These factsheets explain what happens if you are suspected of committing a crime. For information on traffic offences which may be subject only to a fine, see factsheet 6. If you are the victim of a crime, you can find full information about your rights here.
This section contains a brief outline of the steps involved in criminal proceedings.
Criminal proceedings are divided into three stages: Investigation, intermediate proceedings, and the main proceedings or trial (including appeals and enforcement).
There are variations on this. The main variations are summary proceedings (Strafbefehlsverfahren), discontinuation of proceedings (Einstellung des Verfahrens), and expedited proceedings (beschleunigtes Verfahren).
These factsheets contain details of the individual steps in criminal proceedings and of your rights. The information is for guidance only, and should not be considered a substitute for legal advice.
Please note that the European Commission has no role in criminal proceedings in Member States and cannot assist you if you have a complaint.
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.