Police Interrogation in Thailand needs legal assistance. It is best to obtain the services of a criminal lawyer when arrested and it is your right to remain silent. Interrogations are not recorded on video and only the statement is taken. This statement can be used against you in court. They have to advise you of these rights. There are certain formalities with interrogation.
If the person is being charged with a capital offence of if the person is below the age of 18 the official has to ask him under Section 134/1 of the Criminal Procedure Act if he has a lawyer. If the person does not have one, then the government will appoint legal counsel based on certain financial conditions of the accused.
The same goes with an offence which is liable to a prison term. Should legal counsel not arrive after the arranged time then the interrogation can continue however this has to be noted in the record for the courts that the person had no legal counsel. Note that this will also apply to a minor.
You are entitled to have legal counsel during the interrogation. This is mandated in Section 134/3 of the Criminal Procedure Act in Thailand. Before the interrogation begins the police have to tell you that you have the right to remain silent. The silence will be noted into the police file for court. They also have to inform you that you have the right to legal counsel.
Once the statements have been taken you will need to read these statements before you sign it. Your lawyer will normally do this for you. In terms of Thai law Section 8 of the Act states that you have the following rights as an accused:
- (a) You have the right to a speedy, continuous and fair trial;
- (b) You have the right to hire a criminal defense lawyer;
- (c) You have the right to private meetings with your lawyer;
- (d) You have the right to see the evidence being used for your trial and make copies;
- (e) You have a right to see the preliminary examination proceeding file;
- (f) You have the right to examine all testimony in the trial;
From this point the investigator might need to apply for a search warrant to collect evidence. It is best to have a criminal lawyer at this stage if you are still being held in detention. The lawyer will ensure that the evidence is collected properly and that you also understand what has been found and where. This evidence will be used you in a court of law and knowing early what has been secured for trial will normally allow you to understand the complexity of the trial based on what has been found.
You may also use this opportunity looking at the evidence if a plea bargain or if an admission of guilt will not be a better option. In Thailand they tend to lower the sentence when you plead guilty. This you will need to discuss with your lawyer considering your criminal case.
On a final note. Section 134/4 clearly states that if you have not been told of your rights before the statement the statement may not be used as evidence in your trial to prove your guilt.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.