French Criminal Courts
Depending of the seriousness of the offense commited, the suspect may be judged by one of the three following criminal courts.
The Tribunal of Police (Tribunal de Police)
The Tribunal of Police is competent to judge cases relating to minor offenses classified under French penal code as "contraventions" (like minor violences, driving offenses etc.) punishable only by fines up to 3000€ and no time in prison.
The Tribunal of police is composed of a single judge.
A Prosecutor represents the accusation before the Tribunal of police.
The Correctionnal Tribunal (Tribunal correctionnel)
The Correctionnal Tribunal is competent to judge serious offenses classified under French penal code as "délits" which in France are punishable by up to ten years in prison.
The Correctionnal Tribunal is usually composed of three judges.
A Prosecutor represents the accusation.
The Assize Court (Cour d'Assies)
The Assize Court is competent to judge felonies, which are the most serious offenses classified under French penal code as "crimes" and punishable by criminal imprisonment between ten years and life in prison.
The Assize Court is composed of three professionnal judges and six jurors. In appeal, the court is composed of three professional judges and nine jurors.
A special Prosecutor called the General Advocate ("Avocat Général") represents the accusation.