Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Arista has a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience in the practice of criminal law. Our services are focused on providing legal advice and representation to clients involved in criminal cases, including crimes such as theft, fraud, homicide, domestic violence, injuries, fraud, among others.

In Costa Rica, criminal law is of great importance to ensure the protection of society and the enforcement of laws. At Arista, we understand the complexity of these cases and therefore, we strive to provide personalized attention to our clients, offering specific solutions for each case.

Our services include legal advice and representation in all stages of the criminal process, from the initial investigation to trial, appeal or cassation. In addition, we focus on drafting and reviewing legal documents related to criminal cases, such as complaints, appeals, reports and other documents necessary to ensure the protection of our clients’ rights.

At Arista, we are committed to guaranteeing the defense of our clients’ rights, and to providing effective and specific solutions for each case. Contact us to receive personalized attention and solve your specific requirements in criminal law.

Our Services
Counseling, representation and accompaniment of victims

At Arista, our team of criminal law experts is dedicated to defending the rights of crime victims.

We provide high quality legal representation at all stages of the process, thanks to our experience and expertise in the field.

We focus on being proactive from the beginning of the process to provide our clients with the best possible criminal defense.

Our specialized lawyers are committed to guarantee the rights and interests of our clients through an effective and professional defense in all the cases we handle.

In the legal field, a person who has suffered harm or damage due to the commission of a crime, such as robbery, homicide, threats, fraud or other similar crimes, is considered a victim. If you find yourself in this situation, at Arista we have highly trained professionals who will provide you with the necessary support to file a complaint.

A denunciation is the act by which the competent authority is informed of the existence of the facts constituting the crime.

It is important to note that there are crimes that are of private action, that is, those that require the legal representation of a specialized lawyer so that the victim can file a complaint (private accusation) before the Courts of Criminal Justice.

In these cases, at Arista we have a highly qualified team to provide the necessary legal support and ensure that the process starts smoothly.

Counseling, representation and accompaniment of accused persons and/or persons under investigation for alleged crimes.

At Arista, we have a team of specialists in criminal matters with extensive experience in the defense of persons accused or investigated for committing alleged crimes. Our legal representation is of the highest quality, and is provided during all stages of the criminal process.

Our commitment and expertise in the field allow us to provide our clients with security when making transcendental decisions in the defense of their rights and interests.

In the legal field, an accused person is a person who is under investigation for the alleged commission of a crime, such as robbery, homicide, threats, fraud, among other similar crimes. If you find yourself in this situation, our criminal defense lawyers will provide you with the necessary support and advice to guarantee an adequate defense in the corresponding judicial process.

It is important to note that an indictment may be public, which implies that the Public Prosecutor's Office files charges when a person is alleged to have committed a crime, or in some cases, the initiation of criminal proceedings is subject to private prosecution. In the latter case, the victim, through his legal representative, may file a complaint (private prosecution) before the courts. In any of these cases, at Arista we have a highly qualified team to provide the legal support necessary for the process to be carried out efficiently and fairly, and thus guarantee the proper defense of the rights and interests of the person denounced or investigated.

Advice, representation and accompaniment in all stages of the ordinary criminal process.

The adversarial criminal process in Costa Rica is a procedural model characterized by a separation of functions between the investigation and prosecution, the defense and the judicial decision. This model seeks to guarantee the impartiality and independence of the different actors in the criminal process to ensure a fair trial.

The stages of the accusatory criminal process in Costa Rica are as follows:

Investigation: The investigation of crimes is carried out by the Public Prosecutor's Office, who gathers evidence and elements of conviction to support an eventual indictment.

Indictment: If the Public Prosecutor's Office has sufficient evidence, it may file a formal accusation against the accused and/or investigated. The indictment is filed with the corresponding criminal court and must contain a detailed description of the facts and evidence to be used in the trial.

