fails to participate in actions of criminal proceedings,
in which his presence is necessary, nor does he ensure presence of his representative,
despite being duly and timely informed about such actions.
(2) Excluding an attorney as the selected defence counsel shall be decided by the presiding
judge and in pre-trial proceeding by the judge, also if the defence counsel performs the
defence of two or more co-defendants, whose interests are contrary during the criminal
proceedings. The defence counsel excluded on these grounds cannot perform the defence of
any of the accused persons in the same case any further.
(3) Prior to making the decision pursuant to sub-section (1) or (2), the presiding judge and in
pre-trial proceedings the judge shall allow the accused person and the defence counsel to
comment on the matter, their comments shall be considered in making the decision. If he
decides on exclusion of the defence counsel, the accused person shall be allowed to choose a
different defence counsel within a reasonable time; if a case of a necessary counsel is
concerned, it shall be proceeded according to Section 38 (1).
(4) A complaint is admissible against the resolution pursuant to sub-section (1) and (2), which
has a dilatory effect.


Appointed Defence Counsel
Section 38
(1) If the accused does not have a defence counsel in cases where must have one (Section 36
and 36a), a time limit shall determined for him to choose the defence counsel. If the defence
counsel is not selected within that time, he shall be immediately appointed for the time the
grounds for necessary counsel still exist.
(2) If there are several accused persons, a common defence counsel shall generally be
appointed to those, interests of which are not in conflict with the criminal proceedings.


Section 39
(1) A defence counsel shall be appointed and, once the grounds for the necessary counsel
expire, his appointment shall be cancelled by the presiding judge and in pre-trial proceedings
by the judge.
(2) For the purposes of appointing a defence counsel, the court maintains an alphabetically
organised list of attorneys (hereinafter referred to as "list") who consent to the performance of
the defence as appointed defence counsels of the court and have their office established in the
district or seat of the court. In case of Circuit Courts in Prague the place of the office of
attorneys shall be considered as the city of Prague. If it is not possible to appoint an attorney
from the list, the court shall appoint an attorney from the list of a superior court.
(3) Attorneys listed on the list shall be appointed as defence counsels for individual accused
persons successively, following the alphabetical order of the list. If an attorney is appointed in
this way and there are reasons for his exclusion from the defence, or if the attorney could not
be appointed for other reasons, the next attorney without such reasons for exclusion shall be
appointed in his stead. If the accused person waived the appointed attorney by a declaration
referred to in Section 36 and subsequently retracted this declaration, the same attorney shall
be appointed, if it is possible.
(4) If a joinder of matters to a joint hearing and decision occurs and the accused was provided
with a defence counsel in each of these cases, the presiding judge and in pre-trial proceeding
the judge shall revoke the appointment of those defence counsels, who were appointed later.
If a simultaneous appointment of defence counsels occurred, he shall revoke the appointment
of the defence counsels, who were appointed in proceedings on a less serious criminal
offence.


Section 40
The appointed defence counsel is obliged to assume the defence. However, for important
reasons, at his request or at the request of the accused person, the defence counsel may be
relieved of the obligation for defence and a different defence counsel shall be appointed in his
stead. The defence counsel shall be relieved the obligation for defence by the presiding judge
in trial proceedings and by the judge in pre-trial proceedings.


Section 40a
(1) For the reasons referred to in Section 37a (1) or (2), or in case the appointed defence
counsel does not perform the defence for an extended period of time, the presiding judge and
in pre-trial proceedings the judge shall decide to relieve him from the obligation of defence;
the accused person and the defence counsel shall be allowed to comment on the matter prior
to the decision.
(2) A complaint is admissible against the resolution pursuant to sub-section (1), which has a
dilatory effect.

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