Pre-Conviction Appearance (PRAC)

Verified 29 August 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

A Pre-Conviction Hearing (PRAC) is a alternative to prosecution. It is also called plead guilty.

This procedure allows processing quick of the offenses committed.

It is applied to some offenses and must respect certain conditions.

We explain how the CRPC works.

A Pre-Conviction Hearing (PCRC) is a trial procedure quickly the author of theinfringement, provided that it recognize the facts alleged.

It is applied for some offenses at the request of the public prosecutor, the perpetrator or his lawyer.

This procedure takes place in 2 mandatory steps : the prosecutor's sentencing proposal and the probate hearing.

The sentence proposed by the prosecutor may be accepted or refused by the offender.

If the sentence is accepted, the case shall be referred to the judge for approval.

If the author refuses, he shall be summoned again to be tried in a trial before the correctional court.

The victim of the offense shall be informed of this procedure. She's notified of the date of the hearing to enable it to civil party.


The CRPC is not applicable to minors.

The CRPC procedure makes it possible to judge simple business and fit to stand trial, for example in the absence of any request for expertise or multiple authors.

The person complained of must be of age at the time of the events.

She must acknowledge the facts who are blamed on him, otherwise it's here proceedings before the criminal court which must apply.

The CRPC procedure applies for every offenses. However, it does not apply pitch the following offenses:

  • Crimes of personal injury and sexual assault when punishable by a prison sentence of more than 5 years (e.g. violence, sexual assault)
  • Offenses manslaughter
  • Press offenses (e.g. insult, defamation)
  • Political offenses

The crimes and contraventions cannot be tried in the CRPC.

The PRCA procedure allows the public prosecutor to propose all applicable penalties to the offense in question.

The prosecutor may propose a penalty of prison and/or a sentence fine.


The length of imprisonment cannot be more than 3 years, nor exceed half of the penalty incurred. For example, if the penalty is 4 years, the proposed penalty cannot exceed 2 years.

This penalty may be attached of a reprieve.

If the prosecutor proposes a sentence of imprisonment, it must specify whether it is enforceable immediately.

He may propose that the prison sentence be fitted out. The person will then be summoned before the, which will determine the conditions of execution (electronic bracelet, semi-liberty...).


The amount of the proposed fine cannot be higher to the fine incurred.

This penalty may be accompanied by a reprieve. In that case, the person does not pay the fine.


The criminal conviction record submitted to the hearing specifies how the fine is to be paid.

Additional penalties

The prosecutor may also propose to apply, in addition to the main penalty, one or more of additional penalties provided for the alleged offense.

These penalties vary according to the nature and seriousness of the offense committed. For example, the withdrawal of a driver's license, a citizenship internship.


The accused person is called in before the public prosecutor, or by a direct quotation, or by a summons issued by the police or gendarmerie.

If the person is police custody, it may also be deferred, that is, be taken to court for presentation to the prosecutor.

Conduct of the procedure

The CRPC procedure takes place in multiple steps.

The first step is the proposed sentence of the public prosecutor in an interview with the accused and his lawyer.

The second step is the certification hearing before the president of the correctional tribunal.

The accused person must must be assisted by a lawyer at all stages of the procedure.

If the person does not have sufficient income, he or she may apply for legal aid.

Who shall I contact

The accused person must it is compulsory to have a lawyer present.

She speaks freely with him before making her decision known. In this interview, the lawyer brings together all the personal elements of the defendant (tax assessment, medical certificate, employment certificate...) to negotiate the sentence with the D.A.

The lawyer checks whether or not the proposed sentence is appropriate to the facts.

Three choices are possible for the accused person: they may accept the proposed penalty immediately, the refuse or request a reflection period up to 10 days.

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Proposal accepted

The Public Prosecutor, assisted by a Registrar, draw up minutes.

It contains the acknowledgement of facts, the proposal and acceptance of the penalty.

These minutes are signed by the defendant, the public prosecutor and the registrar.

The defendant is immediately presented before the judge for a public hearing type-approval.

Proposal rejected

The person can acknowledge the facts of which he is accused, but refuse the proposed sentence.

This refusal may be motivated by a desire to inform the correctional court of defenses or procedural defects.

When the person refuses the proposed sentence or made by the judge an order refusing approval, the prosecutor must refer the case to the correctional court for a trial.

