German criminal procedure is designed to allow the accused to comment on an accusation. This opportunity is initially provided in the context of a police interrogation. However, if this may initially appear to be suitable to exonerate oneself, statements by the accused often lead to the accused incriminating himself. Therefore, you should not directly follow a summons by the police, but first, consult a lawyer before you comment on the matter.

It should be emphasized that contrary to general opinion, as an accused, you are not obliged to follow up such a police summons.

Since the accused is not aware of the exact accusation at this point, they place themselves at greater risk than what appears from the original accusation. Therefore, a lawyer should inspect the investigation file before the accused makes any statement. It is, therefore, best to contact us as soon as you have received the summons. Our criminal defence attorney Philipp Busse is available to provide the best possible defence and protect you from rash statements.

If you have a particular issue or legal question concerning German Criminal Law, you can contact our law office annytime. Our lawyers for German Criminal Law can be reached by phone, email and also provide video conferencing options. For more legal information, please visit our German Criminal Law Homepage .

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Required Behaviour when Receiving a Police Summons

If you have received a summons as a police suspect, you should exercise caution first. Although it may seem helpful at first to disclose facts that allegedly refute the accusation, such statements can often be used against you later. Careless statements often aggravate your situation. Interrogations by trained police officers are usually very stressful for the accused psychologically, which often means that the accused is not aware of the consequences of his statements. This is especially true since the officers are familiar with various interrogation strategies, which often have an intimidating effect on the accused.

It is therefore advisable not to comment on the accusation at first. A fundamental principle of criminal law is the accused’s right to silence. Before you have consulted a lawyer, you should also make use of this right. Otherwise you will limit yourself in your possibilities of defence. A successful defence is only possible on the basis of all information.

Our criminal defence lawyer will be happy to request your file and can develop the best possible strategy on this basis in order to invalidate any existing suspicion. Without knowing what exactly you are accused of, you can incriminate yourself even further by making far-reaching statements. In order to avoid this, we advise you not to follow a summons by the police directly. Therefore, please contact us as soon as you have received a summons in order to enable a successful defence.


No Obligation to Follow Up

There is no obligation on the accused to follow up a police summons. You can simply cancel the non-binding summons. Even a possible addition in the summons, that in case of being prevented, the timely notification of the reason for prevention is requested, does not change anything about this. The accused is neither obliged to appear on the basis of the summons nor to excuse his absence.

As the accused, you are only obliged to provide information about yourself. For example, you must provide your name, address, date and place of birth if requested. You should refrain from giving any further details, especially with regard to the suspicion of a crime. You are not threatened with any adverse consequences as a result of exercising your right of silence.

However, it should be emphasised that this only applies to a summons from the police. If you have received a summons from the public prosecutor’s office or the court, you are obliged to appear. However, you also have the right to remain silent in this case.


Please Contact Us

In order to avoid further incriminating yourself, we recommend that you contact our law firm immediately after receiving a summons. Attorney Philipp Busse will gladly request your file and advise you on how to proceed.  By doing so, your best possible defence is guaranteed.

At Schlun & Elseven we are a multidisciplinary full-service law firm. From our offices in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Aachen we work with clients from all over the world in their dealings with German law. Contact us today if you have queries concerning German law. Our legal team looks forward to working with you.

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