What are the rights and obligations of the suspect in criminal proceedings?

Who has the status of a suspect in criminal proceedings?

Who has the status of a suspect in criminal proceedings?

The suspect is the person against whom a statement of objections has been issued or where a complaint has already been made in connection with the commencement of the interrogation as a suspect.

Until a final judgment has been issued, he is considered innocent! There is no obligation to prove your innocence! The prosecutor must prove his guilt. The effectiveness of applications submitted by a suspect depends, among other things, on meeting deadlines.

The above results from art. 71 § 1, art. 74 § 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP).  

The right to help an interpreter

The right to help an interpreter

Do you know Polish very poorly? Are you a deaf or dumb person? You can take advantage of the free assistance of an interpreter for any criminal proceedings. You have the right to ask for an interpreter.

These rights arise from art. 204 § 1 of the CPC

The right to a lawyer

The right to a lawyer

The advocate can be a lawyer or legal advisor. His services are, as a rule, payable.

Pointing to your lawyer (counsel) is the right of every suspect. This can be done at any stage of the procedure.

However, if the suspect can not afford to hire a lawyer, the court may assign him with the office. To receive a lawyer from office, you must apply to the court – the application form should be in the police station or on the court’s website. The application is submitted together with a completed form for the statement on the family status and sources of subsistence. A public defender is independent of the police and the prosecutor’s office, and must act in the interest of the suspect.

If the prosecutor proves the guilt of the suspect or if the proceedings are conditionally discontinued, the suspect may be charged with the costs of a public defender. You can then submit an application for exemption from court costs (including costs of a public defender).

The legal basis for these rights is: art. 78 § 1 and art. 624 § 1 and art. 627 § 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

Other rights of the suspect  


The suspect has the right to:

  • giving explanations (also in writing), that means that he can speak on all matters related to the charges against him;
  • refusal to provide explanations without giving a reason;
  • refusal to answer individual questions without giving a reason;
  • information on the content of allegations, their supplements and changes;
  • access to the case files and the creation of their copies and copies, also after the preparatory proceedings have been concluded;
  • urgent medical help – if it needs such help, please report it to the police.

The above rights result from art. 175 § 1, art. 176 § 1, art. 313 § 1, art. 314, art. 325a § 2, art. 325g § 2 and art. 156 § 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

In addition, the suspect may submit the following applications:

  • hearing the witness indicated by him,
  • to obtain a document,
  • to include an expert opinion in the proceedings,
  • getting acquainted with the investigation or investigation materials before the end of the proceedings.

The indicated rights result from art. 315 § 1 and art. 325a § 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

The suspect may also complain about the length of the pre-trial proceedings, if it is conducted in his case and lasts too long (the complaint is directed to the prosecutor in charge of the preparatory proceedings, which he then passes it to the district court for consideration).

The above authorization results from art. 2 para. 1 of the Act on Complaint for violation of the right of a party to examine a case in court proceedings without unreasonable delay.

The possibility of voluntary submission to punishment without a court hearing

The possibility of voluntary submission to punishment without a court hearing

The suspect may agree with the prosecutor how to punish. The prosecutor will then apply to the court for a conviction. The court may include such a prosecutor’s request, provided that the aggrieved party does not object.

An application for a conviction of a suspect may also be submitted alone – before notification of the date of the hearing or at the hearing – until the moment of the first hearing of all the accused.

The above rights result from art. 335 § 1 and § 2, art. 343 § 2, art. 338a and 387 § 1, art. 343 § 2, art. 343a § 2 and art. 387 § 2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure

What is the accelerated procedure?

What is the accelerated procedure?

The police are obliged to provide the suspect with a request for the case to be dealt with expeditiously.

In this mode, the suspect will be compelled to court or participate in the proceedings by videoconference. The suspect may only make oral applications and statements to the protocol.

The pleadings that could not be referred to the court can be read at the hearing.

The participation of a counselor and a translator through videoconferencing is considered equivalent to a personal participation.

The request for justification of the judgment may be made orally to the minutes or in writing within 3 days of the delivery of the judgment.

In accelerated proceedings, the suspect may appeal within 7 days from the date of delivery of the judgment along with justification.

These rights arise from the provisions of art. 517b § 2, art. 517e § 1 and 2, art. 517h § 1 and 3 of cpc  

Judicial proceedings

Judicial proceedings

Proceedings in court are the basic way in which the court assesses the case. When the prosecutor referred the case to court, from that moment on the court is the “host” of the proceedings, and the suspect becomes the accused.

Justification of absence

Justification of absence

If the suspect (accused) was called to appear in person, the justification for absence from the sickness is only possible after presenting the certificate issued by the court doctor. A list of court doctors can be found on the website of the competent court, as well as, for example, at police stations and at the headquarters of the district bar council.

A call to appear personally

A call to appear personally

For personal appearance, the suspect (accused) may be summoned in principle in writing, but in urgent cases this may take place by telephone or otherwise.  

Mediation – the possibility of reconciliation with the aggrieved party  

At each stage of the proceedings, the suspect has the right to submit a request to refer the case to mediation proceedings. Such proceedings are aimed at reconciliation with victims and possible reconciliation of compensation for damage.

Mediation proceedings are conducted in an impartial and confidential manner (information disclosed during mediation can not be used as proof). Participation in mediation proceedings is voluntary. Positive results of the conducted mediation are taken into account by the court in the dimension of the sentence.

The indicated rights result from art. 23a of the Code of Criminal Procedure and art. 53 § 3 of the Penal Code

What is the responsibility of the suspect in criminal proceedings?

What is the responsibility of the suspect in criminal proceedings?

He must:

  • undergo body inspections and non-connected examinations in violation of his body,
  • let’s get fingerprints,
  • allow you to photograph and show to other people,
  • submit a cop smear to the cheek mucous, if it is necessary and does not threaten health,
  • to appear at every court summons,
  • provide the correct contact address and inform about each change and inform about any change of other data enabling contact with it, e.g. about changing the phone number or e-mail address. If he fails to do so, the action or trial will be carried out in his absence. Failure to indicate the correct and valid address may also make it impossible to submit an application, complaint or appeal due to expiry of deadlines.

In addition, when the tests are carried out by a health professional, the suspect must agree to: psychological and psychiatric examinations as well as examinations connected with body procedures, which are necessary and not combined with surgery and do not threaten health. The suspect may ask that a person of the same sex perform a physical examination and examination of his body.

When a suspect is abroad, he must indicate the person who will be in the country receiving correspondence related to the case (he is not sent abroad).

The above obligations result from art. 74 § 2, art. 75 § 1 and 2, art. 132 § 1 and 2, art. 133 § 2, art. 138 and art. 139 of cpc

Legal basis:

  • Act of June 6, 1997 – Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP);
  • the Act of June 6, 1997 – Penal Code (Penal Code);
  • Act of 17 June 2004 on complaints about violation of the party’s right to hear the case in court proceedings without undue delay (ie, Journal of Laws of 2016, item 1259, as amended).