The Honduras legal system is comprised of many laws that are best interpreted by persons with an appropriate Honduran law degree.
It is advised that one obtain a Honduran lawyer (abogado or abogada) before entering into any legal contract in the country, be it for property or employment.
Tourists, businesspeople, and residents of Honduras are guests in a sovereign country, and are subject to the laws of Honduras. It is therefore a good idea to read your country’s embassy website prior to visiting, in order to familiarize yourself with the possible unexpected differences in a person’s legal rights.
For example, according to Honduran Criminal Procedure Code, a person arrested in Honduras may be held for up to 24 hours while the authorities investigate or obtain sufficient evidence to support the accusation made against that person. The detainee may be held at the premises of the criminal investigative police (Dirección Nacional de Investigación [DGIC]) or the local police (Policía Preventiva).
The judicial procedure in criminal cases consists of an initial 24 hour detention period, followed by a 6-day investigative period, and an initial hearing. The arraignment hearing follows, and then a trial, verdict, and sentencing. Note that a trial may be delayed for up to a period of two years from the time of the arrest. The Ruling Court during a trial consists of three magistrates and no jury. The verdict will be rendered immediately after the close of the trial. The sentence will be pronounced at a separate hearing, which should take place within 30 days after the verdict was rendered.
The highest court of law is the Supreme Court of Justice of Honduras (Corte Suprema de Justicia de Honduras – CSJ), headed at this time by Dr. Jorge Rivera Aviles. All laws are reviewed prior to approval to guarantee they fall within the guidelines of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras.
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