Legal Areas

General Criminal Law

General criminal law includes the regulations of the German Criminal Code (StGB) within which the individual criminal defence constitutes the core of the defence counsel’s work, starting with the investigation procedure where the prosecutor’s office examines the existence of criminal offences, at least of initial suspicion. Already here, in particular in searches or in orders of summary punishment, defensive measures are urgently required; also after the indictment has been filed, if the competent court examines the accusations made by the public prosecutor’s office. The procedural step most closely linked to criminal law – the main trial – frequently marks the high-profile peak of criminal defence and is particularly challenging.

Law firm Traut also represents clients in incidental actions. As joint plaintiff, the injured party can join the charges brought by the prosecutor’s office and actively participate in the criminal proceeding. The advantages include the right to attend the entire trial, to ask questions and file motions, to obtain information and copies of the files, and to lodge legal remedies if, for example, in the injured party’s opinion the defendant was wrongfully acquitted or if the imposed penalty is too low.

Irrespective thereof, a qualified trial observation can be useful for private individuals or companies, for example for assessing the evidence or for potential recourse proceedings. Law firm Traut provides these legal services from legal advice to implementation.

It is possible that also an uninvolved third party is summoned to interrogation by the police or in court. In his capacity as a witness, a layman does often not know when a question must be answered or when it is permissible to deny testimony, or how to generally behave. In these cases, law firm Traut will provide witness counselling.

Commercial Criminal Law and Tax Criminal Law

Commercial criminal law and tax criminal law are core competencies of law firm Traut.

Tax criminal law includes all criminal offences in violation of legally sanctioned acts relating to tax law, including but not limited to tax fraud and tax evasion. As this field is primarily marked by blanket laws referring to constituent facts or legal consequences of other regulations, cases in this area are highly complex and require precision and in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

In the broadest sense, commercial criminal law comprises all facts relating to commercial criminal law specifically listed in Section 74c Courts Constitution Act (GVG). In addition to the core areas of commercial criminal law, fraud and breach of trust, we also provide legal advice on corruption criminal law, insolvency criminal law, banking criminal law and capital market criminal law.

Apart from defending individuals, we also in particular provide preventive advice in both areas (see Compliance and Internal Investigations). This includes both counselling and representation in the area of voluntary self-disclosure exempting the client from punishment.

Medical Criminal Law

Medical criminal law is becoming increasingly important both in terms of advice and defence.

Medical criminal law comprises the entire health sector. Apart from the potential punishability of medical errors and malpractice, medical criminal law relating to medical practitioners also deals with accusations of fraud according to Section 263 German Criminal Code resulting from invoices issued to health insurance companies and private insurance companies, but also with accusations of taking and giving bribes in the health sector resulting from the insertion of Sections 299a and 299b German Criminal Code, by which the legislator wishes to protect fair competition in the health sector.

In this context, we provide legal advice and representation at every stage of proceedings. In addition to the representation of medical practitioners, we also provide legal services to associations, associations of SHI-accredited physicians and hospitals, but also of manufacturers of medical products.

Employment Criminal Law, Professional Criminal Law, Disciplinary Criminal Law

In the area of employment criminal law, the facts that constitute the subject matter of a case relate to legal regulations governing employment relationships. These facts are not restricted to the regulations of the German Criminal Code, but also relate to employment law, social law and tax law regulations. The complexity of the contexts requires precision in approaching the criminal charges.

Closely related thereto is the professional criminal law governing the professional rights of independent professions such as physicians, lawyers, notaries, tax consultants and auditors. This needs to be distinguished from disciplinary criminal law which pertains to disciplinary offenses of civil servants and is governed by the regulations of the Federal Disciplinary Act. Soldiers are governed by the military disciplinary law provided for in the Military Criminal Code.

Compliance and Internal Investigations

A further focus of the legal services provided by law firm Traut is the preventive criminal law counselling of companies. In compliance and internal investigations, external partners specialising in these areas have become indispensable.

Compliance is the adherence to statutory requirements and corporate policies by the management board, which also includes the preventive establishment of new entrepreneurial standards and requirements. The creation of such compliance structures is not only useful, but necessary, as demonstrated by the increasingly stringent statutory requirements.

Internal investigations are intra-company investigations uncovering suspected cases of criminal offences within the company itself.

Appeal on Law

An appeal on points of law is a legal remedy against a judgment of the trial court and serves to review the decision for errors of law. The appeal on points of law can be based on the violation of substantive law or formal law; all judgments which are not themselves appellate
judgments on points of law, can be reviewed. The assertion of such errors in the area of the proceeding or the application of the law requires profound knowledge of current court rulings as well as of the substantive and procedural legal situation, because successful appeals on points of law are subject to extremely high requirements. Owing to regular representations in appellate proceedings, law firm Traut has many years of experience in this area.

Ombudsman

An ombudsman acts as a neutral arbitrator within organisations. In this capacity, the ombudsman is a neutral and confidential contact for employees, for example for reporting suspected cases or to quickly and non-bureaucratically resolve internal grievances. Marcus Traut has many years of experience as an ombudsman and in this capacity is bound by the lawyer’s obligation of secrecy involving the right not to testify, thus always safeguarding the identity of the disclosing employee.

Environmental Criminal Law

Environmental criminal law includes all criminal law regulations serving to protect the environment, with Sections 324 et seq. German Criminal Code (StGB) being of primary importance. It particularly covers the areas of water protection, soil protection, protection of nature, emission protection, radiation protection and protection against improper handling.

There are numerous regulations, both in the core area of criminal law and in supplementary criminal regulations outside of the Criminal Code, which sanction any water, soil and air pollution. Plant operators are governed by a multitude of regulations and in case of any violations relating to the handling of hazardous waste or the operation of plants without permits have to expect sanctions provided for in regulatory offences law or in criminal offences law. Also, profit skimming measures may also be taken.

Media and Internet Criminal Law

Media and internet criminal law covers all criminal offences committed in the context of using media or the Internet. While some specific factual situations are explicitly codified in the German Criminal Code (StGB), e.g. computer fraud according to Section 262a StGB or the data alteration according to Section 303a StGB, the major part of the criminal acts relates to offences simply committed by means of media or the Internet. Defamatory offences in social media are just one example. As a consequence, the classical offences are shifted to the Internet or media. This also includes the online search performed by the law enforcement authorities which, for example serves to seize email messages. Especially in this area, reviewing the measures taken for lawfulness can be of utmost importance for the outcome of criminal proceedings.