Magna Carta Law Firm > FAQ Section > Getting Arrested in Thailand


Getting Arrested in Thailand

How long may Police hold a suspect or alleged offender arrested in Thailand before filing charges?

A suspect arrested in Thailand can be detained for up to 48 hours in the Police Station for investigation. The Arresting Officers must present a Warrant of Arrest or have informed the suspect of his offence. Police may conduct searches and seizures without a warrant when they have reasonable grounds to consider. This includes possessing any illegal substances or articles used to commit a crime or when the suspect commits the crime before an arresting officer.


If the investigation is not finished in 48 hours, the police officer must ask the court to grant the power for confinement extension; the length of which is at the court’s discretion.


The arrested should have a chance to notify any of his family members or friends of the said arrest and the place of incarceration. They must also have visitation rights and an opportunity to talk to them privately.

Due to language barrier, will they provide an interpreter to a foreigner arrested in Thailand?

Foreigners arrested in Thailand will have to expect that Warrant of Arrest and other verbal warnings are in Thai language. Therefore, it is essential for the police or the court to provide non-Thai suspect with an interpreter.

Does a suspect have the right not to disclose any information when being questioned by the police?

Suspects have the legal rights not to disclose any information without a lawyer at every step of the investigation stage. They must first be made aware that they can use any statement he makes as evidence against him. If the Arresting officer fails to notify his legal rights upon the arrest, it would mean that they cannot use any confessions made beforehand as evidence.

Can a legal counsel be provided to a suspect if he cannot afford one?

Any suspect has the right to ask for a competent legal counsel, to meet him in private, and to secure his attendance during the proceedings. If he cannot afford a lawyer, the court can provide one without any cost.

What if the alleged offender needs medical treatment?

He has the right to an adequate medical treatment, if needed. If the suspect is sick before or during his confinement, the police on duty will have to escort the suspect to a hospital upon the approval of the Chief of Police.

What is the general rule about the right to Bail?

A suspect is innocent until proven guilty. Anybody charged with a criminal offence has a right to bail for temporary release, with sufficient sureties according to the law, before the court passes its judgment.


Bailsman must submit a written request to the investigating officer, who will then ask for other relevant documents. They usually announce the result of the bail review within 24 hours.


Minimum bail amount may vary because the presiding judge of each jurisdiction sets the amount of bail for each case. In Thailand, you may submit a request for temporary release under one of three categories: Request for temporary release by using assets, cash and government employment status.


They will release the suspect if the Bailsman manages to obtain bail. Otherwise, the suspect will remain in custody, which might result in difficulty to defend his case.

Do Police Officers have the right to confiscate and withhold the passport of a foreigner arrested in Thailand?

Confiscation of the passport can cause serious problems. Passport is the most important document to every foreigner. You cannot engage in any important transactions without it. Most crucially, you can’t leave Thailand and return to your home country without your passport. After releasing the suspect on bail, they should immediately return his or her passport. Police officers have the right to seize and withhold a passport only if they have a suspicion that it was used for a criminal act or it is counterfeit.