Criminal proceedings - the most important information


The paradise says that ignorance of the law is harmful, it is still valid. Many people do not reflect on their actions, do not analyze it in the context of compliance or non-compliance with applicable law. Tax matters are often neglected by entrepreneurs. The Fiscal Penal Code explicitly mentions acts that are defined as crimes. The conviction for them is no less serious than for “typical” in the Criminal Code. According to the doctrine, criminal procedure is a concept that describes only a part of the entire criminal procedural law. This may take the form of a pre-trial investigation (investigation or inquiry), main proceedings (e.g. a hearing), criminal appeals (e.g. upon appeal) or accelerated proceedings (e.g. without a hearing). Basic concepts related to criminal law, although they sound similar, have different meanings.

Criminal proceedings and criminal procedural law

The broadest term related to criminal proceedings is procedural criminal law. It is a set of many standards regulating the overall procedure in cases involving various crimes. The purpose of procedural criminal law is to respect human compliance with the law. Procedural criminal law regulates matters in the scope of whether a person does not violate the regulations in force at a given time (including the provisions of the Criminal Code or the Penal and Fiscal Code). Any illegal activity listed in the code as a crime will be subject to criminal procedural law. An offense is a breach or violation of a law for which a specific penalty must be expected. It is in the procedural criminal law that justice is sought and the perpetrator is punished.

Criminal proceedings, criminal trial and criminal procedure - what is the difference between them?

A criminal trial is a set of activities, the performance of which is to lead to the detection of a crime, judgment of the perpetrator and execution of the sentence. This concept should be associated with an investigation and investigation aimed at discovering perpetrators of crimes, a trial before a court and issuing a sentence or order (acquittal or conviction), execution of a sentence, imposing penal measures and precautionary measures.

The criminal procedure, on the other hand, is included directly in the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It indicates the ways of dealing with the suspect, and at a later stage with the accused, giving guidelines to the authorities of the procedure. It defines the rights and obligations as well as action plans.

Criminal proceedings and substantive criminal law

Criminal proceedings follow the norms of substantive criminal law.

Substantive criminal law is, inter alia, principles of liability for a committed crime, forms of its commission, features of tort, circumstances excluding guilt, penalties as reactions to a prohibited act, penal measures, rules of punishment and penal measures, recidivism, periods of probation (suspension of the execution of a sentence).

Example 1.

At the hearing, the court decides on the basis of the provisions of the Criminal Code (substantive criminal law), but it acts on the basis of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (criminal proceedings)

When can you be sure that criminal proceedings do not apply to you?

Procedural prerequisites are a professional concept, but it means precisely those conditions that must be met in order for it to be decided that the initiation and conduct of proceedings against a person will be possible or inadmissible. Only an act (not a reflex, not an intention) specified by the Penal Code or the Fiscal Penal Code as prohibited will be the basis for initiating proceedings. Therefore, if we do not find in the provisions of the codes of conduct along with an indication of the penalty for it, we will not be held criminally responsible.

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, criminal proceedings are not initiated, and the initiated criminal proceedings are discontinued in a situation where:

  • the act has not been committed or there is insufficient data to suspect that it has been committed,

  • The Criminal Code does not list this act as prohibited,

  • the act has negligible social harm,

  • the suspect / accused has died,

  • the criminal record has expired,

  • the case for the same act is already legally closed or initiated earlier is pending,

  • the perpetrator is not subject to Polish jurisprudence,

  • an authorized person has not filed a complaint (e.g. an aggrieved family member),

  • prosecution has not been allowed (e.g. immunity has not been waived).

Example 2.

Hitting a blow during a professional sport fight, when the rules of the fight allow it, and the related injury will not be subject to criminal prosecution.

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Principles on which criminal proceedings are based

Each procedure, apart from guidelines strictly set by codes, also has rules that are to instruct how to apply the provisions and act in the proceedings. The Code of Criminal Procedure sets out a dozen or so rules to streamline and improve the criminal procedure. Belong to them:

  • principle of material truth (findings must be factual and truthful). Even admitting the guilt of the accused does not absolve the authority from seeking the truth when there are doubts;

  • the principle of objectivity (exclusion of the authorities conducting the proceedings if their impartiality is in doubt);

  • the principle of presumption of innocence and the in dubio pro reo rule (only a final conviction or conditional discontinuation of proceedings gives grounds for treating a person as guilty. Doubts are settled in favor of the accused);

  • the principle of the right to defense (you can defend yourself in the proceedings by explaining, or even by refusing to provide explanations or answers to questions, moreover, you have the right to professional defense - an attorney or legal advisor, even if you do not have a budget for it, in the event of an application assigned he is ex officio);

  • the principle of free assessment of evidence (correct reasoning, knowledge and life experience of the judge guarantee that he will try to objectively assess the evidence. He will consider the circumstances both to the advantage and to the disadvantage of the accused);

  • the principle of ex officio prosecution (state authorities collect acts that, according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, must be prosecuted regardless of the will of the aggrieved party);

  • the principle of complaint (criminal proceedings result from the lodged complaint);

  • the principle of legalism (the prosecuting authority must, after all, conduct the proceedings);

  • the principle of adversarial and inquisitiveness (litigation before the court, evidence motions, statements of explanations);

  • the principle of directness (the court decides only on the basis of evidence from the trial);

  • the principle of openness.

Thus, criminal proceedings are a law that implements the norms of substantive criminal law. Indicates procedural order. So it has a purposeful character. The best solutions are to increase efficiency. It concerns the legal protection of an individual against crimes, i.e. mainly preventing and redressing harm, unlike in civil proceedings, which concern damages (mainly related to a good name and property).