Criminal Law Issues in France


Droit pénal (criminal law) - French criminal law is governed by the Code pénal and criminal offences – or infractions can generally be classified under the three following categories:

Contraventions – or petty offences, these can include road traffic offences such as speeding, parking irregularities etc and should this type of infraction continue to court it would be heard before the Tribunal de Police, there is no jury at this Tribunal.


Délits – or misdemeanours, more serious offences which may include actual bodily harm, injury, thefts etc – these infractions are dealt with before the Tribunal Correctionnel, there is no jury at this Tribunal.

Crimes – serious offences – rape, murder etc are dealt with before the Cour d’Assisses, there are twelve people of which 9 are citizens selected randomly from the electoral register to sit as a jury and three trial Judges.

In this situation a specialist trial lawyer is absolutely imperative to assist in all aspects of the process.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this page does not set out to give anything other than a glimpse of certain aspects of this area of French Law. Professional advice should always be sought from a qualified French lawyer.


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