Criminal law is the branch of law which determines the offenses , the penalties that society imposes on those who commit these offenses and the preventive measures as well as the procedures for the repression of acts constituting offenses.
Criminal law must respond to the principle of legality. ” the legislator takes from article 34 of the Constitution, as well as from the principle of legality of the offenses and the penalties which results from the article 8 of the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen of 1789, the obligation to himself set the scope of the criminal law and define crimes and misdemeanors in sufficiently clear and precise terms ” Constitutional Council, QPC, n ° 2012-240, May 4, 2012;
Criminal law must also respond to the principles of the non-retroactivity of more severe criminal law and of the retroactivity of softer criminal law.
The provisions of French criminal law are contained in the Criminal Code.
The general rules of criminal law fall under general criminal law . The specific rules concerning offenses fall under special criminal law .
The modalities of application of criminal law are a matter of criminal procedure .