How to Know If I Have a Criminal Lawsuit: Cases, Duration and MORE

Criminal lawsuits are a very sensitive issue in any country, especially in Colombia. Many at some point, depending on their actions, wonder:How to know if I have a criminal complaint?, and for those who have this doubt, we have to say that they are in the right place.

Later, we will try to answer all the questions that may be generated related to the subject. What is a criminal complaint, where is it filed, how to report it, and more. Let us begin!

How do I know if I have a criminal complaint in Colombia?

It often happens that some people have lawsuits against them and find out when it is too late because their personal and / or real property was taken from them, their wages were garnished or other legal retaliation.

In Colombia, there are two notification procedures. One is called State, which is when the same court places the notification on the defendant’s billboard and to acquire this information the same person would have to go through each court requesting the information.

The other is the personal notification of the claim or the payment order, and this is what happens at the same time as the seizure or any other action that is taken.

It is well known that everyone should be notified efficiently and immediately but sometimes the notification never reaches the people. This is the case of guarantors or co-debtors who have never been notified that the person who has served as guarantor, was late or simply, did not comply with the payment.

And there would be one of the reasons why they do not notify everyone. Most of the time, in cases like the aforementioned, they notify the debtor and not the co-debtor or guarantor. And it is these who end up harmed.

The question How to know if I have a lawsuit against me can be answered by consulting through the internet on the website of the Judicial branch by name and surname.

There are cases in which the demand does not appear with the name of the defendant but with the name of the plaintiff. This happens most of the time because the lawsuits are from large corporations or financial institutions.

In some cases, they make available to those who need it a list with the lawsuits in progress and the interested party will be able to see if it appears in it or not by searching by name and surname.

Step by Step Consultation

  1. Enter the page of Judicial branch and select «Process Consultation».
  2. Add name of the procedural subject, only with first and last name.

The consultation is totally free and is available to anyone who needs it.

In the case of those who have prior knowledge of a claim made in their name who want to know the conditions of the process or something else, they can make inquiries in the same way, only that instead of putting their name and surname, they must indicate the identification number. and the information will be displayed automatically.

The complaints made in the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, may be reviewed in the Accusatory Oral Criminal System (SPOA). It is only necessary to have the report number that was assigned on the day the report was made. You can consult it through the following link: Prosecution consultations.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Nation offers a mechanism for electronic consultation of the complaints registered in the database of the Accusatory Oral Criminal System (Law 906 of 2004), to contribute to the construction of a more transparent, participatory and efficient country according to the purpose of the Online Government Strategy. With the aim of providing better services to citizens by making use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

The status of the claims can be found by entering the website of the Attorney General’s Office, in the menu of Citizen Information Services, selecting Consultation of SPOA complaints and filling in the form.

How to Know If I Have a Criminal Lawsuit: Where Is It Filed?

Claims are filed with the competent authorities. One of these would be the Attorney General’s Office.

If there is no one close to the crime scene, it can also be presented at a national police station and the officials will be in charge of taking the necessary legal measures to proceed with the case.

In criminal matters there are no lawsuits. Lawsuits exist in civil matters such as divorces, right to belong, restitution of real estate, demand for counterclaim, etc; in administrative matters such as direct reparation, nullity, restoration of law, among others.

How To Know If I Have A Criminal Lawsuit: In What Cases Can I File One?

In many cases, the lawsuit and the complaint are believed to be the same. And it is not like that. The claim is filed in civil cases such as divorce, counterclaim, restitution of real estate; in family cases such as food quota fixation, custody; administrative cases such as restoration of rights, nullity, among others.

For a lawsuit to take place, the following is required:

  • Name of the legal representative.
  • Appointment of judge.
  • Names and addresses of all those involved.
  • Claims
  • Amounts.
  • Estimated oath.
  • Request for evidence.
  • Facts.
  • Amounts of the process.

How to Know if I Have a Criminal Lawsuit: Duration of a Criminal Proceedings

The time that a criminal process takes in Colombia varies depending on the case. The crime and the procedural agility with which its stages are developed will determine how long it may take. So it becomes somewhat complicated, being able to determine the exact time.

It is recommended to hire a lawyer or lawyers, who are supervising and watching the entire process. This way everyone is sure that the procedural terms are not corrupted and that the entire process is filed or terminated.

Frequent questions

  • What can I do if a criminal complaint is filed against me?

The first step is to be notified to present to the right place and take action.

It is recommended that you hire a defense attorney to guide you through the entire process. If you do not have the necessary resources for this, request a public defender from the court that takes the case, the municipal authority or the ombudsman, who will assist in the criminal process.

By requesting a free or public defender lawyer from some of the aforementioned entities, it is validated that the applicant does not have the financial means to pay for a lawyer.

Thus, it is established that the person lacks the resources to assume his defense when he does not have enough resources to provide his subsistence or those of the people who depend on him or when having the resources, only a vital minimum is covered and he is disabled to assign them to judicial or extrajudicial assistance or representation.

  • Can you leave the country with a criminal complaint?

Not necessarily the demand prevents the person from leaving the country. At the moment there is no process against the person unless the prosecution declares the date and place of the trial. Or in that case, the person is found guilty of the crime.

If there is a conviction and an assurance measure of article 306 of the Penal Code on non-custodial liberties was filed; Numeral 5 «the prohibition to leave the country, the place where they reside or the territorial scope set by the judge», in that case the person could not leave the country or would be committing another crime.

  • How long do I have to answer a criminal complaint?

The process of a criminal claim is as follows: Once the claim is made, a series of criminal behaviors or events is disclosed to the competent authority. The Prosecutor’s Office will initiate the investigation into the case to determine whether it is true or false.

Just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean that a judge will immediately call a hearing. The protocol is to follow the aforementioned, and if it is determined that the case is true, at that time if a competent distribution judge will be assigned to handle the case.

Which means that the defendant, at the beginning, until it is determined that the case is true or not, should not respond in any way to the claim against him. You should wait to be notified by the criminal court. It is advisable to look for a lawyer who will explain your rights, what the criminal process is like and who will advance a good defense.

What is it a Criminal Lawsuit?

According to RAE, in Criminal law, a demand It is a statement of knowledge with which the authorities, be they the Public Prosecutor, Judicial Police or Judicial Branch, know the existence of an act with criminal or illicit characteristics, in general.

The basic definition of the criminal process in Colombia establishes that the claim is a formally written request referring to non-criminal matters, which takes place when someone’s rights are violated. This action is in the labor, administrative or civil jurisdiction but not in the criminal area.


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