Criminal law

Criminal law

From bodily harm to defamation, a tax fine or speeding – anyone can find themself in a criminal law situation. Based on a careful investigation of the facts, we provide humane legal advice to accompany you through often lengthy and emotional criminal proceedings. As a specialist area, we offer legal advice and litigation in the context of victim aid, limited to those persons who declare their wish to participate in the proceedings as private claimants.

Other specialist areas include tax, road traffic and administrative criminal proceedings in which we represent the accused competently vis-à-vis the public prosecutor and other state authorities. We do our utmost to ensure the sentence is as lenient as possible. We are conscientiously committed to safeguarding your (liberty) rights.

“Criminal law” questions

Unlike day-to-day conversations, in a political dispute – not rarely also in social media – the utmost restraint is exercised when determining whether defamation has occurred according to criminal law (BGE 116 IV 146, consid. 3c, confirmation of case law). In case of doubt, it must be assumed that nothing injurious has been said or done. Freedom of expression is inalienable and implies that actors in a political dispute must accept that they may sometimes be subjected to severe (and public) criticism. The statements made by political opponents in a heated debate are not always to be taken at face value, as they often go beyond the minds of their authors. In a dispute, the court has to balance carefully injurious language against the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Victims of domestic or sexual abuse, other acts of violence (in public spaces) or accidents caused by third parties (e.g. in road traffic) require interdisciplinary and insightful advice. This includes comprehensive legal advice and representation vis-à-vis public prosecutors, doctors, therapists and courts. We clarify who is liable and which deadlines must be observed and draw your attention to special victim rights under the Swiss Criminal Procedure Code. We also advise you on procedural issues, the role of the private claimant, and claims for compensation and moral damages.

Any person or their legal representative who has been injured by the offence may file a criminal complaint. The criminal complaint must be submitted in writing to a police station or to the public prosecutor or be recorded orally. The right to file the complaint expires after three months. The time limit begins on the day on which the person eligible to file the complaint identifies the offender. We would be happy to assist you in substantiating and filing a criminal complaint.

Court hearings are in principle open to the public, but not the deliberations. The presence of a journalist is not unusual either. School classes and groups of 10 or more persons must register with the court's registry.

The court may exclude the public from court hearings in whole or in part if public security or public order or the legitimate interests of a person involved (in particular the victim) so require, or if the matter is very urgent. If the public is excluded, the accused, the victim and the private claimant may be accompanied by a maximum of three persons of trust. We would be happy to advise you on this possibility in relation to your specific case.

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