These factsheets explain what happens when a person is suspected or accused of a crime which is dealt with by a trial in court. For information on minor offences like road traffic offences, which are usually dealt with by a fixed penalty like a fine, go to Factsheet 5.
If you are the victim of a crime, you can find full information about your rights here.
Summary of the criminal process
The following is a summary of the normal stages in the criminal process.
- Criminal investigation
- Consideration of charges and the prosecutor’s other decisions
- Trial in court
- Enforcement of the sentence
Details about all of these stages in the process and about your rights can be found in the factsheets. This information is not a substitute for legal advice and is intended to be for guidance only.
Role of the European Commission
Please note that the European Commission has no role in criminal proceedings in Member States and cannot assist you if you have a complaint. Information is provided in these factsheets about how to complain and to whom.
Click on the links below to find the information that you need
- First court hearing
- Before the main hearing
- Complaining about police actions
- Linguistic rights
The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.
Last update: 24/03/2015