Warrant of Arrest

Criminal Procedure in Thailand

What is arrest?

Arrest is the taking into custody of a person who is probably guilty of committing a felony.

When is a warrant of arrest issued?

A warrant of arrest is issued against a person when the authorities have reason to believe that:

  • A person has committed a crime which is punishable by 3 or more years imprisonment;
  • A person has committed a crime and is evading arrest;
  • A person may cause danger to the public as a result of a crime;
  • A person who has been summoned does not appear and does not have a permanent address

The police may use some reasonable force when doing an arrest. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances of the case.

Information Included in an Arrest Warrant

Only a judge may issue a warrant of arrest in Thailand. It must be signed and sealed by the judge, and must contain the following information:

  • The date when the warrant is issued;
  • The court address from where the warrant was issued;
  • The ground/s for the issuance of the warrant;
  • The name of the person to be arrested. If the name of the arrestee is unknown, he must be described with reasonable certainty so as to properly identify the proper arrestee.

When Warrantless Arrest Valid

There are instances when an arrest warrant need not be procured by the arresting officers before an arrest can be effected. These are:

  • When the crime is committed in the presence of the arresting officer;
  • When a crime has just been committed and there is reason to be believe that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing it;
  • When the person to be arrested is a fugitive.

The Rights of an Arrestee

An arrestee must enjoy the following rights from the moment he is arrested by the authorities:

  • He must receive explanation on why he is being arrested;
  • He must be shown a copy of the warrant, if available;
  • He has the right to remain silent;
  • He must be told that if he makes any statement, the statement may be used against as evidence against him;
  • He has the right to an independent and competent counsel, to meet him in private and to secure his attendance during proceedings;
  • He has the right to call a relative, friend or other party;
  • He has the right to talk to a relative, friend ort lawyer privately;
  • He has the right to receive adequate medical treatment, if needed.

Expect the warrant of arrest and the verbal warnings to be in the Thai language. If the arrestee is a foreigner, there must be an interpreter who will translate to him what the arrest is all about, and what his rights are.

Guidelines to be Followed in Searches and Seizures with a Warrant

  1. The search warrant must be shown to the occupant before the search is conducted;
  2. The officer must give his name and title to the occupant prior to the search;
  3. As much as possible, the search must be conducted in the presence of the owner or occupant or a competent member of his family;
  4. If no owner/occupant/family member is available to witness the search, the police must secure the presence of at least two independent and competent witnesses before the search is conducted;
  5. The items found in the search must be shown to the witnesses, who must acknowledge the items found.

Police may conduct searches and seizures without a warrant when he has reasonable grounds to believe that the suspect has in his possession:

  1. Articles that may be used to commit a crime;
  2. The fruits of a crime;
  3. Illegal items (like illegal substances).
Local Office Numbers:
Bangkok: 02-259-8100
Phuket: 076-326-322
Chiang Mai: 053-818-306
Pattaya: 03-300-8830
International Numbers:
US: 1-877-252-8831
UK: 0207-101-9301
Australia: 128-015-5273
Thailand: +66 2259-8100