Defendants (criminal proceedings)

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Can I appeal?

Yes, you can appeal the verdict in your case if there were mistakes in the findings which relate directly to you. You can appeal a verdict of guilty, the sentence and/or the compensation awarded, or you can appeal all findings of the court of first instance. You must file the appeal:

  • in writing;
  • with the court that issued the verdict;
  • within eight days from delivery of the copy of the verdict (if the copy is delivered to both you and your defence lawyer, the time limit is calculated from the later of the two delivery dates).

Your appeal must make clear which aspects of the verdict you are appealing, and also the specific flaws in the verdict and/or previous proceedings. You can also appeal without specific grounds by submitting an application to the presiding judge of the court of first instance, asking him or her to extend the time limit for submission of the specific grounds.

What are the grounds for an appeal?

You can file an appeal based on errors in any finding in the verdict which relate directly to you or because a particular finding was not included in the verdict. You can also base your appeal on new facts and evidence.

What happens if I appeal?

Until a decision is made by the appeal court, the verdict will not enter into force and/or become executable.  If you are in custody, you will not be released automatically just because you have lodged an appeal.

What happens at the appeal hearing?

The court of first instance examines whether your appeal contains all the information which is required.  If not, the court will ask you and your defence lawyer to remedy these flaws within a time limit of five days (eight days if you do not have a defence lawyer, and the presiding judge provides instructions directly to you).

A copy of the appeal and its grounds will be delivered to the other parties involved in the case and the entire case file will be presented to the court of appeal.

The superior regional court will decide an appeal against the verdict of a district court and the Supreme Court will decide an appeal against the verdict of a regional court.

After the start of the proceedings of the appeal court, the contested judgement will be presented and a report about the case will be submitted.

Then you will present the appeal and justify it. If neither you nor your defence lawyer is present, this will be done by the presiding judge.

Subsequently, the public prosecutor and anyone who may be directly affected by the decision of the court of appeal will present their arguments.

Once the petitions are presented, the court of appeal will examine the evidence necessary for making a decision about the appeal unless review of the evidence would be so extensive that this would mean duplicating the previous work of the court of first instance.

The court of appeals may:

  • reject the appeal (if the appeal is not reasonable, if it was delayed, filed by an unauthorised person, or similar reasons) but this is always done at a public hearing;
  • reject the appeal (if its contents do not meet the requirements for an appeal);
  • interrupt the criminal prosecution;
  • overrule the contested verdict or a part of it and,:
  • decide to present the case for a decision about  the court’s jurisdiction;
  • transfer the case to a different authority;
  • stop the criminal prosecution (if the court of first instance should have already done so);
  • interrupt criminal prosecution (if the court of first instance should have already done so);

It may also overrule the contested verdict due to fundamental flaws in the proceedings;

  • flaws in the verdict (ambiguity, incomplete findings in the case);
  • doubts over the accuracy of the findings in the case or the evidence has to be replicated;
  • breach of the provisions of the Criminal Code;
  • inadequacy of the sentence;
  • an incorrect  decision about the entitlement of the victim.

After it is overruled the appeals court either:

  • returns the case to the court of first instance;
  • decides its verdict on the case always at a public hearing.
  • stops the criminal prosecution

What happens if the appeal is unsuccessful?

Unless the prosecutor appealed against the verdict, the court of appeal cannot make a decision which makes your situation worse.

When is the conviction final?

If the court of appeals does not return the case to the court of first instance, its decision ends the case and becomes final the moment the decision is declared. The verdict of the court of first instance also becomes final unless an appeal is filed against it promptly.

Once the verdict comes into force you can file:

  • an extraordinary appeal;
  • a motion with the Minister of Justice to file a complaint for breach of the law to the Supreme Court;
  • application for permission to renew proceedings;

If the first decision is overturned, will I get any compensation?

You can make a request to the Ministry of Justice for compensation under the Act on damage caused by a public authority.

If my appeal is successful, will a record be kept of the conviction?

Records of a conviction are drawn up only after the verdict becomes final. Once the verdict of guilty becomes final, a record is entered in the criminal register. If an extraordinary remedy is successful, this record is then deleted.

I am from another Member State. Can I be sent back to my home state after the trial?

Yes, you can be extradited to serve the sentence if the time remaining is at least 4 months.

The relevant authority of the country concerned must ask for extradition and the extradition must be consistent with constitutional rules and obligations, and with international treaties on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The court can also order your extradition as part of a guilty verdict.

Can I appeal the decision to send me back to my home country?

You can appeal the decision when the notice to serve the sentence is delivered. You can appeal against the sentence of extradition.

If I am convicted, can I be tried again for the same crime?

No, not even in other Member States, unless permission to reopen the proceedings is given.

Will information about the charge and/or the conviction be added to my criminal record?

Yes, the Criminal Register holds records of legal convictions. The courts provide it with that information. The information is kept for a hundred years from the date of your birth.

If the conviction is removed, the information will not appear in the Criminal Register.  You can obtain an extract from the Register by requesting one. Depending on the seriousness of the conviction, it may be removed within time limits set by the law.  These range from one year after the sentence has been served, to fifteen years.

The information will be held whether you consent or not.

Can I object to the holding of the information?

You can file an administrative lawsuit with the Municipal Court in Prague.

Related links

Criminal Law for the General Public

Ministry of Justice

Last update: 03/07/2019

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

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