This is a brief explanation of the Thai Criminal Process in Thailand. If you have been arrested in Thailand, then the following will give you a brief overview as to how you will be processed in the Thai legal system. Note that it is best to speak to a criminal lawyer in Thailand once you have been arrested and always ensure that you speak only while your attorney is present. Note that a visa overstay has a different process.
Thai Criminal Process
You have been arrested for assault, kidnapping or you have been arrested for drug trafficking. You will be taken to the police station and they will read you your rights. You have the right to an attorney and you can ask them to inform your Embassy in Bangkok. You have the right to remain silent and to consult an attorney during the interrogation.
You will normally appear before court within 24 hours. The prosecution will ask for you to be remanded to a local prison. You have the right to apply for bail but it is highly unlikely that you will get bail. Depending on the type of crime and the punishment for such a crime the police can keep remanding you to prison while they investigate the crime. This can be extended to a maximum period of 84 days.
Once the prosecution is ready you will have the option to plead again if the punishment is for less than 5 years and you have waved your right to a lawyer. The judgement will be given the same day with the sentence and fines. If not, then the trial date will be set and this is normally more than 3 weeks after meeting the prosecution. The evidence by this time would be given to you and all witness have to be notified of the dates on which they will appear.
If the witness has left Thailand, then their sworn affidavit will be added to the court record. The trial does not last that long for a simple crime such as assault and you will get your ruling within 2-3 weeks after the trial had ended. You can appeal the judgement which is nothing more than a legal review and that can also be appealed to the Supreme Court of Thailand.
Once you are done appealing and still found guilty then you will be imprisoned. Once you have been imprisoned you can apply for a prisoner transfer back to your own home country. There are rules for this but normally you would have served most of your sentence while in Thailand and not all nationals are allowed to do this as there has to be a prisoner exchange agreement between your government and the Thai government.
This is a very simplified version of the Thai criminal process in Thailand. Always consult an attorney as to the process as well as the time taken for your type of crime and any other questions not covered in this brief overview. When arrested always ensure that you make no statements before you have spoken to an attorney. You have the right to remain silent and also the right to an attorney.
Always consult a criminal law attorney when arrested.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.