Criminal Litigation

Criminal & Litigation

Juslaws & Consult has a specialized criminal & litigation department capable of representing clients in Thailand with pending court cases and in arbitration.

In Thailand litigation lawyers need to pass a bar exam and rarely specialize in civil or criminal matters. Our criminal & litigation team includes some senior courtroom warhorses that cover a whole range of litigation matters.

Civil & Criminal In Thailand

Should you be faced with a personal situation that is either civil or criminal in orientation please do not hesitate to seek our assistance. Juslaws & Consult is here to help in all manner of criminal & litigation proceedings. For more information please contact us.

Criminal Cases and Criminal Law in Thailand

There are two law codes in Thailand that govern its criminal law and criminal litigation practice. These are the Criminal Procedure Code and the Thai Penal Code. There are fundamental differences between criminal law systems in Thailand and criminal law systems in Western jurisdictions. Therefore, if you are charged with a crime in Thailand, it is essential to find a Thai criminal trial attorney who is experienced and able to effectively communicate these differences to you.Some examples of serious offenses in Thailand include drug-related crimes, violent crimes, white-collar crimes, fraud, sexual offenses, assault, and large-scale theft. More common offenses are traffic offenses and smaller-scale petty theft.

The most significant differences are as follows:

  • While pleading guilty may be a mitigating factor that can mean a lesser sentence, there is no plea-bargaining or opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge. It also means that you can be sentenced without attorneys ever presenting evidence.
  • Thailand is a civil law jurisdiction and therefore does not have case law on its side as most Western jurisdictions would. Supreme Court decisions are not binding, although they do hold some weight and criminal law is statute-based, which gives a lot of power to judges and does not allow for a jury.
  • Defamation is a serious criminal offense in Thailand and can lead to civil damages claims which will involve civil litigation procedures.
  • Criminal charges can be filed privately.
  • Bail can be applied for but is not often granted.
  • Suspects may legally be held by law enforcement for 48 hours without any charges. If a suspect is in the custody of the court, they can be held for longer.
  • The death penalty is far more common for certain offenses, including offenses related to drugs.
  • Thailand does not have a jury system.

Thailand is a member country of INTERPOL which means that suspects can be subject to INTERPOL notices. Thailand also has various extradition treaties with foreign governments.

Rights of Suspects in Thailand

Suspects in Thailand should have the following rights when detained or arrested in Thailand:

  • The right not to provide a statement - It is strongly advised that you do this until you can be represented by an experienced criminal attorney from a reputable firm who is present in the room with you. Anything that you say as a statement will likely be entered into evidence and will count against you in court. Ideally, you should never be dealing with Thai police without your lawyer present.
  • Suspects have the right to prompt medical treatment if they are unwell.
  • Suspects have the right to reasonable contact with their relatives, including visits.
  • During the investigation stage, a suspect has the right to have a trusted person, preferably a lawyer, present at the interrogation.
  • Suspects may apply for bail, but it is important to remember that bail is very rarely granted, especially if the allegations involve more serious offenses.
  • Suspects also have a right to access a consular representative (as stipulated by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations)
  • Suspects maintain the right to remain silent.

While Thai authorities may inspect your passport as a foreign national, they may not retain it without a court order or warrant as offenses are not related to your right to stay. This is true regardless of the criminal liability you are expected of.

Rights of Defendants in Thailand

A suspect becomes a defendant once the public prosecutor has filed a criminal complaint against them. They are only seen as criminals if they have been found guilty of a wrongful act against Thai society.

  • Defendants have a right to inspect any statement that is provided during the investigation as well as other documents related to the statement.
  • They have a right to inspect and retain copies of court files.
  • They have a right to retain and inspect copies of the evidence submitted.
  • They have a right to privately consult with criminal lawyers.
  • They have a right to have a lawyer during the trial or the preliminary examination.
  • They have a right to a fair and expeditious trial.

Thai Criminal Defense Attorneys

Especially in the case of foreign defendants, the Thai criminal justice system is difficult to navigate and, in some cases, does not have a very favorable reputation. Therefore, having an experienced criminal trial lawyer on your side when defending criminal allegations in Thailand is extremely important.

Here at Juslaws, you can find exactly such experienced criminal defense attorneys. We can provide an expert in Thailand criminal litigation of criminal charges who can provide you with counsel in English. We are in the business of taking care of our clients, and our practice is extensive across Asia.

Arrest and Detention

Whether you are a citizen of Thailand or a foreign national, Thai criminal law will be applicable to you if you commit crimes within Thailand territory. A suspect can be arrested by a police officer or an administrative officer upon issuing a warrant. There are certain instances when an arrest can be made without such a warrant:

  • When an alleged offender is about to flee or has fled while on bail.
  • When urgent circumstances are preventing a court application for a warrant.
  • When a person is found under suspicious circumstances showing intention to commit a crime or in possession of an article that can be used to commit a crime.
  • When a person is found in the act of committing a crime.

