Summary punishment

A preliminary investigation does not always lead to a prosecution and trial, even though the prosecutor may feel that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the crime has been committed.

If the suspect admits that he/she has committed the offence and it is clear what the punishment should be, the prosecutor can pronounce a so-called order of summary punishment.

An order of summary punishment has the same effect as a judgement and is recorded in the Criminal Records Registry. The difference is that the prosecutor cannot bring charges, which means in turn that there will be no trial.

In the case of summary punishment, a form is sent to the suspect on which he/she admits to the offence and accepts the punishment. This is voluntary and the suspect may choose to allow the prosecutor to bring charges and have the case tried in a court of law instead. 

Summary punishment is possible in the case of an offence for which the punishment is restricted to a fine and/or conditional sentence. Examples of such offences are theft, shoplifting and traffic infringements.