Prosecuted in Germany?

German defense lawyer Alexander Greithaner specialises in international criminal cases and represents foreign clients in all areas of criminal law. Due to his international family background he is fluent in English, Spanish and, of course, German.

First things first: If accused of a crime or misdemeanor in Germany, never make any kind of statement to the German police, German customs (Zoll) or any other German prosecution authority. This piece of advice sounds commonplace but many clients have already made some kind of statement before contacting a German defense lawyer. This is never helpful!

You need to be aware of the legal situation and the risks first. Then you can discuss with your defense lawyer whether it makes sense to make a statement or not. This is even more important in international criminal cases. While criminal statutes are still mostly national law, globalisation nevertheless has also impacted criminal law and prosecution proceedings. Criminal prosecutors nowadays frequently collaborate with their colleagues in other countries, in particular with regard to organised crime or international taxation issues. For this reason, an “international criminal law” has developed in recent years, which companies and private individuals are confronted with. Thus, a defense lawyer should no longer only think within the box of his or her own national jurisdiction.

Since it is no longer uncommon for German investigative authorities to cooperate with foreign colleagues, this often leads to complete uncertainty for the private individuals and companies concerned, as they are even less familiar with foreign legislation than with the already complicated national regulations, which makes the use of a specialised criminal lawyer indispensable. As a non-German defendant, you need a defense lawyer who does not only know his own legal system but also has a corresponding understanding of international and European legal regulations.

German Lawyer with Mexican roots: Alex Greithaner is fluent in Spanish, English and, of course, German

German defense lawyer Alexander Greithaner works exclusively in the field of criminal law. His main area of expertise is “white collar crime” (i.e. business, corporate, compliance, tax), but he also deals with narcotics law cases, alleged traffic violations and in certain constellations he also defends clients against the accusation of a sexual offence. He is also versant in the law of international extradition proceedings.

His excellent knowledge of English and Spanish enables him to offer his clients comprehensive and cross-border advice in all areas of criminal law on an international level.

If you are accused of any crime in Germany, you should always demand to speak to an English speaking German lawyer. In the south of Germany you may call criminal defense attorney Alexander Greithaner on 0049-941-30794890 or in case of an emergency on the mobile phone number 0049-160-94403335. For other parts of Germany we can recommend qualified criminal defence attorneys.

Basic information on law enforcement and criminal prosecution in Germany: The German Criminal Code (in English language) and the Code of Criminal Procedure are available here. German judge Joachimski here compares the practical aspects of US and German criminal procedure and here is a very informative essay on the German criminal procedure produced by the NZ Law Commision (download here: GERMAN CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – german_criminal_procedure).

For more information about German law, in particular civil litigation in Germany see these posts:

– – –

The law firm Graf & Partners was established in 2003 and has many years of experience with British-German and US-German legal matters.The Anglo-German litigation lawyer team of GP Chambers is well equipped to advise and represent clients from the UK and other English speaking countries. If you wish us to advise or represent you in a German or cross border case, or if you need an expert report on German law, please call +49 941 463 7070 in order to contact German lawyer Bernhard Schmeilzl, LL.M. (Leicester), managing partner and head of the litigation department. Bernhard is also frequently asked by British and US Courts and Tribunals or by legal counsels to provide expert reports and legal opinions on German law.

Arrested in Germany? Accused of a Crime?

In case you run into trouble with German police or customs authorities the basic rule is – as everywhere – do not speak to them without getting proper legal counsel first. Much less sign anything they put in front of you. Police will put any statement you make into an official interrogation protocol. And, quite often, the wording of such protocol is given a spin that is helping the authorities make their case.

Also, you may give information that you consider harmless but may be of extreme relevance. For example: A top manager of an international bank flys into Munich from Hongkong. In his luggage he has an expensive watch that he will give to a German friend as birthday present. The manager himself is a British citizen, so – forgetting about the watch in his bag – he walks through the “EU citizens – nothing to declare” gate. German customs stop him and – after finding the watch, which was brand new and still in its original box  – question him because of importation vat evasion. During this questioning he makes a number of mistakes. The costliest being this: When they ask him about his income the manager, apparently proud of his salary and trying to make the point that a 8,000 pound watch is something that a person in his position may well have forgotten – tells the customs agent that he makes two million plus annual bonus. Now, one can imagine that this is not something that makes a customs official feel sorry for the person. But, more importantly, the bank manager was obviously not aware that criminal fines in Germany are based on a persons income. The manager was fined an equivalent of 18 days in jail. And the actual amount of each daily rate is calculated: annual income divided by 365, in this case (calculating “only” the fixed salary of 2 million) a daily rate of approx. 5,480 Euros. So, the manager has to pay a fine of 98,640 Euros. For evaded inport duty of less than 2,000 Euros. Had he given a much lower number, lets say 200,000 (or not have said anything), nobody would have checked this information and the fine would have been in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 Euros.

While this may be an extreme case regarding the actual numbers the fact that too much talking can cost you does apply very often. So, if your are accused of a crime you should always demand to speak to an English speaking German lawyer. In the south of Germany you may contact attorney Bernhard Schmeilzl of the law firm Graf & Partners (++49 175 480 2209). For other parts of Germany we can recommend qualified criminal defence attorneys.

Basic information on law enforcement and criminal prosecution in Germany: The German Criminal Code (in English language) and the Code of Criminal Procedure are available here. German judge Joachimski here compares the practical aspects of US and German criminal procedure and here is a very informative essay on the German criminal procedure produced by the NZ Law Commision (download here: GERMAN CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – german_criminal_procedure)