What to do If you have been arrested in Italy

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Fighting Criminal Charges in Italy

Been Arrested in Italy for a Criminal Charge?

If you’ve been arrested in Italy on suspicion of having committed a criminal act then it is vital that you contact us right away.

If someone (an alleged victim) has filed a complaint against you with the police (“denuncia”) and if an official police report (“notizia di reato”) has already been filed to the public prosecutor’s office by the Italian Judicial Police (Polizia Giudiziaria) then you will require an expert Criminal lawyer to defend you.

If you have been officially charged (meaning that your case has been filed and is in the archives according to Article 405 Codice di Procedura Penale (Code of Criminal Procedure) then you will be facing a trial in the Italian Criminal Courts.

Criminal trials do not require you to be present in order to be tried and, if present, you are not required to speak but you can have your Criminal Defense attorney to represent you.

Criminal trials have a long lifespan, taking many years to complete.  The initial stage (the trial in the lower courts or First Instance courts) can take three or more years while an appeal (Second Instance or “Corte d’ Appello”) can take two years.  If the case is heard in the Supreme Court (“Corte Suprema di Cassazione”) then that can take more than one year in addition.  It is also required that the attorney representing you is authorized to represent you in the Supreme Court, meaning that he must be an attorney with the legal authorization to enter the Supreme Court (“cassazionista”).

Will I be held in Jail?

According to the Italian law, if the crime is of a sufficiently serious degree then you can be held either in prison or under “house arrest” with a tracking device and police monitoring.  Your passport will most assuredly be confiscated.  Articles 272 and 274 of the Code of Criminal Procedure outline a variety of measures that they can take which can severely limit or remove your freedoms altogether.

As has been made popular by the media and subsequent film and documentaries, American student Amanda Knox was held in prison for four years in Italy following her conviction on charges of murdering her flat-mate.  Eventually she won in the Supreme Court and was finally released with all charges being dropped.


More recently we have seen where even an American CIA agent has lost an extradition case and is waiting to be extradited to Italy to serve time in jail for which she was convicted while not having even been in the court (“in absentia”).  She has since received a commutation of her sentence.

Although your home State can assist via diplomatic channels it is not always guaranteed that they will.  This is yet another reason why it is vital to seek representation immediately and why the attorney or law firm which represents you speaks English, can represent you in all stages (1st Instance, Appeal and Supreme Court) and has the experience with building a strong defense, familiarity with the staff of the court, the prosecutors and the judges, and has experience and a track record of successful wins in litigating cases before the court.

Contact Mike today to speak about your defense during a free consultation.  Call +39 06 45478189 or email Mike with the best time and phone number at which to contact you.


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