The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law on criminal misconduct. This decision was supported by 239 deputies. The authors of the law note that today, crimes of small or medium gravity make up almost half of all those investigated. What exactly provides for a new law ‒ in expert reactions from Opinion.

So, what kind of criminal misconduct, and what to expect from the new law? Deputy Head of the National Police Vadim Troyan noted that the new law will be able to unload the police investigators and allow them to focus on solving serious and especially grave crimes. Actually, a criminal misconduct is considered to be an act or inaction, for the committing of which a penalty of a fine of not more than 51,000 UAH is envisaged. It could be also another punishment that is also not related to imprisonment. Also, the draft law introduces a rule on the driving in a state of intoxication, making it a criminal offense.

Investigation of criminal misconduct, according to Troyan, will take place in the form of an inquiry with simplification of the procedure, including a shortened time limit ‒ no more than 72 hours from the moment the person is informed about the suspicion or detention. Or in other cases ‒ up to one month. Details could be seen in the continuation of the message below.

One of the authors of the law, MP Ihor Kotvytsky, noted that today the Criminal Code of Ukraine contains about 780 elements of crimes, of which about 200 are minor crimes, and at the same time, they make up half of all investigated. This, according to the deputy, leads to slowing down the investigation of serious and especially grave crimes, as well as unreasonable red tape about the investigation of minor crimes.

According to Kotvytsky, the transfer of minor crimes into the category of misconducts will provide a classification of criminal offenses on the principle of taking into account the degree of public danger ‒ from the smallest to the most dangerous. A similar approach, according to the people’s deputy, was chosen by the legislators of other states, in particular, Estonia, Latvia, Switzerland, Hungary, Turkey, etc.

Taras Guk, an expert of the public organization for the development of law enforcement agencies “LEAD-office”, noted that the patrol police would obviously receive the power of the inquiry body (almost the same as the power of the investigative body, only for a specific list of articles in the Criminal Code) ‒ “+120 000 criminal proceedings”.

And now, a little more in detail about what criminal prosecution will mean for drunk drivers. According to the expert, this is a lack of opportunity to evade responsibility for a 3-month period, the presence of state prosecution in the case, drunk drivers can be detained for a day without a decision of the court. Taras Huk notes that this is a whole revolution in the area of bringing intoxicated drivers to justice. The law comes into force in 3 months from the date of publication.

Lawyer Yevhen Krapyvin stressed that the issue was not in the very fact of the introduction of misconduct, because they had to be introduced since 2012, according to the transitional provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine. The question is in the sense ‒ what misconducts do we need. Because, according to the expert, it turned out that it is not only a matter of renaming crimes as misconducts but also of certain procedural dangers to human rights and freedoms during the investigation.

Summing up, the lawyer added that the president of Ukraine is still able to impose his veto on the law. If this does not happen, then very soon we will have a bill “On introducing changes to…”: the circle of endless changes will continue. Such disappointing news.

Lawyer Yevhen Stelmakh noted that the law is very important because to simplify the consideration of criminal cases on minor criminal offenses. However, the expert also noted that the issue of the adoption of this law has been standing since 2012 when the Criminal Procedure Code was adopted.

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