If the police started pre-trial investigation because of violence, you might need legal advice. The legal counsellor you have chosen will help you so you could take a fully fledged part in criminal proceedings, will explain you your rights and will defend your rights as the rights of a victim. You might also need legal advice in the case of an ongoing divorce.
You will find the list of practising defence lawyers on the website of the Lithuanian Bar association. When you choose a legal counsellor, find out, whether he/ she has experience with similar cases and whether they can provide you with the recommendation of their former clients. Ask, what is the procedure of payment for services and whether there will be additional costs involved, what is the overall fee. Also, asses how you feel while communicating with the legal counsellor.
Free legal advice
If your income or assets are not sufficient, you might be entitled to free or partially reimbursed legal advice. This aid consists of a defence lawyer services – document drafting, your representation in the pre-trial investigation and the court.
The calculator provided by the State-Guaranteed Legal Aid Service will help you to calculate whether you are entitled to a free legal aid with regard to the level of income and assets owned.
When submitting the application for legal aid, you might indicate the legal counsellor you wish to be represented by. The Service when considering your application, will take this into account if there are no objective obstacles, for example, the too big a workload of the desired legal counsellor, and will assign him/ her to you.
You might also ask to be assigned a legal counsellor that is not on the list of the legal counsellors providing state aid. In such a case, you will have to submit the written consent of the legal counsellor to represent you in the case together with the application for state aid.
Legal aid on the compensation for damages
It is important to know that the victims of violence have a right to address the court for the remuneration for damages. This can be done in two ways – as a way of a claim in criminal proceedings when the case of violence is under investigation, or once the court has finished dealing with the case, you might file a civil claim.
A Specialised help centre lawyer or a defence counsellor will be able to provide you with a more detailed information on the remuneration for damages. Legal aid in cases for the remuneration for damages is free of charge to all victims, irrespective of their income or owned property level. In such a case when applying for the legal aid to the State-Guaranteed legal aid service, attach an order of the official or the prosecutor where you are recognised as a victim.
Further information on how to submit an application and the application forms are on the State Guaranteed Legal Aid Service website.
Right to protection
Under the legislation if you became a victim of your partner’s violence you have a right to protection.
The court might order the perpetrator to move out from the property you live together. This order might be applied also in cases when he/ she is the owner of the property.
The court might also order the perpetrator not to approach you, not to communicate or not to look for contacts with you. This protection measure would be applied to you and your children as the perpetrator might try to contact you via children, for example, passing on the messages. If the court applies this order with regard to the perpetrator, he/ she cannot call you, text you by phone or internet, approach you physically, for example, come to your house or work.
The protection might be granted before the police starts the pre-trial investigation if the police establishes that you are under threat of a repeat violence.
You might ask for protection yourself if you fear that the perpetrator might revenge, threaten or use repeat violence. In such a case, submit a written application to the officer who come to the scene of the crime. Such an application might be submitted to the police custody where you report about violence.
Indicate in the application that you do not feel safe and fear for further actions of the perpetrator, therefore you would wish that the court applies protection measure for you. The police officer will go to the court with this application within 24 hours with the request to grant protection measure for you.
Your rights during criminal proceedings
Domestic violence is a crime. Once you report to the police about violence, the police will launch the pre-trial investigation. During the investigation the officers will establish all the important circumstances of the case. Later on, these circumstances will be assessed by the court.
During the pre-trial investigation and the court proceedings, you will have a victim status. The police investigator and the prosecutor will grant the victim status by passing on the decision.