According to Korean law, a prosecutor can arrest a suspect and send the suspect into detention during an investigation. In order to do this, the prosecutor must be granted “a warrant of detention” by the court. Before the court issues this warrant, a hearing must be held within the court in front of the judge to determine whether or not the prosecutor’s request for this warrant has enough grounds for detention. In this case, except in any extraordinary circumstance, such hearing shall be held by the day following the date, on which the warrant of detention is requested.
The grounds for detention are when a probable cause exists to suspect that he/she has committed a crime and falls under any of the following; 1. When he/she has no certain place of residence 2. When there are reasonable grounds enough to suspect that he/she may destroy evidence; 3. When he/she flees or there are reasonable concerns that he/she may flee. The court shall take into consideration the seriousness of the case at hand, the risk of repetition of the accused crime, and also anticipated harm to the victim, important witnesses, or other people involved in the case. Also, with regard to a case punishable with a fine of a maximum amount not exceeding 500,000 Korean won, misdemeanor imprisonment, or a minor fine, the criminal defendant shall not be subject to detention unless the suspect has no certain place of residence. The statistics show that most warrants are eventually granted because prosecutors do not request for a warrant without solid evidence or reason enough to send the suspect into detention. However, in cases of foreigners, misunderstandings during the investigation process or a bad temper may lead to unjust detention. So it is crucial for the suspect to retain a lawyer and defend him/herself during the court hearing to determine the grant of a warrant for detention.