Preliminary hearing: At this stage, the Criminal Court reviews the indictment and the evidence presented by the Public Prosecutor's Office and hears the arguments of the defense. If the judge considers that the accusation is well founded, a hearing date is set. If this is not the case, it may issue a resolution of dismissal.

Oral and public trial: At this stage, the debate takes place in which the evidence and arguments of the prosecution and the defense are heard. The judge is in charge of evaluating the evidence and deciding whether or not the accused is responsible for the alleged crime.

Sentence: The Judge issues the sentence of conviction or acquittal, as appropriate. If convicted, the corresponding penalty is fixed.

It is important to mention that the accusatory criminal process in Costa Rica respects the fundamental rights of the accused, such as the right to a defense, the presumption of innocence, due process and effective judicial protection.

Advice, representation and accompaniment in all stages of special criminal proceedings.

If you are involved in a special criminal proceeding in Costa Rica and need legal advice, our team of professionals is ready to provide you with personalized service. We are a team of lawyers specialized in the matter and we offer you the assistance and guidance you need.

No matter what your situation is, we are committed to providing you with personalized, professional and confidential legal advice. Our goal is to help you understand your legal situation and guide you through the process to achieve the best possible solution.

In Costa Rica, a special criminal proceeding is a judicial proceeding that applies to specific cases and is governed by special requirements and rules, different from those of the ordinary criminal proceeding. These special processes are used in cases that require greater speed and efficiency in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, as well as in those that, due to their nature, complexity or seriousness, require more detailed and specific attention.

Among the best known special criminal procedures used in Costa Rica are the following:

Abbreviated criminal process: In this process, the accused may reach an agreement with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence in exchange for his confession and collaboration in the investigation, obtaining benefits that allow him to reduce the sentence to be served.

In flagrante delicto prosecution: this process is applied in cases where a person is caught in the act of committing a crime, or immediately after committing it. The person is detained by the administrative police and brought before a judge in flagrante delicto, who will decide on his or her legal status.

Complex criminal proceedings: this process is used in cases involving a large number of crimes, multiple victims or defendants, among other similar cases. This process is characterized by being longer and more complex than ordinary proceedings, and by having greater resources and protection measures for the victim and witnesses.

Criminal proceedings for crimes of violence against women and other family members: this process is used in cases of violence against women, children and adolescents, as well as in cases of domestic violence. This process is characterized by special protection measures for the victim, as well as the participation of an interdisciplinary team of professionals specialized in violence.

Money laundering proceedings: refers to the set of legal procedures carried out to investigate and punish individuals or legal entities that have obtained or used assets or resources of illicit origin, with the purpose of legalizing them or incorporating them into the country's economic-financial system.

Special criminal proceedings in Costa Rica are applied in specific cases and are governed by different rules from those of ordinary criminal proceedings, in order to ensure more effective and specialized attention in the investigation and prosecution of crimes.

Advice, representation and accompaniment in criminal proceedings in which a company is a party.

Counseling, representation and accompaniment in criminal proceedings in which a company is a party refers to the set of legal services provided to a company that has been involved in criminal proceedings. These services include legal advice and representation of the company before the judicial and tax authorities, as well as accompaniment in all stages of the criminal process, from preliminary investigation to sentencing.

The objective of legal advice and representation in criminal proceedings is to protect the interests of the company and to ensure that its rights and interests as a legal entity are respected at all times. To this end, different actions are carried out, such as the exhaustive review of documentation and evidence related to the case, the development of defense strategies, participation in hearings and court proceedings, and the filing of appeals and appeals when necessary.

In Costa Rica, a company may commit various criminal offenses, some of which could be the following: Crimes against intellectual property: the company may incur in crimes such as the illegal reproduction and commercialization of works protected by copyright or patents, or unfair competition.

Tax offenses: the company may commit offenses related to non-compliance with its tax obligations, such as tax evasion or tax fraud.

Environmental crimes: the company may incur in crimes against the environment, such as contamination of rivers, seas, soils, emission of polluting gases, improper disposal of waste, among others.

