You can report a crime in any language. The authorities will provide interpretation free of charge.
Anybody who is aware of the crime you have suffered from can report it for you. There are two important exceptions to this rule:
There is no obligatory form you have to follow. Based on your report the police will draft a document called ‘application-protocol’ and will ask you to verify its content and sign it. The application-protocol includes:
When you submit a complaint directly to the court you must include the following information:
There is no deadline for reporting a crime. However, if a certain period of time has passed after the incident the police will accept your report but will not start an investigation. This period is specified in the law and ranges between two and 20 years depending on the type of the crime.
Once the police start an investigation they will assign a reference number to your case. You can ask the police about the number of your case and you can use this number to follow the progress of the investigation.
When the police or the public prosecutor decides to open an investigation you as a victim will receive a notification. Notifications are usually sent by post.
To participate in the investigation of the crime as a victim you have to receive a formal authorisation from the public prosecutor or the police officer in charge of your case. By this authorisation the public prosecutor or the police officer officially recognises you as a victim of the investigated crime.
If you have reported the crime the authorisation will be given automatically and you will receive a copy of the decision. If you have not reported the crime but nevertheless an investigation has been launched you have to make a request to the public prosecutor or the police officer to formally recognise you as victim.
Once you have received the formal authorisation to participate in the investigation as a victim you can:
If you wish to claim compensation from the offender for the damages caused by the crime you can submit a civil claim. By submitting the civil claim you will become a civil claimant.
You can use the assistance of a lawyer irrespective of your role during the investigation. You have to pay for the lawyer’s services or apply for legal aid free of charge.
You can request reimbursement of the expenses you have made during the investigation. You can receive reimbursement for the travel and accommodation expenditures as well as compensation for lost remuneration. Requests for reimbursement are submitted to the public prosecutor or the police officer in charge of the case.
During the investigation the public prosecutor or the police will probably call you for an interview as a witness. In this case you have to go to the police station or the public prosecutor’s office and answer the questions posed to you.
You will be asked to make an oath that you will speak the truth and not hide information. You can refuse to be interviewed only if your testimony may lead to criminal prosecution against you or your relatives. In all other cases, if you refuse to testify you risk being fined.
If you are a child under 18 years of age you usually will be interviewed only once. The interview will be conducted by a judge and may be recorded. During the interview the judge can invite a psychologist or a person from the local children’s rights protection agency to assist you. Your parents may also be present during the interview.
The police officer, the public prosecutor and the judge in charge of your case are obliged to explain to you what rights you have during the proceedings and how you can exercise them.
If you have been formally recognised as a victim of the crime you will receive a copy of the decision for granting such recognition. In the decision you will find a brief explanation of your rights during the proceedings.
If you are a victim of violent crime you will also receive information about how you can receive compensation from the State.
At any time during the investigation you can ask for permission to check the documentation of the case or request copies or excerpts of documents. Your request has to be addressed to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor will allow you to examine the entire case file. Access to the case file or to individual documents can be restricted only if it may hamper the investigation. You can appeal against such a restriction before the judge. The appeal has to be submitted within seven days. The judge will issue a final decision on your appeal within three days.
Additional information can also be obtained by contacting the non-governmental organisations working with victims of crime such as the Lithuanian Association of Victims of Crime Support.
You can receive legal aid free of charge only if you have been formally recognised as a victim or you have filed a civil claim for damages. If you are participating in the investigation as a victim you have to present evidence that your income does not allow you to pay for legal services. If you are claiming damages from the offender as a civil claimant legal aid free of charge is available irrespective of your income.
If you qualify for legal aid you will be provided with a lawyer free of charge. The lawyer will assist you during the investigation (including the drafting of the necessary documents) and will represent you before the authorities.
If you are in danger your identity can be kept secret. This protection measure is available if:
If you want your identity to remain secret you have to make a request to the public prosecutor or the police officer in charge of your case. Your personal data will not be included in any of the documents in the case file and will be replaced by a special identification number. Only the public prosecutor and the police officer in charge of your case (and the judge if the case goes to court) will have access to your personal data.
Additional protection measures are available if you have suffered from a serious crime and there exists a real threat to your life, health, or property. To benefit from these measures you have to actively cooperate with the justice and law enforcement officials, help them to conduct the investigation or provide them with important information on the case. The additional protection measures can also cover your spouse, partner, parents (including adoptive parents), children (including adopted children), brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren.
The additional protection measures may include:
There are non-governmental organisations offering different types of services such as: support, accompaniment, provision of information, search for available opportunities, psychological counselling, post-traumatic help, etc. For more information you can contact the Lithuanian Association of Victims of Crime Support.
You can receive medical assistance but you may be asked to pay for it unless you have a valid health insurance. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card.
You can reconcile with the offender at any time during the investigation of the crime. The process of reconciliation is not regulated. Nevertheless there are conditions specified that should be followed for conciliation to happen. Conciliation is not possible in cases of very serious or serious crimes. Upon conciliation the offender should pay or promise to pay compensation for the damages you have suffered as a result of the crime. In case you reconcile with the offender during the investigation stage the case will not go to court.
At the end of the investigation you will be provided with the opportunity to check all the materials collected so far. After that, the police officer will send the case file to the public prosecutor who will decide how to proceed further. If the public prosecutor believes that there is sufficient evidence supporting the charges he/she will bring the case to court for trial. Otherwise the public prosecutor will close the case at this stage.
If in the course of the investigation the police officer decides to close the case you can appeal against his/her decision before the public prosecutor. If you are not satisfied with the public prosecutor’s decision you can appeal against it before the superior prosecutor. If the superior prosecutor confirms the decision of his/her subordinate prosecutor you can file an appeal before the judge.
The deadline for all appeals is 14 days after you receive the decision. If there are serious reasons preventing you from appealing on time you can ask for an extension of the deadline. The maximum possible extension is six months following the issuance of the decision.
If you are a foreigner you have all the rights listed above. You can also benefit from additional rights aimed at facilitating your participation in the proceedings.
Criminal proceedings in Lithuania are conducted in Lithuanian. If you do not speak Lithuanian you can use your mother tongue or any other language you understand. You will be provided with an interpreter free of charge to assist you when you attend investigative actions. All documents you receive from the authorities during the investigation must also be translated in a language you understand.
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