The person may appear voluntarily or be quoted by a Commissioner of Justice or be summoned for minutes.


Before the commencement of the proceedings, the public prosecutor may issue a double summons. The person will be provided with a summons to the CPCC hearing and a summons to the Correctional Court. This anticipation is intended to prevent the absence of the person or the refusal of the proposed sentence.

Requested cooling-off period

The accused person may ask a reflection period of 10 clear days before accepting or refusing the sentence proposed by the prosecutor. She will be called at a later hearing date.

In this case, the prosecutor may decide to present the person before the judge of liberty and detention (JLD: titleContent).

The latter may order a placement under judicial review or under electronic bracelet. It may also decide to invest in pretrial detention if one of the proposed sentences is equal to or greater than 2 months' imprisonment and the prosecutor has requested its immediate execution.

In such cases, the new appearance of the person before the prosecutor must take place within 10 to 20 days from the JLD decision.

At this public hearing, the presence of the prosecutor is not mandatory, because there is no debate on guilt and punishment.

The judge checks the facts. If they are an offense. They hear the person and their counsel on the proposed sentence.

The judge may decide to approve (i.e. validate) or refuse the prosecutor's proposal. It may not amend or supplement it.

The public hearing and the judge's decision must take place on the same day.

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The judge validates the proposal

The judge shall make a order of referenceapproval.

This document validates the agreement you've been with the D.A. It has the same value as a classic judgment.

The judge's decision states that the person is guilty party who are blamed on her and that she recognizes them.

She mentioned that the proposed penalties are justified having regard to the circumstances of the offense and the personality of the offender.

Finally, it indicates that the person accepts the proposed penalty(s) by the public prosecutor.

The order must be notified to the person concerned.

The judge does not validate the proposal

The judge may to refuse approval if he finds that the person does not recognize the facts and does not accept the proposed penalties.

It may also refuse if it considers that the alleged offense, the victim's situation or the author's personality justify a hearing before the correctional court. This is the case, for example, when the victim's statements provide new information about the facts or about the personality of the perpetrator.

In the event of refusal of approval, the prosecutor seizes, except where new, the correctional court for trial.

The person may appear voluntarily, be quoted by a Commissioner of Justice or be summoned by minutes.

The order is immediately enforceable, both for main penalties and for supplementary penalties. Which means it can be applied as soon as pronounced.

The public prosecutor may proceed immediately to the implementing measures certain penalties, such as the suspension of driving licenses.

If the penalty is a life sentencefirm imprisonmentHowever, the convicted person may go to prison after the hearing, even if he or she may challenge the decision.

If the penalty is a life sentenceamenable imprisonment, the convicted person shall immediately be summoned to the .

If the penalty is a life sentencefine, a record of the criminal conviction shall be sent to the convicted person indicating how to pay it. The convicted person shall receive a 20% reduction if the fine is paid within 30 days of notification.

Please note

The conviction shall be entered in the criminal record of the perpetrator.

The convicted person shall have a period of 10 days from notification of the decision, for appeal of the approval order. This is calledmain call.

The appeals court will retry the case.

If the convicted person is the only one to appealHowever, the court of appeal cannot increase the sentence validated at the certification hearing.

The court of appeal may increase the sentence only if the prosecutor makes a cross-call. That is to say, whether the prosecutor also appeals after the one brought by the convicted person.

The identified victim must be informed without delay of the implementation of the CRPC procedure prior to the certification hearing.

The PRCA procedure does not prevent the victim from obtaining compensation by civil party.

She can ask compensation for his loss, by the payment of damages before or during the certification hearing.

She's invited to appear with the perpetrator, at the certification hearing. She can be heard. However, its presence is not mandatory.

In case of absence, it must send in its civil party constitution and his claim for compensation no later than the day of the hearing. The judge may accept or refuse his or her requests. He decides on the amount of compensation.

If it so wishes, the civil party may be assisted by a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

It may apply for legal aid if his income is insufficient.

The civil party may appeal of that decision within 10 days from the date of delivery of the contradictory judgment, that is to say, in the presence of the parties or their lawyers.


If the civil party was unable to claim compensation at the certification hearing, the prosecutor must inform them that they can do so quote the perpetrator before the correctional court. In this case, it is a hearing on civil interests. That is, the court does not hand down a sentence, but only decides on its compensation.

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