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Verified 27 octobre 2021 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Registration of rights notification

On an experimental basis and up to 1to in january 2022, the police and the gendarmerie are required to make audio and visual recordings of the notification of the rights of detainees. The police stations and gendarmerie involved are: Aurillac, Rennes, Reims, Pau, Paris 13e, Rosny-sous-Bois, L'Isle-Adam, Évry, Annecy, Bourgoin-Jallieu and the regional transport security.

Detention is a custodial measure taken against a person suspected of committing a crime offenceduring a judicial investigation. It allows the investigator to have the suspect at his disposal so that he can question him and check whether his statements are correct. The period of custody is limited. The suspect has the right to be detained, including the right to be assisted by a lawyer.

A person may be taken into custody only if he is charged with crime or offence punishable by imprisonment. There must be valid reasons to believe that the person has committed or attempted to commit an offence.

A judicial police officer (OPJ), at his initiative or on the instruction of the public prosecutor, may decide to take custody. The OPJ can be a policeman or a policeman. At the beginning of the detention, he must inform the public prosecutor.

It shall be the only means of achieving at least one of the following objectives:

  • Continue investigation with suspect
  • Ensuring the person's presentation to justice
  • Prevent destruction of clues
  • Preventing consultation, i.e. a conversation with accomplices
  • Prevent pressure on witnesses or victims
  • Stop the current offence

  FYI : a person suspected of an offence may also be heard in free hearing.

Initial

The duration of custody shall be 24 hours, but this period may be shortened or extended.

The start of police custody is when the suspect is held, sometimes forcefully, by the OPJ. For example, the suspect is prevented from leaving the premises of the judicial police.

He must be informed immediately of his detention in police custody. But the information can be made later, if the situation does not allow it at the time the custody begins.

Arrest

The beginning of the police custody is the moment of arrest.

Example :

If a person is arrested on Monday at 15:00 and then taken to the police station at 16:00, the start of the police custody is 15:00 and the end is Tuesday at 15:00.

Driving in alcohol or under narcotic

The start of police custody is the time of the blood alcohol or drug test, in case of a traffic offence.

Example :

If a person is checked and tested at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday and then taken to the police station where further tests are carried out until 8:00 p.m., custody begins at 7:00 p.m. and ends Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Decay

The beginning of the police custody is the time of placement relief chamber.

Example :

If a person is placed in a clearance cell on Thursday at 10:00 p.m., custody will end Friday at 10:00 p.m., regardless of when the OPJ announced the custody.

Extension

Detention may be extended if the offence is punishable by a prison term of at least 1 year. The extension must be the only means of achieving one of the objectives that allowed initial custody, namely:

  • Continue investigation with suspect
  • Ensuring the person's presentation to justice
  • Prevent destruction of clues
  • Prevent a dialogue, that is, a conversation with accomplices
  • Prevent pressure on witnesses or victims
  • Stop the current offence

The initial period of custody may be increased by 24 hours (48 hours in total). This extension is decided by the public prosecutor in case investigation or preliminary investigation or by the examining magistrate in the context of judicial information.

Prior to this extension, the suspect held in custody may be heard by the competent magistrate. It can be heard in court or by video conference.

For serious offences, police custody may be extended to a total of 72 hours (or 96 and 14 hours, in case of drug trafficking, terrorism, etc.). In these cases, the decision is taken by the examining magistrate, during a judicial investigation, or by the JLD in other cases.

Rights Notifications

The judicial police officer (OPJ) shall inform the person in custody immediately and in a language which he understands of the following:

  • Commencement of custody, duration and possibility of extension of initial term
  • Suspected offence, date and place of commission
  • Objectives of custody
  • Right to medical examination
  • Right to have a relative (only one), her employer, notified by telephone and if she is a foreign national, the consular authorities of her country
  • Right to be assisted by a lawyer, chosen by him or her clerk, from the beginning of police custody
  • Right to be assisted by an interpreter
  • Right to remain silent, make statements or answer OPJ questions
  • Right to make representations to the magistrate who may extend custody
  • Right to read, at the latest before the possible extension of the period of custody, the minutes indicating the beginning of the detention, the interrogation records. If it exists, it can also read the medical certificate issued by the doctor who came to examine it at the premises of the judicial police.

