The Ministry of the Interior has introduced a bill that would add the possibility of expedited procedure to the misdemeanor code. The measure is intended to simplify and speed up procedures as well as avoid the disproportionate punishment of offenders.
The expedited procedure could be applied in cases where no harm is done to people or property. The ministry has listed 18 misdemeanors in the case of which the measure would be applied, including driving a vehicle without insurance, driving a vehicle without a valid technical certificate, speeding not beyond 20 km/h above the limit, not using a vehicle’s safety belt, riding a motorbike without a helmet, and other similar offenses.
According Veiko Kommusaar, head of the ministry’s public order and criminal policy department, warning people that they are breaking the law is enough in cases where no harm is done to people and property. “In the case of less serious incidents, where a breach of the law didn’t bring harm to anyone, it isn’t necessary to punish people very harshly,” Kommusaar said.
Currently almost half of Estonia’s residents have a criminal record. With the new bill, acts subject to the proposed expedited procedure would no longer require an entry.
The expedited procedure would reduce time spent by the authorities and the courts from an average 20 minutes per case to just five. Considering that there are some 45,000 incidents annually where the new measure could be applied, the amount of time saved would be substantial.
The proposed fines would range from €20 to €80 and be set out in the law. If the Riigikogu passes the bill, the new law would enter into effect on Sept. 1 this year.
Editor: Dario Cavegn