Criminal investigation proceedings are a significant intrusion into the everyday life of the defendant. Especially in cases where the investigating authorities impose their severest measure of pre-trial detention, proceedings can have a serious effect on the defendant’s professional and private life. In crises of this kind, we see ourselves responsible for managing not just the proceedings but also private and professional communications on behalf of our clients. This also includes the management of media relations since it plays an increasing role in the prosecution.
A successful defence relies on extensive knowledge of current developments in the law, case law on the relevant provisions as well as the consequent application of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozessordnung).
The number of criminal proceedings relating to narcotics offences is on a constant rise; in addition, due to various legal reforms, the range of punishable offences in this field has also increased in recent years. It is therefore essential in this field to have a strong, strategic defence, capable of uncovering the prosecution authorities’ procedural mistakes and failures to differentiate lawful and unlawful, often covert investigation methods.
Suspects often tend to testify without understanding the full facts of the case so as to secure the benefits of key witness status in accordance with section 31 of the Narcotics Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG). This is something we strongly advise against, as only a quick analysis of the investigation findings and the guidance of an experienced defence counsel can ensure that the statement will not be used against the client further down the line.
The attorneys at Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte do not only have the necessary expert knowledge but also extensive experience in the field, a sharpened forensic focus and the tactical skills required in the defence of narcotics-related crimes.
Juvenile Criminal Law
Juvenile criminal law does not so much focus on the question of an individual’s guilt but educational aspects. Despite this noble aspiration, in recent years the juvenile courts as well as numerous changes to the Youth Court Act (Jugendgerichtsgesetz, JGG) have driven the increasingly harsh treatment of juveniles in criminal proceedings.
Notable among these regrettable developments is the introduction of preventative detention for adolescents, the strengthening of victims’ rights in youth court proceedings and the latest tendency in higher court jurisdiction to set an example and determine punishments based on the young offender’s “level of guilt”.
An additional trend is the increasing application of standards and criteria of adult criminal law to juvenile criminal law. The aims of improvement through education and moderate use of disciplinary measures are increasingly ignored.
A strong and experienced defence with in-depth knowledge of juvenile criminal law and its application in criminal proceedings can ensure that the educational aspects is upheld and used to the adolescent’s (aged 14 to 17) or young adult’s (aged 18 to 20) advantage.
At Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte we are skilled in applying the defence techniques required in cases involving young people and are well-versed in the different forms juvenile criminal proceedings can take, the various sentencing possibilities as well as how best to work with young clients, support their parents or legal guardians and collaborate with youth court services.
Capital crimes encompass all premeditated homicides. Murder carries a life sentence. The sentence can be exacerbated through preventative detention subsequent to imprisonment if the court deems this necessary due to the particular seriousness of the defendant’s guilt.
Against this backdrop, the judgement of a defendant’s criminal responsibility is of great significance in proceedings. Cases of this kind therefore require a strategy that brings to the court’s and prosecutor’s attention provisions of the criminal code as well as case law beneficial to the client in order to positively affect their sentencing.
Often, a skilled defence can ensure that a case prosecuted as attempted murder is ultimately recognised as causing bodily harm, thereby achieving a suspended sentence.
Outcomes of this kind require not only excellent specialist legal knowledge but also experience in the sciences of psychology, psychiatry, criminology and forensics.
The attorneys at Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte do not only possess the legal knowledge required in this field based on years of experience and continuous training, but also the skills necessary in dealing with the media, whose considerable influence on proceedings of this kind must not be underestimated.
Proceedings involving sexual offences are highly sensitive and have the potential to attract considerable public and media attention. Often a conviction for rape or child abuse is dependent on the statement of a single witness. In addition, the press often only too willingly and quickly labels the defendant as guilty perpetrator. Even an acquittal or the termination of proceedings at times cannot save the defendant from the life-long sentence of being branded a “sex offender”.
In addition, the defendant is often at risk of losing their employment as well as their social life. Despite this, false accusations are unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence, particularly when children are used as pawns in custody battles, revenge is taken on an ex-partner or an affair needs to be explained.
These reasons outline why it is vital that a suspect seeks the advice of an experienced defence counsel already in the early stages of police investigations. At Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte we have the experience and the professional training required to successfully deal with cases of this kind as well as the media scrutiny they can attract and are able to manage and keep the damages proceedings of this kind can cause the individual to a minimum.
Road Traffic Offences
Anyone can quickly find themselves having to answer to accusations relating to traffic offences. Traffic offences typically include endangering road traffic, driving under the influence of alcohol or substances, the dangerous interference in road traffic or hit and run. In the wider sense, road traffic offences can also comprise crimes such as insurance fraud, failure to render assistance, insult, coercion or involuntary manslaughter.
In the case of a conviction, these offences are punishable by fine or prison sentence as well as the enforcement of a driving bans, a medical psychological examination or the entry of penalty points in the Register of Driver Fitness.
Due to our years of experience, at Ufer Knauer Rechtsanwälte we have the skills and knowledge to highlight potential risks and provide the right strategy to facilitate the rapid termination of proceedings.