It is not enough to file a complaint to initiate legal proceedings. This choice is up to the prosecutor.

But sometimes the classification without continuation, also called ranking 21, will be imposed on him for legal reasons.

If he refuses to initiate proceedings, he will render a reasoned decision explaining to the victim why no action was taken on his complaint and whose cause is necessarily listed below.

  • Absence of offense: It is not enough to claim to be a victim to file a complaint. The facts complained of must constitute a reprehensible criminal offense. Very often certain facts which are however damaging cannot be prosecuted in criminal proceedings but in civil proceedings.
  • Insufficiently characterized offense: In this case, the charges do constitute a criminal offense, but it is not sufficiently characterized to consider prosecution. An element (material or intentional) provided for by the legislator is missing.
  • Author unknown: The facts took place in undetermined circumstances (when, for example, during a fight the investigation did not allow to know precisely the author of the violence)
  • Insufficient evidence
  • Amnesty: the amnesty law having extinguished public action prevents any prosecution.
  • Transaction: The victim obtains compensation
  • Death of the respondent,
  • Prescription of the denounced facts
  • Modification of the law: the facts are no longer prosecuted
  • Res judicata: The charges have already been judged
  • Criminal composition: If the perpetrator of an offense has agreed to submit to a criminal composition and respected the obligations imposed on him, in particular those to compensate the victim, this will terminate the public action.
  • Immunity: They concern diplomats, politicians and the family.
  • Self-defense.
  • Force majeure.
  • Irresponsibility of the author established by expertise.
  • Underage accused whose capacity for discernment is not established.
  • Procedural irregularities: If the case is vitiated by a procedural irregularity, it would have no chance of ending up in court which will declare the procedure null and void.
  • Failure of the complainant: The victim files a complaint and then loses interest in the legal action. She does not go to the summons of the investigators ...
  • Fault of the victim: If she provoked the acts of violence of which she would have to complain.
  • Reparation of the victim: The perpetrator compensates the victim
  • Regularization of the author of an offence: Obtain the authorization of the competent administrative services since the observation of the offense (building permit, hunting permit, etc.).
  • Alternative to prosecution (article 41-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure): The respondent is involved in a case liable to prosecution, and which has benefited from an alternative measure to prosecution such as mediation, recall to the law or warning.
  • Referral to a health, social or professional structure at the request of the prosecution. The therapeutic injunction measure provided for in Article L.3423-1 of the Public Health Code.

Note: Unlike the penal composition, the law does not envisage the termination of public proceedings in the event of an alternative measure to prosecution.

The measure, monitored by a mediator or the prosecutor's delegate, makes it possible to ensure that the perpetrator has complied with his obligations (to disinterest the victim, to restore order, etc.) before closing the case (ranking 21 ). Otherwise, he will be prosecuted in court.

After a classification, the prosecutor can always change his mind and initiate proceedings in the event of new facts and as long as the facts are not prescribed.

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  1. Hello
    The police station informs me of a classification 21 of my complaint (withdrawn!) for domestic violence, against my husband. I am informed at the same time that a social worker will contact us to plan to meet us at our home. As the case has been closed, I don't understand this procedure…thanks for your help

    1. The best I think is to take a criminal lawyer for a complaint filed unfairly if you do indeed think that this is unfair to you according to your case. I have the same problem now and I can understand you.

  2. Hello, my companion made a violent gesture and I put a handrail in order to make him react. This works because since he saw the gendarmes coming to get him he is in total stress and strongly resents his actions. He was heard (without custody). The magistrate wants him to have an interview with an imposed psychiatrist. Does he still risk appearing in court and possibly facing a prison sentence? I made it clear that I did not want to file a complaint and that I did not want legal proceedings. (No pressure from him). Can someone please reassure me? Thanks

  3. The intervention of social services is independent of the penal system. The prosecutor may consider, given your situation that, given the climate of violence and your withdrawal of your complaint, it may be appropriate to carry out a social investigation in order to ensure that all is well. All the more so if you have children… It is quite common for the two actions to be combined.

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