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 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.
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You will always be arraigned before the Court of Magistrates. If you are arraigned under arrest, the Court must first decide whether your continued detention is founded on a provision of law and then inform you that you may request bail. If you are not arraigned under arrest, you will be notified of the charges and of the date when you must appear in court for the first hearing.
There are three different types of trials depending on the seriousness of the charges brought against you:
Summary proceedings before the Court of Magistrates
Proceedings before the Court of Magistrates following the compilation of evidence
Trial by jury
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.
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.
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.