Defendants (criminal proceedings)


Autor treści:

Can I appeal against the court judgment?

You can appeal against the court judgment. You can challenge the conclusion that you were involved in the crime, the verdict about your guilt, the description of the crime, or the severity of the sentence.

If you are convicted or the case against you has been dismissed, you have the right to file an appeal against a judgment which has not yet come into effect on any basis. If you are acquitted, you may file an appeal against the reasons for the acquittal.

Who will hear my appeal?

An appeal will be heard by a regional court or the Lithuanian Court of Appeal. If the judgment in the case was passed by a district court, the appeal will be heard by a regional court. If the first judgment was passed by a regional court, your appeal will be heard by the Lithuanian Court of Appeal.

When do I have to file my appeal? Who to?

You have to file your appeal within 20 days from the day when the court announced the judgment. You have to file your appeal with the court that passed the judgment, and from there, it will be sent to the court of appeal.

In your appeal, you have to specify the name of the court of appeal, the case which you are appealing, the part of the judgment you are appealing against, the reasons for the appeal, and your requests.

What are the possible consequences of the appeal?

If you file an appeal, you will not have to start serving the sentence unless you yourself state in writing that you are willing to do so.

In order to ensure that you participate in the appeal proceedings, the court may order your arrest. If the court has ordered your arrest, you can file your appeal from the detention centre.

The appeal hearing will be set by the court of first instance after it receives all the relevant petitions and answers to them.

You may produce any additional material or additional evidence to the court of appeal.

How is an appeal heard?

Your case at the court of appeal will be heard by a panel of three judges.

In the court of appeal the case will be reviewed on the basis of the requests which are made in the petition for appeal. It will only be reviewed in relation to the people who filed the appeal or because of whom the appeal was filed. In some circumstances, the court can disregard this rule and expand the limits of review. However, the court of appeal can only impose a more severe penalty on you or the other people involved if the prosecutor, victim or certain other people ask for that to happen.

The hearing will generally be in public. But a trial may also be in private if the accused person is a minor, if the case is related to sexual offences, if it is important that information about the private life of the participants should not be made public, or it is necessary to protect a State, professional or commercial secret. The court must decide that the hearing will be in private.

During the hearing, the court will present all the information relating to the appeal. You will be allowed to submit requests or ask for officials to be removed from the proceedings. If necessary, the court of appeal may examine the evidence. The court may decide to do this or you, or other participants in the procedure, can ask the court to do this.

At the end of the process, the concluding arguments will be heard. After the arguments, you will be able to make your final statement.

What can a court of appeal instance decide?

After hearing a case, the court may pass a judgment or a ruling.

In its judgement, the court of appeal may decide:

  • to overturn your judgement of conviction and dismiss the case;
  • to change your sentence;
  • to overturn the judgement of the court of first instance by passing a new one.

There may be several kinds of rulings as well:

  • to reject your petition for appeal;
  • to overturn the judgement and dismiss the case against you;
  • to change your sentence;
  • to overturn the judgement and return the case to the court of first instance for re-trial;
  • to overturn the judgement and return the case to the prosecutor.

What will happen after the decision of the court of appeal?

If you have filed an appeal, the court judgment becomes effective from the day when the decision of the court of appeal is passed irrespective of whether your appeal is successful or not. The fact that the judgment becomes effective means that it will be presented for execution and executed.

Can I challenge the judgment of the court of appeal?

You may challenge the judgment of the appeal court under the procedure of cassation before the Supreme Court of Lithuania. At this stage, you can only challenge the judgment in respect of the issues which were considered before the court of appeal.

You can only appeal to the Supreme Court if the criminal law was not applied in the right way, or where there were essential violations of procedural laws.

A ruling passed by the Supreme Court of Lithuania is final. In certain cases, however, the Supreme Court may adopt a ruling to send your case back to the court of first instance for re-trial, or to hear the case again before the court of appeal.

If my appeal is successful, will a record be kept of my conviction?

If you are acquitted, you will not be considered as having a criminal record. In Lithuania, a person is considered as having a criminal record only if a judgment of their conviction made by a court of the Republic of Lithuania has become effective.

Will I get compensation for damage suffered because of a wrong decision?

If the conviction was unlawful, or you were detained or otherwise treated unlawfully, the State will compensate you. However, it is not automatically the case that you are entitled to compensation if your conviction has been overturned – the decisions taken and/or the conviction must have been unlawful. In order to get compensation, you will have to submit a claim within the civil procedure.

If I am from another State, can I be sent back there after the trial?

You may be transferred to another Member State to serve your sentence if that State has signed the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.

You will not be transferred automatically. You may submit a request to serve the remaining term of your sentence in another Member State, or the Lithuanian authorities or the other State may also make the request. You may ask to be transferred at any time during your sentence.

You may only be transferred to a State of which you are a citizen. The judgment passed against you has to be final, and there have to be at least six months left until the end of your sentence. The offence you have been punished for has also to be prohibited in the receiving Member State.

You can only be transferred if you, the Republic of Lithuania, and the receiving Member State agree. Your agreement is not necessary if the court orders you to be expelled from the State.

What information about my conviction will be added to my criminal record?

In Lithuania, a person is considered as having previous conviction if a judgement of conviction passed by a court of the Republic of Lithuania has become effective. If you have been acquitted, you will not be considered to have previous conviction.

Information about your previous conviction will be held at the Department of Information and Communication under the Ministry of Internal Affairs. How long previous convictions remain effective depends on the seriousness of the crime. If the sentence has been suspended, the previous conviction is effective only for the period of suspension. If you have been convicted of offences of negligence, the previous conviction will be effective only while you are serving the sentence. The longest period for a previous conviction to be effective is 10 years after the sentence has been served.

Information about your previous convictions can be held without your consent.

Information about your criminal record will be held even after the period of validity of previous conviction has expired. Such information may not have any effect on your legal status, but it might be taken into consideration as a character reference if you are a suspect or accused in the future.

Related links

Code of Criminal Procedure (in Lithuanian)

Last update: 07/04/2023

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