Arrest and Remand Custody

Initial Arrest

Should a member of your family or circle of friends have suffered arrest, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. In case of such emergency you can call me at any time at 0049 170 55 35 250. Stress placed upon the arrested party during the process of arrest and detention may increase the risk of careless self-incriminating utterances towards the police, often leading to a conviction later on. Especially when confronted with a shortage of evidence, the police are compelled to rely on statements made by the accused to further their case. The accused may therefore be mislead into making unreflected self-incriminating statements. Whether, and to what extent compliance with police questioning is sensible and safe can generally be established only upon review of the case file by the defense attorney. Excercise your right to remain silent and insist upon calling a lawyer immediately. Do not under any circumstances allow yourself to be intimidated and bullied by threats of remand detention (being imprisoned pending trial). This measure may only be ordered by a judge.

After being arrested the accused must legally be brought before a criminal judge by the end of the following day. The judge will decide if the criteria for issue of an arrest warrant (order for your detention) are given. At this point by the latest the accused will require assistance by a legal representative who will try to prevent the issue of an arrest warrant or, should the issue be unavoidable, to stay its execution.

Remand Custody (Pre-Trial-Jail)

Remand custody is a measure for safeguarding the investigation. This measure permits severe intrusion upon the personal freedom of a citizen during the early stages of proceedings on the mere basis of suspicion alone and without condemning evidence having been presented.  It is intended to prevent a negative influence upon the law enforcement process being exercised by the accused, examples include risk of flight (more than 90 percent of all arrest warrants are based on this ground) and destruction or removal of evidence. Arrest and remand custody does in practice tend to weaken the position of the defense. The victim of this measure may be more inclined to provide a confession due to the psychological shock during and following arrest and detention. This tendency towards coerced false confession is increased even further by the accused being informed that he/she may go home after signing the interrogation protocol.

Requirements warranting Remand Custody

The conditions warranting remand custody are put forth in § 112 ff. StPO (German Code of Criminal Procedure). Thereby the accused must be under strong suspicion, reasons for continued detention must be given, and the principle of proportionality must be seen to apply in justifying such an order.

Declaring a strong suspicion requires a high probability of the accused having committed the crime based on given evidence.

Reasons for detention include a high risk of flight, a likelihood of the accused engaging in the suppression of evidence, as well as a plausible risk of the accused repeating the offense. In practice, the vast majority of legal orders warranting detention are justified upon the risk of flight. Risk of flight is established as a reason for detention if the likelihood of the defendant fleeing is estimated to be higher than the probability of his remaining accessible throughout the proceedings given the circumstances of the case. The defense is under obligation to counter by citing reasons why the defendant is unlikely to leave the jurisdiction zone. Such reasons may include family and social ties, insufficient funds for travel, or ongoing medical treatment.

In addition, the order for detention must be further justified as complying with the principles of proporionality. Thereby a relative balance between the severity of the accusation and the expected likely penalties must be maintained. The accused may only be detained if it is clear that the due course of the proceedings cannot be otherwise secured adequately through milder measures. Therefore the defense attorney will move to arrange an exemption from detention measures according to § 116 StPO on the basis of restraining sanctions (examples: bail, the defendant checking in with a local government authority office at regular intervals).

Investigative Detention in Berlin

Should your family member or friend be held in detention at the JVA Moabit, he/she will be permitted visitation only twice a month for an hour each time. A maximum of three persons may be present at each visit. Prior to the visit an appointment must be arranged by telephone at the following number: (030) 9014-5535. Hereafter a visitation certificate must be obtained at the office of the district attorney or judge for each visit and every visitor. To establish which office is responsible for your case you should contact the central office of the Berlin criminal court system at (030) 9014-0. Should you experience difficulties I am glad to be of assistance. You are required to bring your visitation certificate and personal ID card or passport to the arranged appointment. The transfer of money or any other items is prohibited. Further information (in German language) may be obtained online at: