You have the right to appeal against the judgement of the Court of First Instance by submitting the appeal claim within 10 days of the date when the ruling is issued. The court can extend the deadline to 20 days.
The appeal claim should be addressed to a court one level higher (the College of Criminal Cases at a regional court / the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court) but it should be filed at the court which issued the ruling.
It is not possible to appeal separately against the written/ oral decisions taken during a trial. They can only be appealed against together with the court ruling.
The appeal claim can be made if you consider that the decision of the court was wrong - for instance, the sentence is too severe/ inappropriate legal interpretation of your behaviour (the application of an inappropriate article/ part of an article of Criminal Law) etc.
The enforcement of the ruling is frozen if you file an appeal. If you are in prison during the appeal the countdown of the 10/ 20 days deadline for submission of the appeal claim will start from the day when the ruling is served on you in a language you understand.
If you experience health problems/ family related circumstances that might require your release from custody, you can ask for a review of the grounds for imprisonment. The court is not obliged to approve such a request.
The court will inform you of the date when they will begin hearing the appeal claim. There is no deadline set for that though the courts observe that cases should be reviewed within reasonable time limits.
You have the right to introduce new evidence in the appeal claim, explaining why it is necessary to examine it and stating the reasons for not presenting the evidence to the Court of First Instance. You have the right to request that the Court of Appeal examine the evidence if you believe is important to substantiate the appeal claim.
The following parties are invited to participate in the appeal hearing: the prosecutor, all persons who have challenged the court ruling, defence lawyers/ representatives. A team of three professional judges will review your claim.
During the hearing only your claim is reviewed except when the court has doubts about the findings of the Court of First Instance.
In an appeal case the court may take one of five possible decisions:
If your claim is satisfied and no one else (the prosecutor/ victim) challenges the court’s ruling under the cassation procedure the judgement/ decision of the Court of Appeal enters into force.
If your claim is not successful, you have the right to challenge the ruling/ decision of the Court of Appeal under the cassation procedure in the Department of criminal cases of the Supreme Court Senate. A cassation claim has to be submitted within 10 days of the day the ruling of the Court of Appeal was made available. The court can extend the deadline to 20 days.
You are entitled to compensation if you are acquitted, or the case is closed for some legal reason.
If your claim is approved, the record of your conviction will be held in the Information centre of the Ministry of the Interior of Latvia.
There are very strict requirements in place for the submission of a cassation claim – you have to provide proof that the Criminal Law/ Law on Criminal Proceedings have been substantially violated.
In certain cases you have the right to request reopening of the criminal process if new circumstances are discovered after the ruling/ decision has taken effect. There is no deadline for such reviews. .
In certain cases, (if there have been significant violations of the Criminal Law/ Law on Criminal Proceedings) even if you have not submitted a cassation claim your lawyer still be able to submit an application for the review of the ruling/ decision which is in force. There is no deadline for filing the application.
A ruling of the Court of First Instance enters into force and is final if it has not been challenged through an appeal/ cassation procedure). The ruling/ decision of the Court of Appeal enters into force and is final if it has not been challenged under the cassation procedure. The decision of the Court of Cassation enters into force and is final on the day the case is reviewed.
If you have received a custodial sentence you can be sent back to your home country after the trial if the competent authority of your country has requested your extradition and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Latvia has agreed or vice versa – it has requested your country to take you to serve your sentence there. Your transfer is not automatic.
The conditions of transfer are as follows:
The prison administration will inform you of your right to request a transfer within 10 days of receipt of the order concerning the enforcement of the ruling. You have to submit your request in writing to the Prosecutor General's Office of Latvia.
If you do not want to serve the sentence in your country / do not agree to such a request by the authorities of your country, you must submit a written refusal to the Prosecutor General's Office of Latvia. The request for transfer must be reviewed within 10 days.
Information about your convictions in Latvia is held without your consent in the active database of the Register of the Information centre of the Ministry of the Interior of Latvia until the conviction expires/ is annulled. If you have received an administrative penalty, the record is kept for 1 year after it has been served and then it is moved to the archives of the Register. There is no opportunity to challenge this.
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