Criminal Ordinance

Verified 11 March 2022 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

The Criminal Ordinance allows the public prosecutor to bring some of them to trial contraventions and some offenses. It is a simplified procedure for dealing with a simple and minor case, by a single judge without a hearing. The defendant shall be tried promptly and the compensation of the victim shall be taken into account.

The Criminal Ordinance allows only certain offenses and offenses to be tried. The judge shall make either a criminal order for a contravention or a criminal order depending on the seriousness of the offense committed.

This procedure cannot apply if the victim directly summoned the accused to the correctional court before the order was issued.

There are 2 types of criminal orders.

Contravention Criminal Order

It is necessary to distinguish between acts committed by an adult and those committed by a minor.


The procedure of the Criminal Ordinance is applicable to contraventions of the 1st to 5th classes.

Labor code violations are also covered.

It is also possible in case of recurrence.


Only the first 4 class tickets are concerned.

It is also possible in case of recurrence.

Criminal Ordinance

For an offense to be tried by criminal order, the judicial police investigation must establish 4 elements:

  • The charges against the accused are simple and certain
  • The information on the accused's personality, charges and resources is sufficient to decide on the sentence
  • A term of imprisonment or a fine exceeding €5,000
  • The proceedings do not infringe on the rights of the victim

This procedure applies to the accused major at the time of the events.

The criminal ordinance procedure is applicable to offenses for which the prison sentence is not necessary, because the facts are not serious.

It may concern the following offenses:

Please note

the criminal ordinance cannot apply to offenses of personal injury. For example, this is the case of intentional violence with total incapacity for work (ITT) of more than 8 days and threats of death, crime or misdemeanor against persons.

The penalties are different depending on the type of offense: contravention or offense.


For offenses from 1st to 5th class, the main penalty is the fine.

Some additional sentences may also be imposed. This is the case, for example, of suspension of the driving license for up to 1 year and withdrawal of the hunting license with a prohibition of up to 1 year from applying for a license.


Several sanctions are possible:

  • Fine (€5,000 being the maximum)
  • Fine days. For example: 30 days at €5 either €150 in total, to be paid to the public purse at the end of the 30 days.
  • Internship of a maximum duration of 1 month, at the expense of the convicted person. For example: citizenship training (learning the values of the Republic and the duties of the citizen), road safety training.
  • Alternative sentences to imprisonment. For example: suspension of driving license up to 5 years, confiscation of car, withdrawal of hunting license up to 5 years.
  • Work of general interest from 20 to 120 hours and unpaid (possible only if during the investigation the defendant agreed to serve this type of sentence)
  • Penalty - reparation (compensation for the victim's harm, as specified by the judge and a fine for non-execution)

Decision on the penalty

The public prosecutor decides alone to choose this simplified procedure.

He forwards the criminal investigation file (police or gendarmerie) with his requisitions to the president of the tribunal.

The President of the Police Court shall judge the contraventions.

The President of the Correctional Court shall judge the offenses.

The president of the court judges without the presence of the defendant. He decides on a relaxation (not guilty) or condemnation (convicted defendant) by criminal order. It shall choose the applicable penalties and shall state the reasons for its decision only in respect of offenses.

The criminal ordinance must contain information on the accused and the alleged offense:

  • Civil status (surname, forenames, date and place of birth)
  • Address
  • Qualification of the facts, date and place
  • Applicable criminal law

Enforcement of the penalty

The public prosecutor's office a 10 days to make opposition to this order.

After this period and for execution, the criminal order is brought to the attention of the defendant by registered letter with notice of receipt (LRAR). It is also possible to do so verbally by the public prosecutor or his delegate to the court. This is necessarily the case for fine days or work of general interest.

The accused shall be informed of the time limit for lodging an objection.

In the case of voluntary payment of the fine and the fixed procedural right, the sums shall be reduced by 20%. This payment must be made within 1 month of the registered letter or verbal notification being sent. The amount is payable to the public finance accountant.


the criminal order is entered on the criminal record for 5th class contraventions and offenses. For the first 4 class tickets, it is only in case of prohibition, disqualification or incapacity.

Opposition to the penalty

The sentenced person may object to:

  • By letter sent to the police or correctional court that made the decision
  • Or in court by a statement made by her. A lawyer or a special delegate (a person authorized to act in place of another with authority) may be chosen by him to make such a declaration.

It may limit its opposition to the criminal sanction (e.g. fine) or civil sanction (damages for the civil party).

She has 30 days (contravention) or 45 days (offense) to file an objection, on the basis of the letter recommended by the Clerk.

If the registered letter has not been received, the period for lodging an objection shall run from the date on which the person became aware of the order. For example, if a commissioner of justice (formerly bailiff and judicial auctioneer) executes the decision.

If the notification has been made orally, the time limit shall run from the same day.

The case is retried in the ordinary procedure in the police or correctional courts.

Until the hearing in court, the accused may waive his opposition. A new objection is no longer admissible and the order can be applied at the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Who shall I contact


Yes, the president of the police court can decide not to try. He then refers the case back to the public prosecutor’s office for ordinary proceedings in the police court. This is the case when a debate with the accused is useful or if sanctions other than the fine are to be imposed.

The accused may be assisted by a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

Yes, the president of the correctional tribunal can decide not to try. He then refers the case back to the prosecution for ordinary proceedings before the correctional court. This is the case when a debate with the accused is useful or when a prison sentence is to be imposed.

If the accused has committed more than one offense, the criminal order may not apply for an offense or a contravention. In this case and for all offenses, the accused will be tried in ordinary proceedings in the correctional court.

The accused may be assisted by a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

If the victim of the offense is known but has not been able to become a civil party during the investigation, the public prosecutor must inform him. This is also the case if the president of the tribunal has not been able to decide on civil interests.

The victim has the right to ask him to summon the perpetrator of the crime at a hearing on civil interests in the police or correctional court. If she exercises this right, she is notified of the date of the hearing in order to become a civil party.

The victim may also directly summon the accused to the police or correctional court before a criminal order is issued.

Where the victim, in the course of the investigation, has made a claim for damages or restitution of an object, the President of the Correctional Court shall make a decision in the correctional criminal order. If he cannot judge, he refers the case back to the public prosecutor's office to refer the civil interests to the court.

The order is given to the knowledge of the civil party by LRAR or by the public prosecutor. It shall have 45 days from the date of notification to oppose civil interests. In this case, the case is brought in ordinary proceedings before the correctional court.

As an exception, the judge cannot decide on civil interests for the contravention order. The victim may directly summon the accused to the police court, on civil interests.

Who shall I contact

Who can help me?

Find who can answer your questions in your region