116 Lex ET Scientia. Juridical Series
LESIJ NO. XIX, VOL. 1/2012
THE NEW ROMANIAN CRIMINAL CODE – CHANGES SUGGESTED
IN THE GENERAL PART
Mihai Adrian HOTCA∗
Through Law no. 286/2009, it was adopted a new Criminal code. The new Criminal code
brings more changes both in the General part as well as in the Special part. Through this Criminal
code, the Romanian lawgiver mainly pursued: to create a coherent legal framework from the
criminal point of view by avoiding the useless overlapping of the norms in force existing in the
current Criminal code and in the special laws; to facilitate the quick and unitary enforcement of the
criminal legislation in the activity of the judicial organs; to transpose the regulations adopted at the
European Union level into the national criminal legislative framework; to harmonize the Romanian
criminal law with the systems of the other member states of the European Union. The study proposes
to underline the main changes occurred in the General Part of the Criminal code.
Keywords: Criminal code; Romanian criminal law, offence, punishment, justifying causes,
The change of the legislation from the criminal point of view is, as in other domains, an issue
that usually appears in the cases in which there are transformations of political, economic, social and
cultural nature in the evolution of the society.
In the recitals that accompanied the draft of the new Criminal code, it was showed that the
current sentencing regime regulated by the current Criminal code (come into force on January 1st
1969), submitted to some frequent legislative interventions on different institutions, led to a non-
unitary enforcement and lack of coherence of the criminal law with repercussions on the efficiency
and finality of the justice act1.
Another argument invoked during the recitals points out to the necessity of placing the
sentencing treatment within the normal limits, considering that the practice of the last decade proved
that the efficient solution for fighting criminality was not the extreme increase of the punishment
∗ Professor, Ph.D., Dean of the Faculty of Social and Administrative Sciences, “Nicolae Titu lescu” University,
Bucharest, Romania (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
1 See www.just.ro.
2 In the recitals, it is stipulated that during 2004-2006, about 80% of the punishments in the process o f being
enforced through prison punishment for theft and qualified theft were of at most 5 years of i mprisonment which
indicates that the courts of law did not consider necessary to apply the sanction s to the maximum upper limit stipulated
by law (12 years in the case of a simple theft, 15 years, 18 years and 20 years in the case of the qualified theft
respectively). On the other hand, the extremely wide range between the minimum limi t and the maximum one of the
punishment (from 1 to 12 years, from 3 to 15 years, from 4 to 18 years) led to more different solutions in practice wit h
regard to the punishment applied for similar deeds or to greater punishments fo r infractions with a low injuriousness,
which does not ensure the stipulated character of the justice act.