The 48-hour detainment period begins when the alleged offender arrives at the police station. If this period is not sufficient to complete an investigation, then the alleged offender is to be placed in the custody of the court. This period of detention will be subject to the prescribed penalty for what is being charged:

  • If the criminal offenses warrant a punishment of maximum imprisonment (10-years or more), then several successive detention periods can be granted (no more than 12-days each), with a total period of not more than 84-days.
  • For criminal offenses that warrant a punishment of a fine higher than 500 baht, imprisonment less than 10-years but more than six months, or both, several successive detention periods can be granted (not more than 12-days each), with a total of not more than 48-days.
  • For criminal offenses that warrant a fine of less than 500 baht, imprisonment of less than six months, or both, only one detention period of no more than seven days is allowed.

Once these maximum periods have been reached, the offended will be released regardless of whether the investigation is complete or not. If a charge was made, but a warrant of arrest was not issued, but the law enforcement officer belies that there are grounds upon which to detain the alleged offender, then that officer can ask the person to appear at the course so that a warrant can be requested. If the person does not comply, then the officer may arrest the person.

It is not uncommon to hear horror stories about sexual offenses and assault committed by authorities against those in custody. It is therefore important to keep your conduct towards authorities respectful. Should problems arise, it is in your best interests to have a criminal lawyer present during your interrogation. Juslaws employs several criminal lawyers who can fill this role. We are experts in criminal law and criminal procedure in Thailand and have argued a great many successful cases. We are in the business of representing our clients in a range of different aspects of the law. Our expert attorneys can stand with you no matter what acts you are being prosecuted for. We are one of the most well-known and reliable law practice firms in all of Asia.


Any alleged offender who is being held in custody has the right to apply for bail. However, bail is almost never granted. The bail application is submitted to the investigating officer unless the person is in the custody of the court, then the application is submitted to the court.

The offender themselves or an interested party can apply for bail and must then pledge collateral on that application. A response to the application can be expected on the same day that the application is made. Collateral most commonly includes a bank passbook or cash or title deeds.

For feigners, a certified copy of or the original passport must be submitted as part of the application. Should bail be granted, a letter is sent to the Immigration Office informing them that you must remain in the country. In some instances, permission to leave the country can be given by the court. While under bail, you may travel around Thailand freely, but you must appear in court on the appointed day.

An appeal to the Appeals Court can be made if bail is denied by the Court of First Instance. An Appeals Court decision is final, but a new application can be submitted subsequently.


Either party may appeal within one month of a verdict.

An Appeals Court is not likely to allow additional evidence. It bases findings on the evidence that was submitted during the original trial. Proceedings are not conducted in public, and most of it occurs in writing. A panel of judges is involved, and their identities are not disclosed. This means that neither party ever meets the judges. The average processing time for the Appeals Court is between eight months and two years.

The Appeals Court judgment is placed in a sealed envelope so that it may remain confidential and is returned to the Court of First Instance with the case file. When the envelope is received, a date is scheduled for the reading of the Appeals judgment. While a notice is sent to the prosecutor, no notice is sent to the defense lawyer or the defendant. The defendant is brought to the court on the scheduled date. This means that the defense lawyer is not present at the reading and the defendant then needs to notify their defense lawyer should they wish to take the case further to the Supreme Court.

If there is a need to take the case to the Supreme Court, an Appeal must be made within one month of the reading. The same procedures then apply to the Supreme Court process.

Exceptions for Narcotics Cases

Suppose a defendant is believed to have intentionally missed a hearing or has absconded, and the evidence must be preserved. In that case, a hearing can take place without the defendant present as long as they are represented by a lawyer. In such a case, the Defense must be allowed to cross-examine and present evidence in rebuttal to what was submitted by the prosecution.
If a defendant pleads guilty, judgment may be passed without evidence, except when there is reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt despite the guilty plea, or in cases where the death penalty or life sentence are the minimum sentences that can be passed.

Criminal Law and Thai Society

In many people's opinion, the Thai government and society still have a long way to go to improve faith in the acts and capabilities of those entities that enforce laws in Thailand, but in recent years the government has made concerted efforts to improve these circumstances and to ensure that liability for misconduct is handled seriously. There is still room for much improvement as certain questionable acts are still reported.

What is essential is that you understand your rights in the face of criminal liability. Do not get involved with the business in Thailand that makes itself guilty of white-collar crime, especially tourist scams, stay away from people and areas that are known for crimes. Know the laws of the country and follow those laws. Practice good conduct towards officials and if you do run into problems with the law, make sure that you engage with attorneys that have good reputations, can communicate with their clients in English, and have a deep understanding of the differences between laws in the West, and laws in Thailand so that it can be explained to you in a way that you understand.

Find a law practice that offers services specific to the crimes you are being accused of, understand these crimes, and how the accusation might have been made. If your lawyer works with a partner, make sure that when you speak to the partner, they are reliable enough to carry on the message to your lawyer in confidence.

But most of all, do not make yourself guilty of any crimes while traveling or living abroad. No matter where you go, you are still held liable for crimes committed outside of your homeland, and extradition is not guaranteed.


Should you be faced with a personal situation that is either civil or criminal in orientation please do not hesitate to seek our assistance. Juslaws & Consult is here to help in all manner of criminal & litigation proceedings. For more information please contact us.