Pre-Trial Detention for Tax Fraud in Germany

German Criminal Tax Lawyers

Pre-Trial Detention for Tax Fraud in Germany

German Criminal Tax Lawyers

Pre-trial detention for tax fraud is a serious step to take on the part of the prosecutors. It greatly impacts 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. Please, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers immediately if you find yourself either in this position or threatened with this situation.

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

Pre-trial detention can be allowed under certain circumstances 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 that the suspect will flee,
  • There is a possibility that the suspect will suppress evidence,
  • A likelihood that the suspect will re-offend.

The provision states it in the following terms

  • it is established that the accused is at large or in hiding,
  • there is a risk that the accused will evade the criminal proceedings (risk of flight), considering the circumstances of the individual case,
  • 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 the 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, which 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 pre-trial detention for tax fraud, you are entitled to secure communications with your lawyer under § 148 StPO (German Code for Criminal Procedure).

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.

Our lawyers, working on your behalf, can challenge the decision during that time. We will explore whether lesser actions would suffice in the circumstances and determine whether seeking pre-trial detention was excessive in the circumstances.

Alternative arrangements are provided 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 inconvenient and damaging to a person than pre-trial detentions.

Reacting to Pre-Trial Detention

If you are facing 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. It is stressful, and many people can be overwhelmed by such news. However, staying calm and composed means you will not make mistakes at this vital 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 correctly exercised by the state. 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 should indicate that this situation is serious! Contact your defence lawyers as soon as possible.
  • Remain silent. Do not incriminate yourself; instead, wait for legal counsel.

Staying calm but authoritative in defending your rights is critical. Our lawyers have seen this situation before and will provide the legal guidance needed. It is essential not to escalate the problem and not to react aggressively. Do not give away any factual information; remain silent and consult in private with your legal defence.

The temptation may exist to seek voluntary self-disclosure; however, it is too late at this point. If the investigation has arrived at the stage where they seek pre-trial detention, the time for voluntary self-disclosure is long gone. Voluntary self-disclosure as a form of escaping legal sanctions is available before starting a tax investiga