This website is intended for everyone who needs information about criminal law but has not dealt with these issues in everyday life so far. The study is addressed especially at people charged with an offence, people aggrieved by a crime and other participants of judicial proceedings.
You will find here current versions of essential legal acts, definitions of basic terms and a description how criminal procedure operates in practice. We present main legal instruments intended for defence in criminal matters and for asserting the rights of aggrieved people.
Stages of criminal procedure
Commencement of the criminal procedure
At the initial stage of the criminal procedure, preparatory proceedings are instituted and conducted. They can be commenced as a result of a report made to the police or to the prosecutor's office by an aggrieved party or other people, or as a consequence of obtaining own information by prosecution agencies, justifying the suspicion that a crime has been committed.
Closing of the criminal procedure
A judgement (conviction or acquittal) rendered by the court after completion of the full judicial proceedings is only one of the many possible solutions. The proceedings can be discontinued (for various reasons: at the stage of the preparatory or judicial proceedings).
Conditional discontinuance of the proceedings
Voluntary submission to penalty
Conviction without a trial
Enforcement of judgements
In certain situations, a person sentenced to imprisonment can be conditionally released from the remaining part of the penalty. The court can also conditionally suspend the adjudicated penalty of imprisonment. Finally, it is possible to get a conviction off your record. At the moment a sentence is expunged, it is treated as non-existent and the entry concerning the sentence is deleted from the criminal record.
Defendants in the criminal procedure
A suspect becomes a defendant at the moment of submitting the indictment to court and instituting the judicial proceedings in the case.
An aggrieved party in the criminal procedure
Everyone whose legal interests have been directly infringed (or threatened) by a crime is entitled to have the status of an aggrieved party in the criminal procedure.
Conditions for the use
Conditions for the use of pre-trial detention
Termination of detention
In order to secure a proper course of the proceedings so-called preventive measures can be applied. They can be used only when the evidence gathered indicates with high probability that the defendant/suspect has committed an offence.
Other preventive measures
Sight and contact with the detainee
Release from temporary detention
Examples of documents in criminal cases
- Notice of a crime
- Evidentiary motion
- Private indictment
- Application of an auxiliary prosecutor
- Civil petition in criminal procedure
- Objection to injunction ruling
In the Polish criminal law, penalties are enumerated in Article 32 of the Penal Code.
The order of penalties is not random: it expresses legislator's preferences as to their application. Thus, penalties not connected with imprisonment (a fine or restriction of liberty) should have priority. Currently, there is no death penalty in the Polish legal system. It was abolished in the binding Criminal Code of 1997.
Offences frequently encountered in practice
You will find here practical information about most frequent offences (such as: drink-driving, accident, punishable threat, bodily injury, theft, robbery, fraud).
Main legal acts regulating the issues of criminal law have the status of codes. These are the following: