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Learn more about Criminal Law

Criminal law is a specific area of law that deals with criminal disputes. Criminal disputes defines the applicable penalties according to their seriousness. It deals with violations of the law and behavior that harms others. You can request a criminal disputes lawyer to represent you at the hearing or during a police custody. The criminal disputes lawyer accompanies the victim of an offence as well as the accused throughout the judicial procedure in order to assert his rights before the criminal court. It is important to note that there are some key differences between the system of criminal law in Thailand and comparable systems in Western common law jurisdictions. Themis Partner connects you with lawyers specialized in criminal disputes law and in the defense of foreign nationals in Thailand.

Table of contents

What is criminal law?

Criminal law is the branch of law that defines offences, classifies them according to their seriousness and sets their penalties. Criminal law must be distinguished from civil law. Here’s what you need to know about criminal law and some of the most common offences: theft, harassment, fraud, breach of trust and homicide.

The criminal law determines which acts or omissions are considered crimes or misdemeanors. Therefore, there must be a specific provision in the criminal law or in a special criminal law that defines and punishes the act or omission before an individual is considered to have committed a crime. Even if an action is socially or morally wrong, no criminal liability is incurred by a person or organization until that act is classified as a crime or misdemeanor under the law.

Victims usually go to the police to report a criminal incident. The police then continue their investigation of the alleged crime and report their findings to the District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor’s office then takes the criminal case to court.

The large number of criminal reports has resulted in delays in investigations and prosecutions. In addition, individuals have been allowed to bring criminal cases directly to court through their lawyers. While this is a more appropriate choice, the individual will still have to bear the consequences of the cost of the proceedings.

Only judges decide criminal cases in Thailand. The jury system does not apply. The court must rule beyond a reasonable doubt before rendering a guilty verdict to a person accused of a crime.

What is the role of a criminal lawyer?

To defend the interests of an individual in the event of a criminal offence, you must call upon the services of a criminal lawyer.

As the name suggests, a criminal lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling criminal law cases such as felonies or misdemeanors. He or she may take the side of the victim as well as the alleged offender.

Under Thai law, the criminal lawyer and his client intervene directly with the various bodies involved in the case. As a result, the criminal procedure is mainly based on orality and the elements obtained during the investigation.

Like almost all specialized lawyers, the Thai criminal lawyer advises his client on the procedure to follow for the treatment of his case. According to the ethics of the lawyer in Thailand, the criminal lawyer is not able to make a judgment on the guilt or not of his client. He is only in charge of advising and defending him.

Before the trial, he gathers all the information allowing to constitute the file while being based on the texts of law and the jurisprudence. The drafting of essential documents is also part of his duties.

During the trial, the criminal lawyer defends the interests and supports the cause of his client before the judge, the opposing party, as well as his lawyer and a jury. This lawyer defends the interests of his client through targeted interventions and the final plea.

The criminal lawyer represents the victim or the accused during immediate appearances, police custody or pre-trial detention. He can also intervene in the context of a contentious divorce.

At the time of the execution of the sentence, the criminal lawyer can propose alternatives to the sanction, which deprives his client of liberty, such as an application for parole.

When should I call a criminal lawyer?

It is recommended to call upon the services of a criminal lawyer when a person is the subject of legal proceedings, particularly in criminal law.

This lawyer intervenes before a criminal court, an assize court, an administrative court or a disciplinary commission. He can be in charge of defending his client during an immediate appearance or a police custody, both in terms of the judicial procedure and the execution of sentences.

The intervention of a Thai criminal lawyer in the field of economic criminal law

In order for a person accused in a criminal law case to get out of it or to defend their interests, they must contact a criminal lawyer. This procedure is necessary whether the person is simply wrongly accused or actually at fault.

In the case of an economic charge, such as fraud, money laundering or corruption, the use of a criminal lawyer is recommended. The complexity of the transaction rules and restrictive international standards are sometimes at the root of these cases.
In addition to defending his client, the criminal lawyer can file a claim for damages caused to innocent people. If his client is found to be at fault, this lawyer prepares a defense case to reduce the penalties.

In criminal law, it is essential to conduct a thorough study and to gather coherent technical evidence. Hence the need to contact a criminal lawyer.

The intervention of a Thai criminal lawyer for general offences

As stated above, the expertise of a criminal lawyer is required in cases relating to general offenses. The files can connect to more or less severe contraventions and judge by the police court, such as violations of the Highway Law, night noise, or threats.

The criminal lawyer also intervenes in criminal cases handled by the criminal Court. In general, the files relate to offenses punishable by fines and imprisonment for less than ten years.

The scope of a criminal lawyer also extends to handling cases of intentional or involuntary crimes. These are the most serious offenses and are severely punished by criminal law. These cases are handled and judged by the Assize Court with the compulsory presence of a lawyer.

What are the offences requiring the use of a lawyer?

Here are some examples of offenses that require the intervention of a criminal lawyer.


According to the criminal law, theft is an offence punishable by a fine of THB 1.5 million and a prison sentence of three years. In case of aggravated theft, i.e. theft carried out under aggravating circumstances, the perpetrator can be punished with a prison sentence of 5 years and a fine of THB 2.5 million.

