Criminal Law

At Lawyer in Panama, we understand what it is like to be facing a charge or allegation. If you are in this position, you need the very best legal defense team to safeguard your freedom and your future and to provide the support you need throughout. Also, we are of the opinion that it is very important for you to understand the law and the possible outcomes of your case. For your convenience, we have available a digital version of the Panamanian Criminal Code, both in the English and Spanish languages.

We are committed to fully explain victims, suspects or defendants every stage of the Criminal Justice System in Panama.

Whether you are under suspicion or are facing prosecution, Lawyer in Panama can help you by providing the highest quality service that you will expect.  We represent clients across Panama who need our legal help in Panamanian courts.

The Criminal Justice System of Panama has three main stages:

  • Investigation Stage: A criminal investigation is started by the initiative of the authorities or due to a statement given by a victim. In said statement, the victim states that someone has committed a crime. The suspect is brought before a Judge and during the proceeding the Judge will decide whether the suspect should be placed in custody or be released under certain conditions until the case is over. During this proceeding, the public prosecutor informs the suspect that he/she will be investigated for alleged criminal conduct. At this point, the suspect becomes a defendant.
  • Intermediate Stage: If the public prosecutor has a strong case against the defendant, said prosecutor files a criminal accusation against the defendant.
  • Oral Trial Stage: This is when the trial begins, and the defendant can opt to have either a jury or a panel of judges decide the case.

Plea agreements are available in the Criminal Justice System of Panama.

Rights of victims of crime in Panama

  1. The right to receive medical, psychological and other type of assistance as established by law.
  2. The right not to be excluded from proceedings and the right to understand their contents;
  3. The right to speak at criminal justice proceedings, and the right to protection;
  4. The right to be informed of the course of the proceedings;
  5. The right to intervene in the proceedings without risk;
  6. The right to seek protection for himself and his family;
  7. The right to restitution;
  8. The right to receive free legal assistance from the State if he cannot afford a lawyer.

Victims of crime can also hire private lawyers.

What are the rights of a defendant in Panama?

  • To be assisted by a defense attorney. If he cannot afford one, the State will provide him with a free attorney through a Public Defender´s Office.
  • To be informed, in a clear manner, of the charges against him, the existing evidence against him and the legal provisions that are applicable to him.
  • To know the identity of the one who made the arrest, the authority which ordered it and that will be responsible for him.
  • To communicate immediately with a person of his choice and his attorney to inform them of his arrest and to be provided with means for exercising his rights.
  • Not to incriminate himself, remain silent, not be subjected to mistreatment, or pressure for him to renounce this right, or be subjected to methods or techniques that change your will.
  • Not be presented to the media or community in a way that damages his reputation, and
  • To meet with his defense attorney confidentially.