Do you know your legal rights in Thailand? Going to Thailand can be fun until you are arrested for a crime. This may be a small issue or a larger one such as drug possession or assault. Note that the only criminal process which does not go the same as an assault would be immigration violations such as a visa overstay. You still have the same legal rights once you are arrested.
Your Legal Rights in Thailand
Once you are arrested they have to read you your rights. If your rights have not been read, then they have to note this in the court file that your rights had not been read. This would be very uncommon so your rights will be read. Your rights are as follows:
- · You have the right to consult and meet with an attorney in private;
- · You also have the right to an attorney during the interrogation;
- · You also have the right to receive visits from relatives;
- · You have the right to receive medical treatment when ill; and
- · You have the right to remain silent.
These are your rights once you are arrested. You can also ask that your Embassy is notified however the Embassy does not involve itself in criminal matters. They can only provide consular assistance such as contacting your family at home for you. The police have to tell you that under the Geneva Convention on Consular Relations that you have the right to notify your Embassy in Bangkok. Ensure that you get legal advice from a lawyer in Thailand that speaks English as any error could come at a high cost later. The universal rights are as follows:
- · The right to a fair trial;
- · The right to retain a criminal lawyer both during the examination and trial;
- · The right to consult in private with a lawyer;
- · The right to inspect the evidence submitted;
- · The right to inspect the file of the preliminary examination or trial; and
- · The right to examine and obtain a copy of your own statement given during the investigation.
There are a number of expatriate law firms in Thailand where the level of English would be much better than a local law firm. Most problems with expatriates as well as tourists occur in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. Always ensure that you recall the name of a law firm before you visit Thailand to ensure that you tell the policeman that you want an attorney from that specific law firm.
Always ensure that you make use of these rights and do not make any statements or confessions when arrested. Misunderstandings are very easy in Thailand where English is not widely spoken in the country. If you are outside of the tourist areas the level of English is almost none existent. Make use of these legal rights and ensure that your criminal matter is solved as easy as possible by taking legal advice early.
See also the issues on arrest, detention and criminal trials in Thailand on this website for more information and assistance. This website only provides a basic view of criminal law and the process in Thailand.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.