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Pre-Conviction Appearance (PRCC)

Verified 30 April 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Proceedings before criminal courts

Published on : 19 Nov 2020

Since 20 November 2020, criminal courts may amend the rules of procedure applicable to the cases they deal with in order to continue their activities during the state of health emergency. Changes may include:

  • Access by the public and lawyers to courts and courtrooms
  • Use of the single judge procedure
  • Conduct of the hearing or hearing by audiovisual means of telecommunication
  • Transfer of a case to another court of the same jurisdiction

These possibilities for amending the rules of procedure are provided for in Order No. 2020-1401 of 18 November 2020 .. They will cease one month after the end of the state of health emergency, on March 16, 2021.

Pre-conviction (PRCC) is a procedure that allows for the speedy trial of the perpetrator of a crime offense which recognizes the facts. We also talk about plead guilty.. It is applied to some offense at the request of public prosecutor or the perpetrator. A sentence is proposed to the perpetrator by the prosecutor. If accepted, the judge shall validate the decision. The victim must be informed of this procedure.

The public prosecutor may only appeal to a court on the basis of a preliminary conviction (CRPC) if the person accused is of a legal age. She must acknowledge the facts against her. Otherwise, it's the standard procedure which must apply.

The person must be prosecuted for some offense.. The crimes and tickets are therefore excluded.

The following offenses shall not be subject to plead guilty ::

  • Offenses punished by imprisonment for more than 5 years (violence, threats sexual assault and injuries for manslaughter)
  • Press releases (insult, defamation...)
  • Political offenses (e.g. participation in an unauthorized event)

Prosecutor's proposal

Based on the facts and after investigation, the prosecutor may consider that a CPRC procedure is preferable to a traditional hearing before the correctional court. He or she shall inform the accused person or his or her lawyer of the proposals he or she intends to make. The accused must be assisted by his lawyer. If she does not have sufficient income, she can apply for legal aid..

Who shall I contact

The prosecutor summons the person before him, in the presence of his lawyer, and proposes to him to implement one or more penalties if he admits the facts. The prosecutor may propose imprisonment and/or a fine.

The term of imprisonment may not exceed 3 years or more than half of the sentence. The amount of the fine may not exceed the amount of the fine incurred.

The prosecutor may also propose to apply all or part of the supplementary penalty incurred for this offense (withdrawal of license...).

Such penalties may be accompanied by suspension.. The person in this case does not go to jail or pay the fine.

If the prosecutor proposes a firm prison sentence, he must specify whether the sentence is immediately carried out or not. If he is, he will go to prison at the end of the hearing. If he proposes that the sentence be adjusted, the person will then be summoned before the enforcement judge to determine the method of execution (electronic bracelet, semi-liberty...).

The prosecutor may also propose a sentence that results in the cancelation of a previously granted reprieve. He may propose that the sentence not be entered in the criminal record number 2 or 3.. It may propose that a prohibition or an incapacity resulting automatically from a conviction (e.g.: prohibition of voting) does not apply.

Please note

during a judicial information, the investigating judge may also request a procedure of CRPC. In that case, he sends the case back to the prosecutor.

Decision of the respondent

The accused may freely consult with his lawyer before making his decision.

Three solutions are possible for her. She can accept the proposed sentence immediately, refuse it or request a reflection period of up to 10 days.

  • If the proposal is accepted, the prosecutor must refer the matter to a judge (the president of the correctional court or a delegated judge) for a hearing type approval..
  • If the proposal is refused, the prosecutor shall, unless there is a new element, refer the matter to the correctional court for a standard trial, after the judge has issued a refusal order type approval..
  • If a cooling-off period is requested, the public prosecutor may decide to bring the accused before the judge of liberty and detention. The latter may order one of the following measures: launching under judicial review, placing under electronic bracelet, placement remand if one of the proposed sentences is equal to or greater than 2 months' imprisonment and the prosecutor has requested immediate execution. In such cases, the reappearance of the person before the prosecutor must take place within 10 to 20 days of the decision of the judge of liberty and detention.

Approval hearing

The accused and his or her lawyer are heard by the judge (the president of the correctional court or a delegated judge).

The judge may decide to approve (i.e. validate) or refuse the prosecutor's proposal. It cannot change or supplement it. The public hearing and the Chairperson's decision must be held on the same day.

Judge validates proposal

The judge issues a probate order. This is the document that validates the agreement with the prosecutor. It has the same value as a classic judgment. The presence of the prosecutor is not mandatory at this hearing.

The judge's decision must first state that the person is guilty of the facts alleged against him and that he recognizes those facts. It indicates that the person accepts the penalty(s) proposed by the public prosecutor. It must state that the proposed penalties are justified in the circumstances of the offense and the personality of the offender.

The order is immediately enforceable and can be enforced upon delivery. If, for example, the judge validates the proposed sentence of imprisonment, at the end of the hearing the person goes to prison even if he or she can challenge the decision.

The order must be notified to the person concerned, who has a 10 days for appeal..

If the convicted person appeals, the Court of Appeal may not impose a more severe sentence than that validated at the probate hearing.

If the prosecutor appeals, the Court of Appeal may, in that case, impose a sentence higher than the one that has been validated.

Please note

the decision on conviction shall be entered in the criminal record the perpetrator.

Judge does not validate proposal

The judge may refuse the registration if the person does not recognize the facts and does not accept the proposed sentences.

It may also refuse to grant a license if it considers that the proposed penalties are not sufficient in relation to the circumstances of the offense, the situation of the victim and the personality of the perpetrator.

The judge may also refuse the registration if he or she considers it necessary to hold an ordinary correctional hearing in the circumstances of the case. This is the case, for example, when the victim's statements provide new information on the facts or on the personality of the perpetrator.

In the event of a refusal to grant a license, the public prosecutor shall, unless there is a new element, correctional court for a standard trial.

The victim must be informed without delay of the implementation of the procedure before the certification hearing.

The establishment of a CPRC does not prevent the victim from obtaining compensation. She can constitute itself civil and ask compensation for damage by the payment of damages before or during the certification hearing.

She shall be heard at that hearing if she is present. However, it is not required to be present at the registration hearing.

In her absence, she must have sent her civil suit and claim for compensation by the day of the hearing. The judge may accept or refuse such requests.

If she so wishes, she may be assisted by a lawyer. It may apply for legal aid if the income is insufficient.

Who shall I contact

The president of the court shall decide the amount of compensation. The victim can appeal the decision in 10 days after notification..


if the victim has not claimed compensation at the certification hearing, the prosecutor must inform the victim that he or she may prosecute the perpetrator before the correctional court by direct quote.. The court will decide only on the compensation of the victim, not on a prison sentence or a fine.