1. Relevant legislation

Petty offences are dealt with in the Criminal Code of Bulgaria establishing in art. 78a the institute for Release from Penal Responsibility, the Criminal Procedures Code, setting forth the procedure for release from penal responsibility by imposing administrative measures, and the Juvenile Anti-Social Behavior Act as regards the sanctions that might be imposed on minors who are released from penal responsibility under the conditions set forth in art. 78a from the Criminal Code.

  1. Difference between Impenetrability and Release from Penal Responsibility with Imposing of Administrative Punishment

Impenetrability means that the act does not have one of the required features of the crime and for this it is not criminal.

The Release from Penal Responsibility means that the act is not punishable under the conditions set forth in the penal law. In other words, the penetrator has committed a crime but he or she can be released from penal responsibility.

To summarize the above, according to the case law, when applying the Release from Penal Responsibility institute, the penetrator has to be declared guilty first and then the measures of art. 78a from the Criminal Code to be applied.

  1. Release from Penal Responsibility with Imposing Administrative Punishment
  • A person of full age shall be released from penal responsibility by the court, whereas the punishment imposed on him shall be a fine from BGN 1,000 to BGN 5,000 where the following conditions are concurrently available:
  1. a) for such crime punishment by deprivation of liberty for up to three years or another milder punishment is provided, if committed intentionally, or deprivation of liberty for up to five years or another milder punishment, if committed through negligence;
  2. b) the perpetrator has not been sentenced for a common crime and has not been previously released from penal responsibility pursuant to art. 78a of the Criminal Code; and
  3. c) the damages to property, which have been caused by the crime, have been restored.
  • The court, which imposes a fine, may also impose administrative punishment by deprivation of the right to practice a certain vocation or activity for up to three years, if deprivation of such right has been provided for the respective crime.
  • Where there are evident grounds and the offense is committed by a minor, the court releases him or her from criminal responsibility, by imposing an administrative penalty public censure or educational measure.

In regards with the minors, first thing that has to be mentioned is that educational measure should be understood as one of the measures under the Juvenile Anti-Social Behavior Act. Secondly, the legislator had in mind the punishment for each criminal offense in the Special Section of the Criminal Code and not the reduced one for minors.

  • The institute is not applied in the cases when the injury that is caused is great bodily harm or death, in the cases when the doer has been under the influence of alcohol, when the doer has a multitude of previous crimes and when the crime is committed against a government body or on account of discharging his official duties.

Again, the act under Art. 78a The Criminal Code preserves its criminal nature.

  1. Criminal Procedures Code Procedure for Release from Criminal Responsibility and imposing Administrative measure
  • Where the prosecutor founds out that the grounds under Article 78? of the Criminal Code are at hand, he shall submit the case file to the respective first instance court along with a motivated ruling that make a motion to exempt the accused from criminal responsibility by imposition of administrative sanction.
  • The court shall appoint it within a month.
  • In these proceedings no civil claim shall be admitted.
  • No private prosecutor shall take part in these cases.
  • The court shall examine the case in single-judge panel sitting in an open hearing, for which the prosecutor and the accused shall be summoned to appear. The non-appearance of the parties which have been duly summoned to appear shall not be an obstacle to the examination of the case.
  • The court shall issue a decision by which it may:
  1. exempt the accused from criminal responsibility and impose administrative sanction thereto;
  2. discharge the accused;
  • The court decision shall be subject to appeal.


  1. Are there petty offences directly or indirectly aimed to target a socially marginalized group?
  2. A) Rough Sleeping

Being homeless/Rough sleeping is not per se a crime. However according art. 329 from the Criminal Code, an adult capable for work, who for a long time does not engage in any socially useful work, but receives unearned incomes in an illegal or immoral way, shall be punished by deprivation of liberty for up to two years or probation. Also, a person who systematically practices mendicancy, shall be punished by probation for a period of up to two years.

  1. B) Minors being engaged in Child Prostitution

According to art. 35 of the Juvenile Anti-Social Behavior Act, minors and minors shall be accommodated in the homes:

  1. a) where the permanent address and the current address cannot be established;

(b) arrested in vagrancy, begging, prostitution, alcohol abuse, the spread or use of narcotics or other narcotic drugs;

(c) involuntary departments of compulsory education or compulsory treatment;

(d) have committed an antisocial phenomenon and have fallen into such a state of unconsciousness, making it unreasonable to remain with the parents or the persons replacing them.


On the other hand, the Law for Protection of the Child states that every child has the right to protection against use for begging, prostitution, the distribution of pornographic material and the receipt of illicit material income, as well as against sexual violence.

Therefore, the measures under the Juvenile Anti-Social Behavior Act are aimed at least per definition to protect the child and ensure the proper development and education of their perpetrators. But placing children in these homes where they are being systematically abused de facto aids to making them socially marginalized group.

C). Small thefts

According to art. 194 of the Criminal Code, a person who takes away from another movable property without his consent, with the intent to unlawfully appropriate it, shall be punished for theft by deprivation of liberty for up to eight years. In minor cases the punishment shall be deprivation of liberty for up to one year, or probation, or a fine from BGN one hundred to three hundred.

  • Where the special conditions of art. 78a of the Criminal code are at place, the Release from penal responsibility institute can be applied in all cases.
  • As final, we should say that we cannot make the conclusion that there are petty offences according to Bulgarian legislation that are directly or indirectly aimed to target a socially marginalized group.


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