Your rights and the criminal procedure
What happens when a crime is reported to the police?
The police will register your report and decide whether to launch a pre-trial investigation. You will be informed on the decision by mail. If an investigation is launched, you will be recognized as the victim by the investigator or the prosecutor. During the investigation, you may be once again invited to talk about what happened. The investigator will question the witnesses and the suspect, as well as investigate the crime scene. The purpose of the investigator is to determine as many details as possible of the circumstances of the event and gather evidence supporting them. At the end of the investigation, collected material is transferred to the prosecutor, who then decides whether to refer the case to court.
If the prosecutor decides that there is enough evidence, he shall refer the case to court. The judge appoints the time of the court hearing and invites the victim and his representative, the defendant and his defender, and the witnesses to the hearing. During the hearing, the court listens to the testimonies of the accused person and the victim, as well as the witnesses. After examining the case, the court shall make a decision – whether to find the accused person guilty or to acquit him.
If the accused, the victim or the prosecutor do not agree with the decision of the court, such a decision may be appealed against. Such an appeal will be examined by a higher court who can re-evaluate the circumstances of the case. Decision of the higher court may, once again, be appealed against to the Supreme Court of Lithuania. The decision of this court is final and cannot be appealed against.
I am a victim of crime – what are my rights?
Every person who became a victim of crime acquires certain rights. A list of the main rights of victims is provided below. Some of these rights may not be applied to all victims, for example, the right to translation. Victims may use their rights during the entire criminal procedure – when making a report to the police, during the pre-trial investigation and when the case is examined in court.
You shall have the right to:
When reporting a crime, you shall have the right to receive information on the criminal process, your role in it, and your rights.
If a pre-trial investigation was launched due to your complaint, you shall have the right to receive information on the stages of the criminal investigation. For this reason, a police investigator will provide you with all the necessary contact details.
You shall have the right to apply to court to receive compensation from the person who committed the crime for the losses that you have suffered during the crime. A claim for the compensation of losses is provided in the criminal case or by applying to court separately, according to the civil procedures. If you are a victim of a violent crime, you shall have the right to seek compensation for damages caused by the violent crime out of court.
You shall have the right to receive a state-funded lawyer when going to court to seek compensation for damages caused by the crime. If your income and level of assets is low, you shall have the right to request for a lawyer funded by the state, who would represent you during the entire criminal procedure.
If you are a victim of crime, you shall have the right to receive free psychological, consultative, social and other practical support. This support must also be provided to you free of charge in cases when the crime was not reported to the police.
If there is a risk that the offender of the crime may make you a target of revenge and intimidation, or you may be otherwise affected by him, you shall have the right to receive protection provided by law.
If you do not speak the national language, you shall have the right to receive translation to your native language or to another language that you understand well. Interpretation services shall be provided for you when communicating with officers or in court. You will also receive the written translations of all the most important procedural documents served to you.
This person can be anyone whom you trust – a friend, your mother, father, or a specialized support centre employee. He/she shall have the right to be with you when you report a crime and when you are questioned. The investigator or prosecutor may not allow the accompanying person to participate if his/her participation could be detrimental to your interests or the interests of the case, for example, when the person is interested in a certain outcome of the case.
Your personal data collected during the investigation, such as your address, telephone number, and the contact details of people close to you, cannot be provided or disclosed to the suspect.
You shall have the right to appeal against the decisions of the investigator, the prosecutor or the judge, for example, decision to not question your witness or decision to prevent you from accessing the pre-trial investigation material.
You shall have the right to receive a compensation for losses incurred during the participation process. You may receive compensation for transportation, accommodation and other costs related to your participation in questioning or court hearings.