French Penal Code of 1810

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The Penal Code of 1810 was created under Napoleon, as a replacement of the Code des délits et des peines of 1795, that was itself replacing the French Penal Code of 1791. Among other things, this code recreated a life imprisonment punishment, as well as a branding punishment alongside the death penalty. These had been abolished in the French Penal Code of 1791. Issued on June 3, 1810, it stayed in use until March 1, 1994 when it was replaced by a new penal code.

This code served as a basis for criminal laws in many of the countries occupied at the time by the First French Empire.


Crimes against the state[edit]

The crimes against the state included treason, espionage, sedition and insurrection, and were severely punished, up to death with forfeiture of the convict's estate, or transportation.

Crimes against the person[edit]

Aggravated murder, this is to say, premeditated, committed during the commission of a crime or against legitimate ascendants were to be punished by death, along with kidnapping by torture, death threats or under the guise of a civil servants.


Contraventions (Violations)[edit]

Violations were punished by fine and, at most, five days in prison.

Délits (misdemeanors)[edit]

Misdemeanors were punished by up to five years in prison and fines.

Crimes (felonies)[edit]

Penalties for felonies were to be either afflictives et infamantes (afflictives and infaming) or merely infamantes (infaming), meaning the convicted lost some civils rights, such as the right to vote and to possess arms.

Felonies were to be punished by death, hard labor for life or a term from five to twenty years or by reclusion from five to ten years.

Forfeiture of estate, lifelong transportation or banishment for a term between five and ten years were available for crimes against the state.

In addition, non-political felons were to undergo lifelong supervision by the police.

The death sentence had to be carried out by beheading.


Internal links[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Code pénal [Penal code] (in French). 1810. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  • The penal code of France; translated into English, with a preliminary dissertation and notes. London. 1819. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
Preceded by
Code of Offences and Penalties
Penal code of France
Succeeded by
New Penal Code of 1994