  Please note : written notice of these rights shall be given to the person who is detained when he or she is informed of the commencement of his or her detention.

Right to contact with family and employer

The suspect has the right to have a relative notified of his custody. He can only warn one of the following:

  • Person he usually lives with
  • Father or Mother
  • One of her grandparents
  • One of his children
  • A brother or sister

In order to keep or obtain new evidence, the investigating magistrate may decide that the relative is not notified, or that he will be notified later. For example, if a search is required, to avoid concealing evidence, the public prosecutor may delay the moment he warns the person chosen by the suspect.

The prosecutor may also delay or not even grant information to a loved one to prevent a serious breach of a person's life, liberty or physical integrity. This is the case, for example, if the prosecutor fears that a family member of the suspect may attack the complainant or a witness.

The person being held in custody may request to contact one of his or her relatives in writing, by telephone, or to have an interview. The OPJ may refuse if this communication would disturb the investigation and allow a new offence.

  Please note : where the person in custody is the subject of a legal protection measure, the OPJ must notify the curator or guardian.

Right to a lawyer

The suspect being held in custody may seek the assistance of a lawyer at the beginning of the detention. He or she shall appoint a lawyer whom he or she knows or ask for a lawyer clerk.

If the suspect being held in custody asks for a lawyer, his 1mother the hearing shall begin in the presence of his or her defence counsel unless the hearing relates solely to his or her identity. If a 2-hour period has elapsed since the lawyer's contact and the lawyer has not arrived, the hearing may still take place. The judge in charge of the case (judge or public prosecutor) may authorise an immediate hearing.

Upon arrival, the lawyer can speak with his client for 30 minutes and consult the following documents:

  • Hearing minutes
  • Notice of detention
  • Medical Certificate (if issued)

In the event of an extension of custody, the lawyer may once again meet with his client for 30 minutes.

The lawyer can attend all interrogations and take notes. They may also assist the person being held in custody during a reenactment or be present at an identification session in which the suspect participates.

At the end of each interrogation, the lawyer can ask questions. The OPJ may oppose this only if it is likely to prevent the investigation from proceeding properly.

Counsel may also make representations in which he may note the questions refused. These observations are attached to the proceeding.

If the person in custody is taken to another location, his lawyer is immediately notified.

Palpation or search

The person being held in custody may be subjected to a security clearance or search if necessary for the investigation. These acts are carried out by the police or the gendarmerie:

  • Manual or with electronic detection. An agent, of the same sex as the person being searched, touches her on her clothes. This agent may ask him to remove certain clothing, but full stripping is prohibited. The purpose of this palpation is to verify that the suspect who is being held in custody does not carry a dangerous object. Consent is not required.
  • Full search if the above 2 acts are insufficient. It must be essential for the investigation. The suspect being held in custody may be brought to undress. This search must be done by an OPJ of the same sex as the person being searched and in a closed place.

Only a doctor can perform a body search. It is used if the suspect is being held in custody and is suspected of hiding an object inside his body (e.g. a drug dump).

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Release

At the end of police custody, the person is released by decision of the public prosecutor or the judge.

Deferral to court

At the end of the police custody, the suspect who is being held in custody is transferred from the premises of the judicial police to the court. An interview is obligatory with the public prosecutor or the judge who will decide on the judicial follow-up. This presentation must be made on the same day as the end of custody.

  Warning : if the presentation to the public prosecutor or the judge cannot be made on the same day of custody, it must be made within a maximum of 20 hours after the end of the custody. Meanwhile, the suspect is held in one of the court cells.