Community service orders suggested as punishment2014-10-17
The Ministry of Environment has drafted revisions of the Administrative Code in order to restrict opportunities for insolvent offenders to avoid paying imposed fines and to provide an option of replacing fines with non-compensated community service orders without having to obtain consent from the offender.
Statistics from the last few years shows that in a growing number of instances community service orders are not used in respect of people subjected to administrative proceedings who can’t afford paying a fine and have no property from which it can be recovered on account of their disagreement to such orders. Fines imposed between 2012 and the first half of 2014 which are unrecoverable make up more than LTL 70,000.
Given these figures, the draft law intends to replace fines with non-compensated community service orders without having to obtain the offender’s consent if the latter has no property from which the fine can be recovered. Currently, such offenders have the right to refuse this alternative to paying a fine. Sometimes they deliberately disagree to a fine being replaced with non-compensated community service orders because they are aware that officials have no legal ways or measures to punish them for breaking the law.
“Current regulation in the Administrative Code regarding the recovery of fines from individuals subjected to administrative proceedings is faulty because it is not only outside the interest of insolvent offenders to agree to non-compensated community service orders but there is also a lot of room for abuse. We suggest improving this procedure and encouraging offenders to think again before they break the rules,” Vice-minister for Environment, Linas Jonauskas, said.
The revised law provides the opportunity, not only by a court ruling but also by an official’s decision, to replace a fine with non-compensated community service orders without having to obtain offenders’ consent if they have no property from which the fine can be recovered. Should the draft law be approved, environmental inspectors will be able to decide whether or not an insolvent offender’s obligation to pay the fine should be replaced with the obligation to perform community services.
In the nearest future, the draft law will be forwarded to the authorities concerned for coordination.
Public information division
17 October 2014