Criminal Law and Criminal Defence

The initiation of criminal proceedings represents a serious intervention in the lives of those affected, comparable to a serious illness, and regardless as to whether the accused is rightly or mistakenly suspected. Even those who ? for whatever reason ? have become delinquent also need committed, capable and competent assistance, which puts the state punishment apparatus within the limits imposed both by law and constitution. This is, of course, even more so for those wrongly accused of criminal acts.

Detailed, exact and wide-ranging knowledge of the applicable law is a fundamental prerequisite for the criminal defence lawyer to be able to effectively represent clients. However, successful criminal defence requires a wealth of expertise: first and foremost, the ability to listen, understand and support the client’s circumstances.

In addition, we have extensive experience, capability and knowledge in all branches of criminal law as well as the so-called auxiliary sciences, e.g. forensics or forensic medicine which is fundamentally important too, as is the ability to quickly familiarise oneself with complicated situations and also the capacity to communicate with all parties involved in the process effectively. Criminal proceedings are not merely the application of the law. Outcomes depend quite decisively upon how the participants communicate with each other.

Defence in Emergencies

Defence already begins with advising clients prior to the commencement of preliminary proceedings, be it when informing them of the limits of permissible activities (e.g. in the case of entrepreneurial projects), be it in the formulation of tax declarations. Moreover, the prevention of investigative proceedings, which may result from the escalation of disputes between persons or companies through mutual criminal charges, belongs in this context.

Defence and the Police

Those accused often discover that an investigation has been initiated when confronted with intrusive measures: searching of their home and/or business premises, seizing of their accounts or ? in the worst case ? issuing of an arrest warrant. Swift and effective action is required here in order to keep interference with the client's freedom to a minimum or, where possible, to prevent such interference. Here too, we draw upon our long years of experience, because in this situation it is not only knowledge of the legal issues that is required. Crucially, it is necessary to have the specific competence to actively assist the client in an extremely stressful position in order to avert hasty reactions such as premature, unguided and imprudent statements, and also to implement the requisite practical measures vis-à-vis investigating authorities and courts. 

Defence and the Media

In prominent cases, it is often necessary to deal with reporting on the procedural and the investigative measures taken. This often results in considerable damage to those affected, which, if not immediately managed, can no longer be made good even if the proceedings are discontinued or an acquittal is granted.

Avoidance of Main Court Proceedings

In most instances, defence efforts are aimed at avoiding prosecution. In the best case scenario, the aim is to terminate proceedings due to lack of suspicion. If this is not successful, an attempt can also be made to obtain a conditional cessation of proceedings (through reimbursement, monetary payment or community service). Further, there is also the possibility of negotiating a penalty order. If no objection is lodged, it is equivalent to a conviction. However, there is no main hearing, which can often be avoided in the interests of the client.

Defence after Indictment

If charges are brought, procedural law opens up the possibility of preventing them from being admitted to the main hearing. In so-called interim proceedings, the defence can try to prevent the court from admitting the prosecution through detailed examination of the results of the investigation. Even at this stage, it is still possible in certain cases to achieve a cessation. Proceedings may also be limited to individual allegations.

Defence at Trial

If the main hearing cannot be avoided, it is essential to conduct the conflict in a result-driven manner. This means neither to seek conflict for the sake of conflict itself, nor to avoid it where the client's interests must be vigorously enforced. The taking of evidence, in particular the questioning of witnesses and experts and also the submission of own evidence requests all requires a very skilled defence and this is precisely where we benefit from our far-reaching experience.

Defence in Judicial Review - Appeals (Revision)

Where a judgment is to be challenged by means of appeal, particular knowledge of this highly formalised legal domain is required. District court judgments can only be challenged through the appeals process, which is specifically limited to the review of legal errors. We are very much acquainted with this special focus and have also published on issues of appeal law in criminal matters.

Representation of Persons Injured by Criminal Offences (Accessory Private Prosecution and Restitution)

We do not limit ourselves to the activities of the defendant during criminal proceedings, but also represent the side action. It is the legitimate interest of a person injured by an offence to exert influence on the criminal trial, which leads to clarification and, if necessary, punishment of the offence. In doing so, material interests of reparation can also be pursued by raising the so-called claim for restitution. In particular, it is the knowledge of both perspectives of criminal proceedings ? those of the accused and those of the alleged victim ? that enables optimum representation of such interests.

The enforcement of interests under civil law, e.g. for damages resulting from violations of the law, can also be accompanied and enforced by criminal charges. We have a great deal of practical understanding in the supervision of these procedurals, which also requires effective communicative interaction with the investigating authorities.

Legal Policy Activities

We do not only apply the applicable law, but also aim to improve it in the interests of protecting civil liberties. This is done through our engaging in a wide range of publications and also through our continual proactive involvement in both legal and professional organisations.

Lawyers Mr Eisenberg and Prof. Dr. König were board members of the Berlin Bar Association for several years. In addition, the latter has served as chair of the Berlin Criminal Defence Association. Likewise, he was chair of the German Bar Association’s Criminal Law Committee for more than a decade. Furthermore, he is also a member of both its Human Rights and Security Rights Committees. Finally, in his capacity as an expert for internal and legal committees of various German state parliaments ? as well as the Bundestag ? he has been involved in the crafting of legislation.