The trial will normally be held in the area where the offence was committed. The court that hears the case will depend on the nature of the offence; it will be the court whose turn it is in the rotation.
The trial is, in general, public, unless it could be morally damaging, it could have an effect on public order or it could affect the victim or respect for the victim’s family.
A judge or a court with three sitting judges will deliver judgment, depending on the offence or the conviction sought. A jury only hands down a verdict on innocence or guilt.
Exceptionally, the charges can be changed, but only if there is a mistake in the specification of charges.
If you plead guilty during the trial, the procedure will carry on to verify if you actually committed the crime you are charged with.
You have the right to be assisted by a lawyer of your choice or by a legal-aid lawyer. If you do not like your lawyer, you may ask to be assisted by another lawyer.
You have the right to be assisted by an interpreter if you do not understand the language.
If the penalty for the offence in question is less than a two-year prison sentence, you will not have to be present at the trial.
If the penalty for the offence is more than a two-year term of imprisonment, you will have to be present at the trial.
If you are the suspect, you may not appear by way of video conference, even if you live in another Member State.
You may speak at the trial only if you are asked a question. But, remember, you have the right to remain silent, to refuse to give testimony and not to plead guilty.
You have the right to remain silent, not to give testimony and not to plead guilty to the crime you have been charged with and not to incriminate yourself. You also have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
You have the right to challenge the evidence which is produced against you. Your lawyer will do that when he decides it is necessary.
You may produce all the evidence that you believe is necessary. You may produce the evidence, but the judge will decide if the evidence is admitted or rejected.
If you believe it is necessary, you can use private detectives to obtain evidence; their reports are admissible as evidence.
The lawyer will request the admission of witnesses to speak for you. Your lawyer can also question the other witnesses and challenge what they say.
Yes, your criminal record and previous convictions will be taken into account as aggravating circumstances, both at the pre-trial phase and when judgment is delivered.
Previous convictions in another Member State will be taken into consideration depending on the crime committed.
At the end of the trial, the judge will deliver judgment. The verdict can be not guilty (no culpability) or conviction (you will be found guilty of committing the crime and, if appropriate, the penalty will be decided).
The sentences may be:
The victim is considered as a witness for the prosecution and will give testimony during the pre-trial stage and during the trial.
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