Legal advice, Cases of serious criminal offenses

lawyer of the European Court of Justice

Do you know what crimes are considered "serious crimes"? What kind of sanctions are imposed on these crimes? Are the same sanctions imposed on crimes considered to be "serious" all over the world?

It is considered that a crime is serious when the sanction imposed is greater than 5 years of deprivation of liberty.

In all countries, the same crimes are not considered as "serious", but as a general rule, they do all consider as serious crimes: terrorism, intentional homicide, kidnapping, rape, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and crimes that threaten the national security of the country in which the offense is committed.

Each country determines the seriousness of the crime in accordance with its laws and abiding by these laws, the country also imposes its sanctions.

For example, in countries such as China, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, drug trafficking is a serious crime whose sanction may be the death penalty. In others such as Nigeria, Turkey and South Africa, this same crime can be punished with a deprivation of liberty of 15 to 25 years.

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There are countries of the Muslim religion, such as Nigeria, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq, where adultery or homosexuality are considered serious crimes and can be punished with the death penalty.

In Colombia, for example, the act of stealing is severely punished, even imposing sanctions of up to 10 years of imprisonment for stealing a bicycle.

While nowadays in Mexico, there is a list of crimes that have stopped to be considered as serious crimes and among which are: firearms ownership (that are not linked to organized crime), damage to property, forced entry, animal abuse, crimes against the environment, sexual harassment, domestic violence, discrimination and threats.

Do you know what your rights are if you are accused of a criminal offense qualified as "serious"?

Well, the first thing you should know is the cause that you are being charged with. As a general rule, after the police have an arrest warrant against you, and you are arrested, you will first be made aware of your rights and you must be informed of the cause that they accuse you of.

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From this moment on, you will have the right to be represented by a lawyer, who will legally advise you throughout the process, in case it is determined that there is probable cause to consider that the crime was committed.

You will have the right not to self-incriminate and not to answer the questions that are asked and that you think may be used against you.

It is important that you bear in mind that as an accused you must be considered innocent until proven otherwise. You do not have to prove that the crime was not committed, the main role of your lawyer, in any case, will be to refute to the district attorney´s office the evidence presented against you.

It will be the function of the district attorney´s office, to prove that the crime was committed and that the accused person is responsible for it.

Once the probable cause of the crime is determined, a date will be marked for the trial, which by constitutional right, must be conducted before a jury. This jury will be responsible for determining the guilt or innocence of the accused, based on the evidence presented by the district attorney´s office and the defense made by the criminal lawyer in charge of representing the accused.

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Can any criminal lawyer handle the defense of a serious criminal offense?

A criminal lawyer can take on the defense of a criminal offense of low or medium level, but we recommend that if you are accused of a serious criminal offense, look for defense lawyers that have experience in these matters.

The best criminal lawyers, on many occasions have previously worked for the district attorney´s office, they perfectly know the procedures, they have spent many hours in court with this kind of cases, they have important contacts that can be very useful to refute the evidence presented against you, or to look for people who can testify in your favor. They are the most suitable people to give you the best advice for your case: either for you to declare innocent or to try to find the best deals with the district attorney´s office and to reduce to the minimum the penalty in demand.

Our recommendation is that in addition to counting with an experienced lawyer, there is a relationship based on trust and collaboration between you and your lawyer, for he will be the person in charge of making your rights be respected throughout the legal process to which you will be submitted.


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