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Pre-Trial Detention for Tax Fraud Germany

Pre-trial detention for tax fraud is a serious step to take on the part of the prosecutors. It has a huge impact on a person’s business and personal life and, therefore, should only be used in limited circumstances. Furthermore, it should only be used in a legally compliant manner. If you find yourself in a situation where pre-trial detention is being sought in your tax fraud case, then it is important to receive legal guidance. Contact our lawyers immediately if you find yourself either in this position or threatened with this situation.

When facing a pre-trial detention for tax fraud you require reliable advice.

Act calmly. Contact our defence lawyers and let’s collaborate to form your legal strategy.

Our Legal Services

Our lawyers will provide the following services to those in pre-trial detention:

  1. Seek legal remedies: Our lawyers will examine the grounds for your pre-trial detention and look for a way of removing this measure. We will (where possible) challenge the imposition of the pre-trial detention.
  2. Strategize for your criminal law case: While in pre-trial detention our lawyers will be able to communicate and meet with you to plan and strategize for the upcoming case.
  3. Consult with client on their current situation: If you need certain actions to be taken while in pre-trial detention our lawyers will help you to resolve them. Such steps can involve their business, taxation and case procedural matters.
  4. Challenge the conditions: Our lawyers will ensure that the conditions of your pre-trial are just and fair. This may involve challenging the time frame for which the pre-trial detention has been implemented or the conditions applicable to get out of pre-trial detention.
  5. Representation in court: We will seek to end your pre-trial detention, but we will not let this distract us from the important work of preparing for your legal case. Our lawyers will examine the applicable documentation and evidence and will work with you to form the legal strategy needed for your case.

Ultimately, the services our lawyers can provide will depend on the facts of the case. Cases differ and the results we can achieve for you will depend on what we are presented with. You can rely on us to seek the best possible outcome for you in your case and we will seek to end the pre-trial detention for tax fraud.

How does a Pre-Trial Detention for Tax Fraud Arise?

A pre-trial detention can be allowed for under certain circumstances which are listed under § 112 StPO (German Criminal Procedure Code). This allows for this move to be made in the following circumstances:

  • If there is a danger the suspect will flee,
  • There is a possibility that the suspect will suppress evidence,
  • A likelihood that the suspect will reoffend.

The provision states it in the following terms

  • it is established that the accused is at large or in hiding,
  • considering the circumstances of the individual case, there is a risk that the accused will evade the criminal proceedings (risk of flight)
  • the accused’s conduct gives rise to the strong suspicion that he will
    • destroy, alter, remove, suppress or falsify evidence or
    • improperly influence the co-accused, witnesses or experts or
    • cause others to do so
  • and if, therefore, the danger exists that establishment of the truth will be made more difficult (risk of the suppression of evidence).

In the suppression of evidence, the fear is that the suspect will either influence the evidence or the witnesses to the trial. However, there can be discretionary grounds for placing a suspect into pre-trial detention and this can unjustly impact the suspect’s professional and personal life. Having experienced lawyers in your corner can hold the authorities to account when they decide to take such an action. During a pre-trial detention for tax fraud you are entitled to secure communications with your lawyer under § 148 StPO (German Code for Criminal Procedure).


Reacting to a Pre-Trial Detention for Tax Evasion

If you are facing a pre-trial detention for tax evasion, it is vital to know how to react.

  • Firstly, remain calm and do not challenge the order at this time. This is a stressful situation, and many people can be overwhelmed by such news. However, remaining calm and composed means that you will not make mistakes at this important time.
  • Make sure to see the arrest warrant and hear the reasons for the decision to give the pre-trial detention. Remember, this is a huge step to take and should only be exercised by the state in the correct manner. The information provided in the warrant will be of great value to your legal representatives.
  • Contact our legal team and allow them to examine your case. The pre-trial detention mechanism is one which should indicate that this situation is serious! Contact your defence lawyers as soon as possible!
  • Remain silent! At this point do not incriminate yourself and instead wait for legal counsel.

Staying calm but authoritative in defending your rights is important. Our lawyers have seen this situation before and will provide the legal guidance needed from here on in. It is important not to escalate the situation and not to react in a confrontational manner. Do not give away any factual information at this point, remain silent and consult in private with your legal defence.


The Importance of Not Disclosing Information

We have stated above that it is important to wait for your legal counsel before providing any statements. The temptation may exist to seek a voluntary self-disclosure, however, at this point it is too late. If the investigation has arrived to the stage where they are seeking pre-trial detention, then the time for a voluntary self-disclosure is long gone. The voluntary self-disclosure as a form of escaping legal sanctions is only available prior to the start of a tax investigation. It is these kind of pit-falls, which lay people can face without the correct legal counsel. Remain silent and do not incriminate yourself.

Wait for legal counsel. Wait for your lawyer to discuss the situation with you and determine the best course of action in the circumstances. Any information provided without your lawyer present is likely to be used against you in court and will instead act to damage your case. The temptation will exist to resolve the matter without your lawyer, but be patient.


Pre-Trial Detention: What is Involved and How to Challenge it

Pre-Trial detentions cannot be put in place indefinitely. However, there is a degree of discretion in the amount of time a person can be placed in detention. Officially, six months is the limit, but this can be extended in certain circumstances upon application to the court. This extension of six months is only allowed for in particularly challenging cases. If the reason for the pre-trial detention order is a risk of recurrence, the maximum period may not exceed 12 months. In the case of tax evasion this move is quite unlikely. The decision to extend the length of time to place the person in pre-trial detention must be proportional and not excessive. There needs to be solid reasoning and justification behind that decision.

During that time our lawyers, working on your behalf, can go about challenging the decision. We will explore the option of whether lesser actions would suffice in the circumstances and determine whether the seeking of a pre-trial detention was excessive in the circumstances. Alternative arrangements are provided for under § 116 StPO such as reporting to a judge on specific dates. These alternative arrangements may also intrude on a person’s freedoms but are less of an inconvenience and are less damaging to a person than pre-trial detentions.

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Practice Group: German Business Criminal Law

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Philipp Busse

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Dr. Julius Hagen

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Matthias Wurm, LL.M.

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