What is suspicious

Suspects, accused and defendants

The public prosecutor's office and the criminal police designate people who are being investigated on the basis of an existing initial suspicion as Suspects.

There is an initial suspicionif, based on certain indications, it can be assumed that a criminal offense has been committed. This means that there must be sufficient reason (based on specific, in any case verifiable or refutable evidence) for the assumption of a criminal offense.

By defining the initial suspicion as a prerequisite for initiating investigative proceedings, it is made clear that the phase of the investigation until the suspicion is concretized does not yet mean an "accusation" and that these persons are not referred to as the accused. This is also underlined by the fact that the person against whom an initial suspicion is to be determined is referred to as the "suspect". This makes it very clear to the public that there is only a "vague" suspicion that needs to be further specified. Among other things, this also serves to protect people who are reported without sufficient substrate.

The criminal police or the public prosecutor's office are obliged to investigate ex officio any initial suspicion of a criminal offense that comes to their knowledge. requirement for the Initiation of a preliminary investigation however that is Presence of an initial suspicion. If, for example, the examination of a complaint reveals that there is no initial suspicion (for example, because the complaint lacks indications that could be determined from the start for the commission of a criminal offense), the public prosecutor does not have to initiate any investigative proceedings. The reporter (the person who filed the report) must be informed of the fact that no investigative proceedings will be initiated due to the absence of an initial suspicion. In such a case, the reporter is not entitled to request that the proceedings be continued.

The concept of Accused is used by the criminal investigation department and from the prosecutor used for those persons (suspects) as soon as these persons are specifically suspected on the basis of certain facts of having committed a criminal act and evidence is taken or investigative measures are ordered or carried out to clarify this specific suspicion (e.g. confiscation of objects, physical examination, arrest, Imposing pre-trial detention).

Both the suspect and the accused have certain Information, defense, participation in proceedings and rights of understanding. For example, they must be informed as soon as possible that an investigation has been initiated against them and that there is a specific suspicion against them.

However, the investigating authorities can only comply with this information obligation at a later point in time if the purpose of the investigation would otherwise be jeopardized.

Legal information for suspects and accused and the procedural rights to which they are entitled must be given in a language that the suspects and accused understand.

Young people between 14 and 18 years of age can be questioned if they are not represented by a defense lawyer, a confidant take.

Confidants of the youth are:

  • the legal representative,
  • a legal guardian,
  • a relative,
  • a teacher
  • an educator or
  • a representative of the youth welfare agency, the juvenile justice department or the probation department.

As soon as the public prosecutor's office Indictment or the Criminal complaint submits to the court, the main proceedings begin. From this point onwards, the accused are classified as accused designated.

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Legal bases

For all personal designations, the chosen form applies to both genders and thus corresponds exactly to the legal terminology of the Code of Criminal Procedure in this text (Section 515 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure).

Last updated: February 18, 2021

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