We all want to avoid being involved in criminal cases, but if you find yourself in a Romanian criminal trial, here are the basic things you should know about criminal defense in Romania.

The Romanian Criminal Justice System

The Romanian justice is based on a civil law system, which means that there are no jury trials and that prior court rulings are not mandatory for the judge of a new case. This fact applies to both civil and criminal cases.

Criminal trials are regulated by the Romanian Penal Procedure Code and crimes themselves are regulated by the Romanian Penal Code, as well as numerous other legal provisions that can be found in specific legislation.

A criminal trial has 3 main phases in Romania. The proceedings start with a criminal investigation phase, which is carried out by an investigating prosecutor and judicial police officers. When the investigations are completed and if the prosecutor decides to send the case to court, there will be a preliminary chamber procedure in which a judge will check if the criminal investigation was carried out in a legal manner. If the preliminary chamber judge decides that the case can be sent forward, the third phase of the trial is the judgement. This third phase will be divided in a first court judgement and an appeal before a higher court.

Criminal Defendants’ Rights

According to the Romanian Penal Procedure Code, criminal defendants have have a number of legal rights in order to guarantee a fair trial:

– the right to not make any statements;

– the right to be informed about the object of the investigation;

– the right to study the case file;

– the right to be assisted by a lawyer;

– the right to indicate new evidence to be administered;

– the right to a translator/interpreter.

Having an Effective Criminal Defense

We usually advise our clients to take full use of their rights in any criminal proceeding in which they may be involved.

Making any statements before exercising your right to study the case file and before fully understanding the specifics of the case can prove to be a very costly mistake, but one that can be avoided.

Cases of Mandatory Legal Assistance

Although being assisted by a criminal defense attorney is always recommended, it is only mandatory in certain cases.

In these particular cases, if the defendant chooses to not hire a criminal defense lawyer, a court appointed attorney will be desginated to handle the defendant’s criminal defense. This applies to cases in which the defendant is a minor and in cases with a defendant that is under arrest or commited in a medical facility. In addition to these cases, legal assistance is mandatory during the judgement phase in any case in which the law provides a penalty that is higher than 5 years imprisonment.

If you need more information about this subject, you can contact us at any time.