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Procedure before the Police Court

Verified 20 avril 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Proceedings before criminal courts

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.

The Police Court shall have jurisdiction to try the author of tickets.. The public prosecutor may implement a simplified procedure without a hearing giving rise to a penal order.. It may also decide to prosecute by ordinary procedure with a hearing and a judgment. The victim can form civil party before the police court. The decision of the court shall be subject to appeal.

Simplified procedure

It allows for fast processing of cases. It can be implemented for all categories of tickets for a major perpetrator. It does not give rise to a hearing.

The Police Court shall have jurisdiction to try offenders who have committed police offenses undermother to 51st class. Contraventions are offenses for which the law provides for a fine not exceeding €3,000.. They can be associated with additional penalties (suspension of licenses, immobilization of vehicles, confiscation of weapons, withdrawal of hunting licenses, prohibition of issuing checks, etc.).

The public prosecutor shall bring the matter before the competent police court, which may be the court of:

  • Place of offense
  • Place of residence of the perpetrator
  • Location of the company headquarters.

Only Public Prosecutor may apply to the police court for a simplified procedure. He then transmits the file of the prosecution (police report) accompanied by his requisitions to the judge of the police court.

The judge shall decide without debate by a criminal order.

The public ministry a 10 days to opposition the order. After this period the criminal order is notified to the defendant.

The criminal order is notified ::

  • By registered letter with notice of receipt
  • Or verbally by the Public Prosecutor's Office as part of a summons to the court to notify him of the criminal order
  • Or by an authorized person (judicial police officer).

By mail

The person sentenced by criminal order may object.

She 30 days to act upon sending the registered letter with notice of receipt.

If she has not received the registered letter, the opposition period shall run from the date on which she became aware of the criminal order.

If the notification has been made orally, the period shall run from the day of the notification.

The opposition may be made by letter addressed to the transplant of the police court which issued the criminal order (the postmark shall be authentic).

The case shall be retried in the ordinary form.

On site

The person sentenced by criminal order may object.

She 30 days to act upon sending the registered letter with notice of receipt.

If she has not received the registered letter, the opposition period shall run from the date on which she became aware of the criminal order.

If the notification has been made orally, the period shall run from the day of the notification.

The opposition may be made by verbal declaration to the head of the registry of the police court who registers it. It shall be signed by the accused and the accused or his representative (lawyer or a representative with a special power).

The case shall be retried in the ordinary form.

Ordinary procedure

The parties are heard at a hearing, at the end of which the court pronounces a judgment. Lawyer is not required.

The Police Court shall have jurisdiction to try offenders who have committed police offenses undermother to 51st class. Contraventions are offenses for which the law provides for a fine not exceeding €3,000.. They can be associated with additional penalties (suspension of licenses, immobilization of vehicles, confiscation of weapons, withdrawal of hunting licenses, prohibition of issuing checks, etc.).

The public prosecutor shall bring the matter before the competent police court, which may be the court of:

  • Place of offense
  • Place of residence of the perpetrator
  • Location of the company headquarters.

The matter shall be referred to the Police Court in one of the following ways:

  • Quote or written summons of the public prosecutor
  • Direct Quote on the initiative of the victim of the offense
  • Order for dismissal of judge instruction
  • Voluntary appearance of the perpetrator following the opinion delivered to him by the public prosecutor

The presiding officer shall hear the parties (warned, civil party) and any witnesses. It examines the evidence and the various exhibits produced by the parties. He may conduct interviews or confrontations

He hears requisitions of the Public Prosecutor's Office seeking a penalty for the accused or requesting his relaxation..

The accused shall be given the last word.

  FYI : minutes of proceedings or reports drawn up by judicial police officers shall be authentic until proven otherwise, unless evidence or written evidence to the contrary proves otherwise.

The president of the court shall decide on the offenses and damages requested by the victim.

He may make his judgment immediately or put it under advisement. The judgment shall then be delivered at a later date which it shall fix.

He may impose a fine and possibly an additional penalty. This may include suspension of the driver's license, immobilization of the vehicle, withdrawal of the hunting license, prohibition of issuing checks, confiscation of the thing used to commit the offense (weapon...).

If he considers that the accused has not committed an offense, he shall relaxation..

If the victim has filed a claim for compensation for damages, he shall order the defendant to pay damages.

The remedy depends on the qualification and the penalty pronounced. This qualification must be indicated in the decision. It depends on whether the person was properly summoned and whether or not he or she was present at the hearing.

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Judgments which may be appealed are those for which the parties have been regularly summoned. It's about judgments contradictory (attendance at hearing) and judgements conflicting (absence from the hearing).

The appeal concerns:

  • 5second class (penalty up to €1,500),
  • or the judgments which have suspended driving licenses
  • or judgments which have imposed a fine exceeding €150..

The right to appeal shall be given:

  • to warned or his lawyer
  • to responsible person, (e.g. the employer of a truck driver)
  • to civil party
  • the Public Prosecutor's Office (Public Prosecutor, Public Prosecutor).

The time limit for appealing is 10 days from the delivery of the judgment (contradictory judgment) or the service of the judgment (contradictory judgment to be served).

The statement of appeal shall be made at transplant of the court which issued the decision.

The case is retried by the Court of Appeal.

Opposition 

The case is retried by the police court that issued the judgment.

Theopposition concerns judgments handed down by defect (parties not aware of the summons and absent from the hearing).

The parties 10 days from the service of the judgment to object.

The opposition is either:

  • by letter addressed to transplant who made the criminal order (postmark proves date)
  • by verbal declaration to the registry which registers it. It shall be signed by the defendant or his lawyer.

Appeal in cassation

Appeals in cassation are the only possible remedy for final judgements. These are the judgements punishing the offenses of the 1mere to 4second class (up to€1,500 fine).

The time limit for filing an appeal in cassation is 5 days from the date of delivery of the decision or meaning..

The appeal in cassation shall be lodged at the transplant the police court.

  Please note : The court of cassation don't rejudge the case. It only verifies that the law and procedure have been followed.