The right to be assigned a mandatory defense lawyer exists if it is a case of the so-called "necessary defense". According to § 140 StPO, this is the case if:
- the court hearing takes place before the higher regional court or the regional court,
- the accused is charged with a crime, ie an act that is at least threatened with 1 year imprisonment,
- a professional ban threatens
- pre-trial detention or provisional placement is carried out against the accused,
- due to the seriousness of the crime (e.g. in the case of a sentence of one year or more) or due to the difficulty of the factual and legal situation, the involvement of a defense attorney appears necessary (e.g. with a large number of witnesses or when operations, bookkeeping and accounting have to be checked) .
- if it can be seen that the accused cannot defend himself (e.g. as illiterate).
There are also cases in which access to the file is considered necessary. However, since only one defense lawyer is usually entitled to inspect the investigation files, the court will assign a defender to the defendant. In order to guarantee a fair trial, according to the case law, inspection of the files - and thus the assignment of a mandatory defense lawyer - is necessary, among other things, if
- an important witness has changed his statement several times in essential points
- there are contradictory information from central witnesses to the evidence
- there is an expert opinion in the files on the culpability of the accused, with which he must deal.
If there is a "necessary defense" case, the court will provide the defendant with a mandatory defense lawyer. As mentioned above, however, this is done regardless of whether the accused has money or not.