16/08/2023 15:40

Regulations on time limit for investigation and further investigation in criminal cases in Vietnam

Regulations on time limit for investigation and further investigation in criminal cases in Vietnam

What are the regulations on time limit for investigation and further investigation in criminal cases in Vietnam? _ Ha Vi (Gia Lai)

Hello, Lawnet would like to answer the following:

1. What is the time limit for investigation in a criminal case in Vietnam?

According to Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015, the time limit for investigation in criminal cases is as follows:

- The time limit for a criminal investigation shall not exceed 02 months for misdemeanors, 03 months for felonies and 04 months for horrific and extremely severe felonies. The time limit applies from the filing of charges to the end of the investigation.

- If an investigation must be extended due to the case’s complexity, the investigation authority shall, within 10 days prior to the expiry date of the time limit, requisition the Procuracy’s extension of investigation.

An investigation is extended as follows:

+ An investigation into misdemeanors may be extended once for 02 more months;

+ An investigation into felonies may be extended twice, for 03 more months in the first time or for 02 more months in the second time;

+ An investigation into horrific felonies may be extended twice, for 04 more months each time;

+ An investigation into extremely severe felonies may be extended thrice, for 04 more months each time.

- If the investigation into extremely severe felonies is incomplete, despite the expiration of its time limit, due to the case’s complexity, the head of the Supreme People’s Procuracy may sanction one extension for at most 04 more months.

The head of the Supreme People’s Procuracy is entitled to extend an investigation into breach of national security once for at most 04 more months.

- If a decision to press criminal charges or to join issues into one lawsuit is amended, the total time limit for investigation shall not exceed the limits as defined in Section 1, 2 and 3 of Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015 (See more guidance in Article 14 of Joint Circular 04/2018/TTLT-VKSNDTC-BCA-BQP on how to calculate the procedural time limit in the case of entering a criminal case, the accused committing a more serious or lesser crime, or prosecuting or conducting an additional investigation into another crime.)

- The procuracy's authority to extend an investigation:

+ An investigation into misdemeanors is extended by a district People’s Procuracy or local Military procuracy. If a provincial investigation authority or military investigation authority of a military zone handles the investigation, the equivalent provincial People’s Procuracy or Military procuracy of the military zone shall decide the extension of investigation;

+ A district People’s Procuracy or local Military procuracy shall ratify the first and second extensions of an investigation into felonies. If a provincial investigation authority or military investigation authority of a military zone handles the investigation, the equivalent provincial People’s Procuracy or Military procuracy of the military zone shall decide the first and second extensions of such investigation;

+ A district People’s Procuracy or local Military procuracy shall ratify the first extension of an investigation into horrific felonies while the provincial People’s Procuracy or Military procuracy of a military zone shall decide the second extension. If a provincial investigation authority or military investigation authority of a military zone handles the investigation, the equivalent provincial People’s Procuracy or Military procuracy of the military zone shall decide the first and second extensions of such investigation;

+ A provincial People’s Procuracy or Military procuracy of a military zone shall ratify the first and second extensions of an investigation into extremely severe felonies while the Supreme People’s Procuracy or central military People’s Procuracy shall decide the third extension;

- If an investigation authority of the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Defense or People’s Supreme Procuracy handles the investigation, the Supreme People’s Procuracy or Central military procuracy shall decide to extend the investigation.

Thus, the time limit for investigating a criminal case does not exceed 2-4 months from the time of prosecution until the end of the investigation and depends on the nature of the crime. The investigation can be extended up to 1-3 times, each time not exceeding 2-4 months. The prosecution has the power to extend the investigation depending on the level of case handling. The total investigation period, including extensions, must not exceed the prescribed time limit.

2. What is the time limit for further investigation in a criminal case in Vietnam?

According to Article 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015, the time limit for resumption of investigation, further investigation, re-investigation is as follows:

- If an investigation resumes as per Article 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015, the time limit for the continued investigation shall not exceed 02 months for misdemeanors and felonies and 03 months for horrific and extremely severe felonies. Such time limit applies from the issue date of the decision to resume investigation to the closure of the investigation.

- If an investigation must be extended due to the case’s complexity, the investigation authority shall, within 10 days prior to the expiry date of the time limit, requisition the Procuracy’s extension of investigation.

An investigation is extended as follows:

+ An investigation into misdemeanors may be extended once for 01 more month;

+ An investigation into felonies and horrific felonies may be extended once for 02 more months;

+ An investigation into extremely severe felonies may be extended once for 03 more months.

- The authority to extend investigations into each type of crime is defined in Section 5, Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015.

- If The procuracy returns case files for further investigation, the time limit for the additional investigation shall not exceed 02 months. If a Court returns case files for further investigation, the time limit added shall not exceed 01 month. The procuracy can return case files for further investigation twice. The presiding judge of a Court can return case files for further investigation once and the Trial panel can return case files for additional investigation once.

+ The time limit for an additional investigation commences upon the investigation authority’s retrieval of case files and request for further investigation.

- If case files are returned for re-investigation, the time limit and extension of investigation shall be governed by Article 172 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015.

- The time limit for investigation commences upon the investigation authority’s retrieval of case files and request for re-investigation.

- The investigation authority, when resuming, furthering and resetting an investigation, is entitled to implement, alter or terminate preventive and coercive measures as per the Criminal Procedure Code 2015.

+ If a detention is deemed necessary as per the grounds defined in this Law, the time limit for detention for resumption or furthering of the investigation shall not exceed the relevant time limit as defined in Section 1 and Section 2 of Article 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015.

+ The time limit and extension of detention for re-investigation are governed by Article 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015.

So:

- Time limit for investigation recovery: Maximum 2-3 months, can be extended for 1-3 months depending on the nature of the crime.

- Time limit for additional investigation: Up to 1-2 months depending on the agency's request.

- Time limit for re-investigation: The time limit is the same as the first investigation, maximum 2-4 months, can be extended 1-3 times.

- The time limit for temporary detention in the above cases must not exceed the investigation time limit.

- The time limit is counted from the time the investigating agency receives the dossier.

Investigating agencies may apply, change or cancel preventive and coercive measures according to regulations.

Hua Le Huy
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