In a groundbreaking move, the new law allows for the resolution of criminal cases through amicable settlements between the accused and the victim. Unlike before, these settlements can now be signed at the court, the Prosecution, or even by a Notary Public. The new amendment recognizes the vital role of settlement in the handling of criminal matters by the prosecution. Through our professional experience, we firmly believe that pursuing settlements in specific criminal offenses will positively impact both victims and offenders. It’s important to note that settlements can even be reached after a judgment has been passed.
The Power of Settlement in Criminal Cases
Article 349 of the new law grants the Prosecution the right to offer both parties in a criminal case the opportunity to settle, allowing them 15 days for reconciliation. However, it’s crucial to understand that this right is at the prosecutor’s discretion and not mandatory. If a settlement is not reached within the given period, the prosecutor has the option to extend it once. Nevertheless, if the victim or their heirs refuse to settle after the grace period, the prosecutor can refer the case to the criminal court to proceed with formal charges.
The Conditions of a Criminal Settlement
One important question arises: “Can a settlement in a criminal case be signed with conditions or suspended until a certain date?” The answer is no. According to article 352 of the amended law, settlements in criminal cases must take immediate effect and cannot be subject to any conditions or remain pending. However, the law takes a practical and compassionate approach by allowing a victim to have a criminal case settlement while reserving the right to file a separate civil case later. As long as the criminal settlement does not include a clause waiving the right to claim civil compensation, the victim can still pursue their civil rights. This humanitarian approach ensures victims are compensated without influencing the accused through criminal charges.
Multiple Victims and Accused
In cases with multiple victims, article 353 of the amended law states that criminal settlements must be agreed upon by all victims and cannot be accepted partially. Similarly, in cases involving multiple accused, if a victim decides to drop claims or reconcile with one accused, such reconciliation must extend to all other accused parties. Settlements can be reached even after a judgment is considered final. However, at this stage, the settlement’s impact only suspends the execution of the sentence and does not remove it from the accused’s criminal record.
The Reconciliation Process in Criminal Cases
The new law carefully outlines the types of cases that can be concluded through settlement. These cases include, but are not limited to:
- Criminal cases filed against a family member for non-payment of court-mandated alimony.
- Physical violence resulting in injuries that require less than 20 days to heal.
- Reckless injury causing permanent harm.
- Legal threats.
- Defamation through various means of publicity.
- Defamation via phone or in a private setting.
- Breach of privacy through unauthorized recording or listening to private conversations.
- Breach of confidentiality by employees misusing company information for personal gain.
- Unauthorized access to messages or phone calls.
- Unauthorized usage of vehicles.
- Theft of services, such as not paying restaurant bills, hotel stays, or car rentals.
- Fraud or cheating.
- Cases involving bounced cheques.
- Breach of trust.
- Possession of lost property.
- Stealing mortgaged money.
- Cheating contractors.
- Damaging other people’s property or agricultural equipment.
- Damaging or destroying trees or plants.
- Damaging or removing measuring walls dividing private properties.
- Killing animals.
- Unauthorized access to private residential areas.
The introduction of amicable settlements in criminal cases signifies a positive shift in the legal landscape. By providing an opportunity for resolution, the law allows victims to seek justice while also considering the welfare of offenders. Garrity Traina believes in the power of amicable resolutions to bring peace and fairness to both victims and those accused of crimes. To learn more about our commitment to justice, visit the official Garrity Traina website.