FAQ / Useful information

Answers to frequently asked questions about criminal law

Do I actually need a criminal defense lawyer?


Definitely: Yes!

As a defendant, you have to deal with police, public prosecutors and judges who have been involved in criminal proceedings for years. When it comes to your money or your freedom, wouldn't you take an experienced player onto the pitch with you instead of almost certainly losing on your own?

This also applies if you have committed the offense and wish to confess. A criminal defense lawyer can first check the facts of the case; are there possibly grounds for justification or are there other defense approaches? You should also not disregard the development of mitigating factors to reduce your sentence.

And the popular phrase of the criminal court judge to the denying defendant is usually: "You can say whatever you want here, but we don't have to believe everything."

Do you want to sit alone in the courtroom in this atmosphere?

As you can see, you should never defend yourself!

How do I find a good criminal defense lawyer?


Figuratively speaking: "By not having your broken shoes repaired at the bakery"

So first of all, look for a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. These are usually specialist lawyers for criminal law. But what use is it to you if this specialist is also a specialist in tenancy law, employment law, family law and social law?

Even after almost 25 years of working exclusively as a criminal defense lawyer, I could not say that I have learned the ropes. That's why I say: you can't do that much "well". That's why you don't go to the lawyer who recently got you divorced with a criminal case. After all, your freedom is at stake and, in the case of a fine, sometimes considerable sums of money.

If you are still looking for a good criminal defense lawyer, give me a call. Direct contact My big advantage is my accessibility. What use is it to you if you only speak to the paralegal of the good defense lawyer for 14 days but don't get an appointment? Ongoing criminal proceedings can be enormously stressful, and the inexperienced client usually has many questions. These must be answered!

Does the defense lawyer always have to argue? (...to be a good lawyer...)

"The winner will be the one who knows when to fight and when not to". - Sunzi

That is why the often heard objection that the silent lawyer in the main hearing is no good is not always correct. If - and my clients are - the client is informed beforehand, he knows that the good defense lawyer will only intervene if things go badly for him. If I am calm in a negotiation, it looks good.

Strategic skill and an overview - thinking outside the box and anticipating the steps of the justice system in response - this is the work of a good criminal defense lawyer! Like a good chess player. But that's why years of experience are so immensely important.

The application of legal norms is only a small part of the work.

Years ago, I defended a repeat bank robber (the client is now deceased; the judges off duty). He was arrested in the act. After a few months on remand, the main trial was due. The court had not commissioned an expert opinion - despite the fact that the requirements for preventive detention were met.

By way of explanation: when preventive detention is ordered, the offender is sentenced to indefinite detention after the actual sentence has been served, solely on the basis of his or her dangerousness. It is regulated by law in §§ 66 ff. of the German Criminal Code.

It was therefore clear that we would go through the main hearing quietly and quickly. Witnesses were not called on my initiative, the client fully admitted the charge as correct. I had only said one sentence until 1 minute before the hearing was closed: I wished him a "good morning".

Then, ... the witnesses pointed out that the requirements for preventive detention were met!

I think the presiding judge can still remember today how upset I was, indignantly taking off my robe and throwing it on the table; talking about inhuman treatment and the rule of law after almost 6 months in custody, threatening preventive detention one minute before the hearing of evidence was closed.

The chamber disappeared for half an hour to deliberate and the main hearing was closed. Of course there was more punishment - but no preventive detention!

The client understood this, he was prepared.

How do I behave until I have spoken to a criminal defense lawyer?


Until I spoke to my lawyer: Silence, so "shut up"!

The accused has the right to remain silent. At every stage of the criminal proceedings. As long as you have not hired a criminal defense attorney and he or she has been granted access to the files, do not provide any information about yourself or the case on your own initiative.

Defendants have already been convicted because they hastily declared when the arrest warrant was issued: "I am the person named in the arrest warrant".

There are also numerous convictions because the accused (who were previously only known through telecommunications surveillance) raised their voices to the police or magistrates.

An accomplice of a client was convicted because he answered the harmless question "Are these your jeans?" in the affirmative. During the main trial, a textile expert opinion was carried out to compare the crease characteristics of his jeans with those on surveillance photos of a bank robbery. He was convicted.

When should I call in a criminal defense lawyer?

Answer: Yesterday

As early as possible, i.e. when you yourself expect criminal proceedings to be brought against you. A search or even an arrest may be imminent - without you having to be heard beforehand.

At the latest, however, when you have received a hearing form from the police or even more so when you have been served with an indictment.

What does "testimony against testimony" really mean?

Mostly: Nothing!

Unfortunately, this is no joke: the all too common situation where the defendant is incriminated by only one witness does not automatically lead to the desired result: testimony against testimony with the consequence of acquittal for the defendant.

But why not?

Answer: This is up to the court's free assessment of the evidence.

The criminal judge is free to assess the evidence, or as § 261 of the Code of Criminal Procedure puts it: The court decides on the result of the taking of evidence "according to its free conviction drawn from the totality of the proceedings."

Only if the judge is not convinced by the testimony of the prosecution witness does the situation of testimony against testimony arise and the defendant must be acquitted.

In my experience, however, in 90% of all cases the judges have no doubt about the truthfulness of the statements of prosecution witnesses and convict on the basis of these statements, unless the defense lawyer can shake the content of the statements by questioning them.

What will the defense lawyer do for me?

First and foremost: inspect the files

The defendant can make use of the assistance of a defense lawyer in any situation of the proceedings and the right to inspect the files - i.e. the collection of evidence that the judiciary believes to have against you - is also only available to the defense lawyer. Without access to the files, they face the judicial front without any knowledge of the facts.

Only by knowing the files will you and your criminal defense lawyer be on an equal footing with the criminal prosecution authorities!

In doing so, the criminal defense lawyer is exclusively committed to your interests and strictly bound to confidentiality. In addition, as an organ of the administration of justice, the following applies to criminal defense lawyers: "I never lie, but I don't have to say everything I know".

Is a public defender also on my side?


It should definitely be!

To explain: The public defender is a defense lawyer - also the defense lawyer of your choice (!)- who can be appointed by the court by court order.

The court decides to assign the lawyer as a public defender if you and the lawyer apply for this and the legal requirements for a public defense are met.

Advantage: First of all, the public defender can settle accounts with the state treasury.

Disadvantage: The public defender can no longer be replaced by another lawyer without further ado. In this case, the court must be involved in the resignation of the mandate!

If you don't take care of it, the court will "force" some lawyer on you. It doesn't have to be a bad lawyer; but why take the risk when all it takes is a brief contact with a criminal defense attorney? Therefore: Call now!

Another tip - In the event of arrest, pay attention to the wording with the magistrate:

"May the lawyer be assigned to me for today only".

This means that you are represented by a lawyer in the arrest situation. Then find a lawyer of your choice for the rest.