Understanding Austria’s Criminal Justice System

A Brief Overview of Austria’s Criminal Justice System

Austria’s criminal justice system is based on the code of law and the rule of law. The constitution of Austria incorporates the human rights and civil liberties of its citizens, ensuring that anyone charged with a crime is given a fair and impartial trial. The judiciary is independent and separate from the legislative and executive branches of government. The system works through the trial of an accused individual by a judge and two jurors.

Understanding Austria's Criminal Justice System 2

The Role of Judges in Austria’s Criminal Justice System

Judges play a crucial role in Austria’s criminal justice system. They are responsible for the trial of the accused individual, ensuring that the trial is unbiased and fair. Once the evidence has been presented, the judge and jurors are rested with the responsibility of making a ruling on the outcome of the trial. In Austria, the judge directs the proceedings and decides whether the trial will be held behind closed doors.

Legal Counsel in Austria

In Austria, every individual charged with a crime is provided legal counsel if he/she cannot afford one. Legal counsel is responsible for presenting the case of the accused to the court, and he/she works closely with the judge and prosecutors to ensure that the accused is given a fair and impartial trial. In Austria, prosecutors are publicly appointed officials who are responsible for presenting evidence of the crime committed by the accused.

Penalties for Criminal Offences in Austria

The penalties for criminal offences in Austria vary depending on the severity of the crime committed. The maximum prison sentence is 20 years for serious crimes such as murder, terrorism or organised crime. Lesser crimes of a non-violent nature, such as theft or drug use, may result in a suspended sentence or community service.

Expungement of Criminal Records in Austria

In Austria, individuals who have been convicted of a crime and received a prison sentence of less than three years may apply for the expungement of their criminal record after 5 years since the completion of the sentence. If an individual has received a prison sentence exceeding three years, the expungement of the criminal record is not possible.

Criticism of Austria’s Criminal Justice System

Austria’s criminal justice system has been the subject of criticism regarding cases involving racial and social discrimination. There have been several instances where people with an immigrant background have been subject to different rules, reduced rights and have received harsher sentences. Additionally, some criticism has been levied towards Austria’s drug policy, such as the criminalisation of drug use which has resulted in overcrowding of prisons.


Austria’s criminal justice system is based on the rule of law, the right to a fair trial and the independence of the judiciary. Judges play a crucial role in ensuring that the accused is given an impartial trial, and legal counsel is provided to those who cannot afford private representation. Despite criticism, Austria’s criminal justice system is committed to ensuring that justice is served in a fair and lawful manner, upholding the rights of its citizens. Eager to know more about the subject? We have you covered! Rechtsanwalt Wels, check out the external source for additional insights and new viewpoints.

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