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Rights of the suspect and the accused

A person suspected or accused of an offense in Thailand has certain rights. Knowing these rights may help in the event of a difficult situation.

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Rights of the suspect and the accused in Thailand

Rights of the suspect

A suspected offender taken into custody or detained has the right to notify the person of their choice or to request that the person of their choice be advised of the arrest and place of custody at the first opportunity. In addition, the suspect has the right:

  • to meet and consult with counsel in private;
  • to have an attorney or trusted person questioned at the investigative stage;
  • to receive reasonable visits from or contact with relatives;
  • to obtain prompt medical attention if ill; and
  • to refuse to provide a statement. (If a message is made, it can be used as evidence in court.)

A foreigner accused or suspected of an offense must be checked to see whether the grounds for entry are legitimate and whether the permission to stay in Thailand remains valid. If the foreigner has entered the country legally, the residence permit has not expired, and the offense for which the person is detained is not passport-related, the police have no right to withhold the passport. The police have no right to withhold the passport.

Rights of the accused (defendant)

From the moment the prosecutor applies to the court to initiate criminal proceedings against the defendant, the defendant has the following rights:

  • the right to a speedy and fair hearing;
  • hire an attorney during the preliminary investigation or trial in the trial court, court of appeals, or Supreme Court;
  • consult with a lawyer privately;
  • see evidence and make copies or photographs of evidence presented;
  • acquaint themselves with the records of the preliminary investigation or trial and make copies or request certified copies of the records upon payment of a fee; and
  • familiarize themselves and obtain a copy of their testimony in the investigation and any documents supplementing it.

If the defendant has an attorney, the attorney may act on behalf of the defendant in the case. The law requires the investigation, preliminary hearing, and trial to be conducted in Thai. The investigator, prosecutor, or court shall immediately provide an interpreter if interpretation is necessary. If the defendant has a lawyer, they may act on behalf of the defendant.

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Update: 12-02-2023
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