3 — My rights during the trial

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What is the jurisdiction of which court?

There are three types of offences, each of which is judged by a different court:

  • Summary = in front of the police court (one judge)
  • Offence = before the correctional chamber of the district court (three judges except circulation: a judge)
  • Crime = before the Criminal Chamber of the Circuit Court (three judges)

An in camera can be ordered by the court, for example if a child is the victim.

To what extent can charges/charges be changed during the trial?

The principle is that the legal classification given is provisional and must not be taken into account by the court which hears the case.

In order to allow for a change in the charges, the basis of prosecution must be the same.

What happens if I plead guilty on all charges/charges or some of them during the trial?

We cannot plead guilty but an offence can be said. The court may none the less depart from an admission which he considers to be suspicious. However, the admission may be an attenuating circumstance.

What are your rights during the trial?

Must I be present at the trial? Can it be held without me?

You must go to the court, unless you provide an excuse, such as a medical certificate. The trial may then be postponed. You can instruct your lawyer to represent you, unless your presence is required by the court. For crimes you are obliged to come in person.

If I live in another Member State, can I take part in a video? Am I obliged to accept?

This possibility of participation by video for a person residing in another State is not provided for by law.

Should I be present throughout the trial?

Yes, as the judge may wish to hear you at any time.

Will I have an interpretation if I do not understand the language of the court/tribunal?

The right to have the free assistance of an interpreter if you do not understand or speak the language used at the hearing is a fundamental right guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the documents in the file will not be translated.

Do I need a lawyer? Will a lawyer be granted? Can I change lawyer?

You have the right to defend yourself or to have the assistance of a lawyer of your choice and if you do not have the means to pay for legal assistance, to be assisted by a lawyer (legal assistance). You can still change your lawyer.

Can I speak at the trial? Should I speak at the trial? E.g. right of silence, self-prosecution?

You have the right to speak on all charges. You also have the right to remain silent in the face of the accusations that you are accused of.

What will be the consequences if I am not telling the truth during the trial?

If you do not tell the truth during the trial, you run the risk of a higher penalty.

Can I challenge the evidence put forward against me? How? Why?

Disputing the evidence put forward against you is possible by any means, such as, for example, witnesses, documents, arguments or experts.

What sort of evidence can I put forward in my favour?

The court must take into account all means of proof.

In what circumstances can I put forward such evidence?

Such evidence may be advanced subject to the double condition, whether they have been properly placed on the file and subject to the free discussion of the parties in a public debate.

Can I use a private detective to obtain evidence in my favour? Are such evidence admissible?

The use of a detective in order to obtain evidence is not prohibited, but it is also necessary for that detective to have acted lawfully.

I or my lawyer, can we ask other witnesses in the case? I or my lawyer, can we challenge what they say?

The right to the hearing of witnesses results from the rights of the defence set out in Article 6 (3) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The defence can summon and question witnesses to exculpate itself under the same conditions as witnesses against you.

Will information on your criminal record be taken into account?

Any previous conviction on your criminal record will be provided to the court at the trial.

Will previous convictions in another Member State be taken into account?

No, for repeat offences. Yes, for the conditions for the grant of suspension.

What are the possible outcomes of the trial?

You can be paid in full or in part. You can also be found guilty. The penalty will depend on the crime you are guilty of.

Criminal penalties are:

  • The life and/or life imprisonment of 5 to 30 years
  • The fine of at least EUR 251
  • Special confiscation
  • Dismissal of titles, grades, posts and public offices
  • Ban on certain civil and political rights
  • The closure of an undertaking and of an establishment
  • Publication or display, at the expense of the convicted person, of the judgment or of an extract of the decision to sentence
  • Prohibition on the exercise of certain professional activities

Punishments are:

  • Imprisonment (8 days to 5 years)
  • The fine of at least EUR 251
  • Special confiscation
  • The prohibition of certain civil and political rights
  • Closure of an undertaking or business
  • Publication or display of the sentence
  • Prohibition on the exercise of certain professional activities
  • Prohibition to drive certain vehicles
  • If imprisonment is less than 6 months, the judge has the option of substituting work in the general interest for a period of 40 to 240 hours.

Police sentences are:

  • Fine of EUR 25 to EUR 250 unless otherwise provided by law
  • Special confiscation
  • Prohibition to drive certain vehicles

If you are sentenced to a term of imprisonment, what are the possibilities for the execution of the custodial sentence?

In Luxembourg, the State Prosecutor General decides on the methods of enforcing custodial sentences without the involvement of a judge.

There are different possibilities:

Fractional implementation

The split allows the detainee who does not present a hazard to run his period to agreed periods.

Day release

This scheme provides for the possibility for the detainee to engage in a professional activity or to participate in an education or training abroad.

Release on parole

It allows half of the sentence to be released.

Criminal leave

Criminal leave is an authorisation to leave the prison service, either during part of a day or during periods of 24 hours, which counts for calculating the length of the sentence.

Suspended sentences

With a view to the conditional release or final enlargement, a suspension of the sentence may be granted to convicted persons whose development during the leave granted was considered positive.

Electronic wristband

No law has yet clarified its use.

What is the role of the victim during the trial?

The victim may be heard as a witness. It will also be able to become a civil party, that is to say, to claim damages. It may take a position on the alleged infringement and its consequences. It may appeal against the judgments, but only in respect of its civil interests.

Related links

Link opens in new windowOrganisation of the courts

Link opens in new windowPenal Code

Link opens in new windowCode of Criminal Procedure

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Last update: 10/09/2019