AskDefine | Define contravention

Dictionary Definition

contravention n : coming into conflict with [syn: dispute]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The act of contravening a rule, regulation, or law, or of not fulfilling an obligation, promise, or agreement.
    Their contravention of the treaty increased international tensions.

Extensive Definition

The term Contravention is used in French, Swiss and Australian law.
The act of contravening can be: opposition; obstruction; transgression; violation.
=In France= Contravention is, in French law, an act which violates the law, a treaty or an agreement which the party has made. It designates a minor infraction only, as opposed to a délit and a crime. Any infraction to a law or regulation (enforced by the executive agents of the State), that is not punishable by more than a 3000€ fine for a person, is classed as a contravention. The fine may also be matched with an additional sentence (peines complémentaires).


Contraventions and their penalties are determined by the executive organs of the French State, unlike Délits and crimes which are determined by the legislative organs (Parliament Senate), as per Article 34 of the French Constitution of 1958. The executive organs include:
  • The President of the Republic
  • The government (Cabinet)
  • Executive decrees by the European Parliament
  • The local government (prefects of regions and departments)
  • The police prefect
  • The town Council and Mayor
  • The Conseil d'Etat, (supreme administrative court)


As previously stated the maximum fine for an individual is 3000€, and the maximum for a corporation or collectivity is 45,000€.
The additional penalties are defined in the Article 131-10 of the Code Pénal. They include:
  • prohibitions (ex. prohibition of residency in the country (for foreign individuals only), prohibition of civil and family rights)
  • forfeitures (ex. loss of the French nationality - extremely rare)
  • incapacity (ex. prohibition to take action on one's own property)
  • retraction of a right (ex. confiscation of driving licence)
  • obligation to seek treatment (ex. obligation to prove a medical treatment has been followed)
  • obligation of action (ex. obligation to reimburse the victims)
  • immobilisation or confiscation of an object (ex. confiscation of weapons or drugs etc)
  • confiscation of an animal (previously considered as objects)
  • closure of an establishment
  • obligation to publish the court decision publicly, and since the law n°2004-575 in date of June 21 2004 obligation to communication the decision to the public by electronic means (internet).
The penalties are determined by the legislative organs :Assemblée Nationale and Sénat, or the government in the cases defined in article 49-3 of the Constitution (attribution of certain legislative rights to the government, in particular cases). There are 5 classes of contraventions, each having a progressively higher maximum fine.
! Classification of the contraventions ! Seriousness of the offense. |----- | 1st class | Non public Slander and insult |- | 2nd class | Involutairy attack on a person's physical integrity having caused no work incapacity (Incapacité totale de travail, ITT) |----- | 3rd class | Threats of violence |- | 4th class | Light violence |----- | 5th class | Willful violence having caused an incapacity to work shorter or equal to eight days. |}
contravention in French: Contravention
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