Rechtsanwalt Dr. Burmeister

Strafverteidiger & Rechtsanwalt in Strafrecht, Migrationsrecht & Mietrecht. Berlin: +49 177 464 8220

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Public Defender Berlin

I am happy to represent you in court as a public defender. In this case, the state will cover the majority of the statutory legal fees. A public defender is an important option for you, if you do not have enough money to pay for a defence lawyer independently.

Public defence in Berlin and throughout Germany

If you have the right to a public defender (see below), then you also have the right to choose that public defender yourself. You should make use of this right, but you do not have long to decide! It may be the case that the state assigns you a lawyer that you do not know or like. So it’s best to make arrangements straight away and call me!

  • Have you been accused of a criminal offence?
  • Have you received a letter from the police or the public prosecution department?
  • Have you been charged or even arrested?
  • Have you already received a time limit in which you must give the name of your legal representative?

The right to a public defender

You only have the right to a public defender (legal aid) under certain circumstances. These are set out in the criminal procedure code § 140 and are designated as being cases of necessary defence.

In the following situations, you have the right to a public defender:

You have been suspected of a crime

A crime is a serious offence (robbery, drug dealing, homicide etc.) that incurs a minimum sentence of a year. If you are being investigated in relation to a crime or you have already been charged, then generally speaking you have the right to choose a public defender.

You have been taken into custody

If you are ever taken into custody or temporarily put into a psychiatric institution, you have the right to a public defender.

The severity of the crime or the complexity of the legal situation

If you face a year or more in jail, then generally speaking you have to right to a public defender. This depends on whether you have prior convictions.

If your probation has been denied, you are entitled to a public defender.

Equally, if your case is particularly complicated in legal terms, you may have the right to a public defender.

Other cases where legal aid or the right to a public defence may apply:

  • A main hearing before the district or Higher Regional Court. In the case of very serious criminal charges (such as murder, manslaughter, terrorism etc.), you will always have the right to a public defender.
  • Employment ban. If criminal proceedings ban you from carrying out your profession, you are entitled to a public defender.
  • Extended jail time. If a court order has been issued, leading you to spend at least three months in jail, you will be given access to a public defender for any criminal proceedings that follow. This is especially relevant in the case of extradition custody, penal incarceration or other forms of custody.
  • Psychiatric evaluation by medical professionals. You are entitled to a public defender, if you have been brought to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
  • Insanity defence. If you have been committed to a psychiatric institution following a crime for which you were not deemed responsible due to the insanity defence, you are entitled to a public defender.
  • You are the victim of a serious offence. Even as the victim of a serious criminal offence, you have the right to legal aid and a state-financed lawyer to represent you as a joint plaintiff or victim.