Who takes for the purpose of appropriation of someone else's movable property, shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 3 months and 5 years. The same punishment shall apply to anyone who without the consent of the authorized person obtains someone else's computer program in order to achieve financial gain. In the case of a minor, the perpetrator is subject to a fine, imprisonment or imprisonment for a year. If the theft was committed to the detriment of the nearest person, the prosecution takes place at the request of the injured party.
- § 1. Who takes for the appropriation of someone else's movable property,
- is punishable by imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years.
- § 2. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone who, without the consent of the authorized person, obtains someone else's computer program in order to achieve financial gain.
- § 3. In the case of a minor, the perpetrator is subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or imprisonment for a year.
- § 4. If the theft was committed to the detriment of the next of kin, prosecution takes place at the request of the injured party.
- § 5. The provisions of § 1, 3 and 4 shall apply accordingly to the theft of energy or a card entitling to withdraw money from a bank machine.
Art. 279. § 1. Whoever steals from burglary shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for a term of between 1 and 10 years. § 2. If theft with burglary was committed to the detriment of the closest person, the prosecution shall take place at the request of the injured party.
Included in art. 278 of the Penal Code, the type of crime is commonly referred to as theft and is one of the most common crimes in the world. Its basic element is the fact of performing a specific act, namely the taking of someone else's movable property for the purpose of appropriation. It should be borne in mind that this provision applies only to items of economic value - in the event of the seizure of items of non-pecuniary value for the owner (e.g. photos, souvenirs, etc.) we are dealing with an offense under Art. 126 of the Code of Offenses. Theft is considered the so-called material crime - in order to speak about committing this crime, it is necessary to take someone's property out of the actual power of another person. The wording of § 1 also suggests that you cannot commit theft unintentionally. During the "partition" of things, the perpetrator must be accompanied by awareness and the desire to "appropriate" it. So it is not theft to accidentally take someone's cell phone in the belief that you are taking your camera. However, it is obvious that in such a situation it should be returned.
When discussing the theft, you should pay attention to several important elements. First of all, the object of theft, according to the regulation, can only be a movable item. There can be no theft of the property or its components. It should be borne in mind, however, that part of the property that has been disconnected from it (e.g. a broken gutter or unscrewed radiator) begins to be an intrinsic movable item and as such can be the object of theft. It is also important, although in some way obvious, that you can only steal something 'other people', and therefore belonging to another person. However, when we look closely at this issue, we can see its two aspects - first, you cannot steal anyone's property, so if the current owner of the thing abandons it with the intention of getting rid of it, taking it will not fulfill the features of a crime. The second, perhaps less intrusive aspect of the issue referred to is that it is not possible to steal your own belongings. Although art. 278 protects both property and possession (the above offense is also committed by those who appropriates the thing that is in the hands of e.g. the user), we cannot talk about criminal behavior in situations where the partitioning party may have a stronger legal title (e.g. the owner in relation to to the user, authorized in respect of the holder due to the obligation). In such a situation, the injured person can pursue his claims only by civil law.
Theft is also one of the basic examples of unlawful acts. halved. This means that simultaneously with the analysis of the offense under Art. 278 of the Penal Code, we must pay attention to the type included in art. 119 of the Code of Offenses:
Art. 119. § 1. Whoever steals or appropriates someone else's movable property, if its value does not exceed PLN 500, is punishable by detention, restriction of liberty or a fine.
As we can see, the theft of items worth less than PLN 500 is not treated as a crime, but only as an offense.
The next paragraphs of art. 278 of the Penal Code clarify some aspects of the theft crime. § 2 applies to the so-called computer piracy, which involves accessing a computer program without the consent of the authorized person. This regulation, however, provides for action to achieve financial gain. It should be borne in mind that in order to commit an offense under § 2 we do not have to deprive authorized persons j access to a given program, and only get it for yourself. It should be acknowledged that in a situation in which an offense involving the taking of the program together with the carrier (disc, hard disk or the entire computer) occurs, we are dealing with cumulative qualification as § 1 and § 2 of Art. 278 of the Penal Code. § 3, in turn, defines the procedure in the case of a minor. This vague concept is a kind of gate that allows the court to reduce the penalty in a situation where the offense, although it cannot be classified under Art. 119 of the Code of Offenses, however, does not constitute a very gross violation of the law and it seems appropriate to treat the perpetrator more leniently.
Pursuant to § 4, the theft committed on the nearest person is a crime prosecuted on application. Pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, preparatory proceedings for such crimes are conducted by public authorities (police, prosecutor), however, the action of the injured party is required, or, if he or she is a minor, its legal representatives. § 5 provides that the provisions on theft shall apply mutatis mutandis to the theft of energy (which is not a legal thing, let alone a movable thing) or only potential theft in the form of taking an ATM, credit or similar card.
As a special provision in relation to the provisions of art. 278 of the Penal Code, art. 279, concerning the so-called burglary theft. The very wording in § 1 suggests that we must refer to the previous article to determine the legal meaning of the word 'steals'. The differences between the above two types are, of course, a burglary element. According to doctrine and well-established case-law, "burglary occurs when the perpetrator takes away property for appropriation following the removal of a material obstacle, which is part of the construction of a closed room or a special closure of this room, hindering access to its interior." (Judgment of the Supreme Court of December 18, 2002 III KKN 423/00). A necessary and sufficient condition to be able to talk about a burglary is therefore to overcome the mechanical security measures aimed at protecting the things inside the room. Importantly, burglary, in addition to the obvious situation of defeating house locks, we can also talk about breaking the windshield to steal the radio. This issue is important because the difference in threat of punishment between types from art. 278 and 279 is significant.
[Legal status as at April 2020]