Labor crimes: the company may commit crimes related to noncompliance with labor regulations, such as non-payment of wages, non-provision of labor benefits, labor discrimination, among others.

Among other similar ones, which are found in the applicable special regulations.

It is important to bear in mind that companies may be criminally liable for the commission of crimes within the framework of their activity, and in many cases, the criminal liability of the company does not exempt the criminal liability of the natural persons involved in the commission of the crimes. Therefore, it is essential for companies to have legal counsel specialized in corporate criminal law to prevent and adequately manage any legal risk in this area.

Legal advice and representation in criminal proceedings may also include the negotiation of agreements with the judicial and tax authorities, with the aim of achieving alternative solutions that avoid the imposition of sanctions or fines on the company.

If you would like more information or would like to schedule an appointment for a personalized consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are at your disposal to help you with whatever you need.

Criminal Law Litigation

Criminal litigation in Costa Rica refers to the set of actions carried out in a criminal proceeding, in which a crime is investigated and tried. In criminal litigation, different actors are involved, such as the Prosecutor's Office, the Defense, the Judge and the parties involved, whether a natural or legal person.

Criminal litigation begins with the complaint, which gives rise to the investigation of the crime. During the investigation, the Prosecutor's Office collects evidence and conducts proceedings to determine the existence and responsibility of the accused. If the Prosecutor's Office finds sufficient elements to sustain an accusation, a formal accusation will be presented before the Judge, who will initiate the trial process.

During the trial, the defense and the prosecution present their arguments and evidence, and the judge must evaluate them in order to issue a conviction or acquittal. Criminal litigation in Costa Rica is governed by the principles of orality, publicity, contradiction, immediacy, concentration and continuity, and aims to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of individuals, as well as the protection of society against crimes.

Our work group offers professional advice in the following areas:

Preliminary Counseling: Includes prior background study, preparation of the theory of the case.
Study of available documents. Study of all possible and probable scenarios. Development of the strategies to be followed.

Representation and defense from the beginning of the process
A technical defense must be developed correctly from the first procedural act (any judicial or police action) of the criminal prosecution until the execution of the sentence. The right of defense is inalienable.

Counseling and presentation on testing issues, which includes:

Party testimony, witnesses, expert witnesses, expert witnesses, documents and reports, examinations, scientific and technological means allowed by our legal system.

Assistance and representation in all stages of the ordinary or special criminal proceedings, respectively:
Preparatory stage (preliminary investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office.
Intermediate Stage (preliminary hearing).
Oral and public trial stage.
Criminal and civil sentence execution stage. Appeals Interposition of appeals in this matter is duly regulated in the applicable rules, the revocation, appeal, cassation and review procedure.

A comprehensive study and representation is of vital importance for the correct exercise of the rights and interests of our clients.

Counseling and representation in possible alternative solutions to the criminal conflict.

Counseling and representation in possible alternative solutions to the criminal conflict refers to the legal assistance provided to a person involved in a criminal proceeding, with the objective of seeking an alternative solution to the conventional criminal trial. Alternative solutions to the criminal conflict are a series of measures aimed at seeking a solution to the criminal conflict by means other than a criminal conviction.

Counseling and representation in these possible alternative outcomes involves legal guidance and advice for the accused or investigated, with the objective of analyzing the viability of these alternatives, negotiating with the other parties involved and seeking the best possible solution.

In addition, in the event that an agreement is reached through one of these alternatives, it must be ensured that the agreement is legally valid and fully complied with, for which legal advice and representation is also provided. In this way, we seek to obtain the best results for the client in terms of reduced penalties, avoidance of criminal prosecution or resolution of the conflict in a satisfactory manner for all parties involved.

Our work group provides services, as long as the legal system allows it in relation to the following areas:

Suspension of probationary proceedings:

Reparation of damages in patrimonial or negligent crimes:


Application of timeliness criteria:

Payment of the maximum fine.

Precautionary Measures

Criminal precautionary measures may be imposed by a judge in the framework of a criminal proceeding in order to ensure the presence of the accused in the process and prevent him from evading justice, as well as to guarantee the protection of victims and witnesses, and to prevent the commission of new crimes, among other similar assumptions.

Some of the precautionary measures are:

Pretrial detention: Pretrial detention in Costa Rica is a precautionary measure applied during criminal proceedings and consists of the deprivation of liberty of a person who has been arrested or charged for committing a crime, when there are reasonable grounds to believe that he or she could evade justice, obstruct the investigation, endanger the victim or witnesses, or continue committing crimes, among others.

For pretrial detention to be ordered, there must be a concrete and present danger of flight or hindrance of the criminal process, and it cannot be an automatic or generalized measure. The decision to impose preventive detention is made by a judge in a special hearing, where the arguments of the prosecution and the defense are evaluated and the evidence presented by both parties is assessed.

It is important to emphasize that pretrial detention is an exceptional and extremely burdensome measure; its application must be proportional and respect the fundamental rights of the person charged. In this sense, the law establishes that pretrial detention should be substituted by less restrictive measures such as, for example:

Periodic signature: the accused must appear periodically before the judicial or police authorities.

Prohibition to leave the country: the accused may not leave the country while the criminal proceeding is being carried out.

Prohibition on approaching the victim or witnesses: the accused may not approach the victim or witnesses during the criminal proceedings.

Use of electronic bracelet: the defendant wears a bracelet that allows judicial and police authorities to monitor his location.

It is important to note that the imposition of criminal precautionary measures must be justified and proportionate to the seriousness of the crime and the circumstances of the accused, and that the law establishes that precautionary measures must be reviewed periodically to ensure that they continue to be necessary.

Advice and representation in criminal proceedings in possible criminal offenses.

Against life (simple, qualified, attenuated and culpable homicides, among others).

Against property (theft, robbery, fraud, damage, etc.)

Against honor (libel, slander, defamation, etc.)


Legitimization of emerging capital.

Bankruptcies and insolvencies (fraudulent or negligent).


Injuries (minor, slight, serious or very serious).

Against the family.

Against minors

Corporate fraud

Sexual offenses

Among others.

Advice and representation in the Compliance of Anti-Corruption Policies.

Anti-Corruption Compliance in Costa Rica refers to the implementation of measures and controls by companies, organizations and public entities to prevent, detect and deal with corruption and other related crimes. In Costa Rica, anti-corruption compliance is regulated by the Law against Corruption and Illicit Enrichment in the Public Service, as well as by other related specialized laws and regulations. These laws establish the obligation to implement adequate measures and controls to prevent and detect corruption, including ethics and transparency policies, employee training and awareness, and the adoption of internal control systems and audits.

In addition, there are organizations and entities in charge of overseeing compliance with these laws, such as the Comptroller General of the Republic and the Costa Rican Drug Institute (ICD), among others.

Anti-corruption compliance in Costa Rica is a set of measures and controls aimed at preventing and detecting corruption and other related crimes, and is regulated by specific laws and regulations.

Anti-corruption compliance requirements vary by country and applicable regulations. However, some of the common requirements for anti-corruption compliance anywhere include some basics:

Ethics and transparency policies and procedures: Companies and organizations should establish and maintain clear and transparent policies and procedures that foster an environment of integrity and ethics in which employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious behavior or potential wrongdoing.

Training and awareness-raising: Companies and organizations should train their employees on anti-corruption issues and raise their awareness of corruption risks.

Due diligence: Companies and organizations should perform adequate due diligence on their business transactions and relationships with third parties to ensure that they are not involved in corrupt activities.

Monitoring and auditing: Companies and organizations should implement internal and external monitoring and auditing systems to detect and prevent corrupt activities.

Reporting and whistleblowing: Companies and organizations should establish channels for reporting and whistleblowing suspicious activities, and protect whistleblowers from retaliation.

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