The following are considered as aggravated theft:

➤ Theft committed by several persons (organized gang)
➤ Theft committed by a civil servant in the exercise of his duties
➤ Theft accompanied by violence against a third party not resulting in total incapacity for work
➤ Theft committed in a school or on public transport
➤ Theft accompanied by deterioration, degradation or destruction of property
➤ Theft with a racist motive
➤ A theft during which the perpetrators deliberately concealed their face

Sexual harassment

Harassment is an offence sanctioned by the Criminal Law and requires the intervention of a criminal lawyer. It concerns all acts, behaviors, writings or comments made with the aim of causing psychological and/or physical harm to a person. These acts are qualified as harassment because of their repetitive nature.

The victim may be subjected to harassment in the form of sexual, moral, telephone or school harassment. According to the law, sexual or moral harassment is punishable by a fine of THB 1 million and a prison sentence of two years.


Different from breach of trust, fraud is a crime that consists in obtaining from a person a good, an agreement, a sum of money, a waiver or other things by using deception. This deception also concerns the name such as false identity, the quality such as the usurpation of function (example: a gendarme), or the use of a false document such as a fraudulent diploma. It was present from the beginning of the case.

Swindling is punishable by 5 years in prison and a fine of up to THB 15 million. In case of aggravating circumstances, the penalty is THB 30 million and 7 years in prison.


The criminal law refers to homicide as the most serious crime. It is the killing of another person. If the crime is committed voluntarily, intentionally and deliberately, it is called voluntary homicide.

If it is deliberate and planned, it is called murder. On the other hand, manslaughter is an act that causes death unintentionally and is called an offence. This is the case of a road accident.

Voluntary manslaughter is punishable by 30 years in prison, manslaughter by three years in prison, and a fine of THB 1.5 million and murder by life imprisonment.

There are several types of third-party complaints for which you may need to hire a criminal lawyer from the Bangkok Bar or a Thai lawyer from another bar.

For traffic tickets or even misdemeanors that are not very serious, you can hire a criminal lawyer. He or she will be able to give you the necessary advice to avoid a heavy penalty. The police court judges this type of offence, but the presence of the lawyer is not mandatory.

For more serious offenses such as harassment or theft, the judgment is rendered by the correctional court. The support of a lawyer is recommended to assert your rights and defend your interests. Indeed, you should know that this type of offence can lead to a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Finally, for the most serious offenses such as crimes or rapes, the judgment is rendered before the Court of Assizes. In this type of case, the presence of a criminal lawyer is mandatory.

Where can I find a criminal lawyer?

Finding and dealing with a competent lawyer can be a real headache in Thailand. The problem is not only the language barrier, but often a very different understanding of what their role entails.

To find a criminal lawyer with extensive experience in defending a case, it is recommended to contact Themis Partner. Our company has a comprehensive directory of lawyers, and we can put you in touch with a competent lawyer for a reasonable price, who can meet your expectations and communicate with you in English.

Law firm located in Bangkok

Themis Partner has many partners with local and international law firms. Our partner lawyers are carefully chosen and selected by our team. The majority of our partners are located in Bangkok. However, we can also put you in touch with partner lawyers in the provinces.

Law firm located in the provinces

Themis Partner has partner lawyers also located outside of Thailand. We know that it is difficult to find an English speaking Thai lawyer, which is why Themis Partner has selected lawyer partners who can assist you in the event of an arrest or wishing to file a complaint.

When is the presence of a criminal lawyer mandatory?

When you are summoned before the police or the court, the assistance of a lawyer is imperative. Thai law does not require mandatory representation by a lawyer. However, it is essential to prove your innocence that a Thai lawyer assists you with his expertise in the criminal jurisdiction.

Indeed, this Thai lawyer will be able to discuss with the Thai authorities and defend you. He must act in the interest of his client while respecting the ethics and fundamental principles of Thai law.

A criminal lawyer is thus in charge of defending his client, whether it is an accused or a victim. A criminal law expert can take over a case in progress if the client decides to change lawyers. Also, his role is to be present at all stages of the proceedings. In the case of an immediate appearance, his presence is strongly recommended to protect the client’s rights in light of the police’s questions.

How do I choose the right criminal lawyer?

Now that you know more about criminal law, let’s review the different criteria for choosing a good lawyer. Indeed, this choice requires certain precautions on your part in order not to waste too much time and money.

Experience of the lawyer

In the case of a serious crime or misdemeanor, we recommend that you hire an experienced attorney. This experience is essential for the lawyer to have an objective view of your case. He or she will have to use his or her previous cases to make individual decisions while keeping in mind that your situation is unique and that he or she will have to act accordingly.

The lawyer's specialty

Before you make your choice, you can also do your research on the cases handled by an attorney. It is essential to know what cases have been successful and why they may have failed. To maximize your chances of finding the right provider, you should, therefore, learn about their previous cases.

A digital law firm

Today, there are websites where it is possible to consult the services of a criminal law firm. This is a reliable reference that you can rely on. Indeed, the site allows you to know more about a firm and the team that composes it. Moreover, it is essential in today’s world to have a solution at hand. This way, you can contact a specialist directly from your computer or smartphone.

Availability of the lawyer

When you are going to seek advice from a criminal law expert in Thailand, we also recommend that you inquire about their current cases. Indeed, you need to be advised by a lawyer who can be at your disposal at any time. If he is in charge of several cases, he will not be able to devote himself entirely to yours. This is essential, especially for serious offenses and crimes.

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