The court-appointed defense counsel in investigations by the public prosecutor

If you find yourself in a situation involving an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office, it is crucial to protect your rights and interests. German law offers the possibility for an accused that a defense counsel is appointed by the investigating judge in accordance with sections 140 et seqq. of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO).

What is a court-appointed defense counsel?

A court-appointed defense counsel is a lawyer who is appointed by the court. They are supposed to represent the interests of a defendant who cannot afford their own lawyer. There may also be other reasons why a defendant requires a defense counsel. This is an important right ensuring that everyone receives an adequate defense, regardless of their financial means.

When is the defense counsel appointed?

Sections 140 et seqq. of the German Code of Criminal Procedure define the conditions for the appointment of a defense counsel. Typically, this happens when the severity of the accusation and the complexity of the case require a defense by a lawyer. Another reason is that a defendant cannot afford the costs of a lawyer. This can be the case, for example, in serious criminal offenses or if an arrest warrant has been issued.

Advantages of having a court-appointed defense counsel

  • Experience and expertise: In Germany, court-appointed defense counsels may be experienced lawyers who specialize in criminal law and know how to best defend your interests.
  • Protection of your rights: A court-appointed defense counsel secures your rights during the entire proceedings.
  • Negotiation skills: You will be represented by a lawyer who is able to negotiate with the public prosecutor’s office and possibly find a favorable solution for your case.

How to obtain the appointment of a defense counsel

If the public prosecutor’s office is investigating you or the police want to question you, a defense counsel may be necessary. You should request the appointment and assignment of a defense counsel right at the beginning, but you can also do so at any stage of the preliminary proceedings and submit an application for this to the police for the record. The court respectively the investigating judge will then assess whether the requirements according to sections 140 seqq. of the German Code of Criminal Procedure are met and, if necessary, appoint a defense counsel for you. You may even specify a lawyer of your choice whom you wish to be your defense counsel. The court will then appoint this lawyer as your defense counsel.

With your future at stake, the assistance of an experienced defense counsel is as valuable as ever. If you have further questions or need legal assistance, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Our experienced attorneys are available to defend your rights and assist you in this challenging time.