In force Penal Code distinguishes between car theft and arbitrary seizure of a vehicle. The intention of the perpetrator in the theft misappropriation, while in the other plot for unauthorized use is aimed at.
They just wanted to drive a car
Lawyers have been arguing for many decades as to whether it is reasonable to regulate the arbitrary seizure of a vehicle as a separate offense or whether it would not be more advisable to include it in the concept of theft as well. Well, the Penal Code has been amended several times in the last half century. The 1961 Criminal Code. introduced a new regulation called Illegal Use, which resolved the issue essentially in line with today’s perception. In 1971, on the other hand, this fact was abolished and the seizure of all vehicles for unauthorized use was included in the concept of theft. In this way, bicycle thieves were also put under a hat with the perpetrators of car thefts. This was helped in 1978 by the “arbitrary” re-independence of the vehicle.
By the 1990s, arbitrary seizures of the vehicle had already been established in about ten thousand cases a year.
Due to the unfortunate conditions, the police initiated the elimination of the facts, saying that the repeatedly falling car thieves also regularly came forward with a deed and their defense was generally accepted by the court that they did not want to steal the car, they just wanted to drive a little. . That is to say, law enforcement criticism that the existence of an arbitrary seizure of a vehicle made it virtually impossible to prove theft in special cases where a reasonable suspicion of theft could be made almost exclusively on the basis of the offender’s statement, in the absence of objective facts.
The rating didn’t matter
The unresolved issue is also revealed by the old story, the protagonist of which looked to himself on an auxiliary motorcycle left unattended. And with the goal of riding a lap, he pushed him off the scene after he couldn’t start. Perceiving the act, the owner rushed after the perpetrator, who threw the vehicle away and ran away. The court of first instance found the offense of arbitrary removal of the vehicle. The appellate court, on the other hand, described the act as merely an attempt. The case, with a protest of legality, because it was still the case at the time, went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that it was not an attempt, but a completed act. He based his position on the perpetrator pushing the engine “hundreds of feet” from the parking spot “for use”. According to the statement of reasons, the motorcycle was taken out of the owner’s possession and the seizure was effected as a factual element. However, two issues arise in the context of this case:
- How did the perpetrator want to use the engine if he couldn’t even start it?
- What if the owner does not detect the act?
From the perpetrator’s point of view, it really didn’t matter what the court classified his act as. The former Btk. According to the Court of First Instance, the arbitrary seizure of a vehicle was punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment if it was not unlawfully intruded into a room or a fenced area or in a criminal association. In contrast, the penalty for theft increased in proportion to the value of the thing seized: if the theft was committed for a significant value, the penalty is imprisonment for one to five years, and for a particularly high value, a car thief looked up to eight years in prison. That is, for example
Hungarian criminal law even made several (several prison years) distinction between the seizure and theft of a brand new car.
It can only be done intentionally
The new Penal Code, which entered into force on 1 July 2013, retained the arbitrary seizure of the vehicle, but raised its penalty: it normally provides for a three-year imprisonment instead of two years. And this penalty is already the same as the penalty for theft of a higher value, i.e. the theft of an average value car. This is because the classification of theft changes depending on the value of the stolen thing:
- Between HUF 50,001 and HUF 500,000 lower value (imprisonment for up to two years, community service or fine);
- Between HUF 500,001 and HUF 5,000,000 higher value (imprisonment for up to three years);
- Between HUF 5,000,001 and HUF 50,000,000 significant value (imprisonment for one to five years);
- Between HUF 50,000,001 and HUF 500,000,000 particularly high value (imprisonment for two to eight years);
- Over HUF 500,000,001 and particularly significant value (imprisonment for five to ten years).
Arbitrary removal of a vehicle
Btk. § 380 (1) Whoever takes a foreign power-driven vehicle from another person for the purpose of unlawful use, or unlawfully uses such a vehicle so seized or entrusted to him, shall be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.
2. The penalty shall be imprisonment for a term of one to five years if the offense is
(a) violence or imminent threat to life or limb,
(b) are committed in a conspiracy.
(3) The punishment shall be imprisonment for a term of two to eight years if the offense specified in subsection (2) (a) is committed armed, armed or in association with a criminal organization.
A Btk. According to the Commission, the object of committing an arbitrary seizure of a vehicle can only be a vehicle driven by a built-in power plant, and the offending conduct is of two types: seizure and unauthorized use. Illegality in this case means that the perpetrator was not authorized by the person entitled to seize the vehicle. And one more thing: the act can only be committed intentionally.
While arbitrary seizure of a vehicle is a crime, it is removal of a foreign, non – power – driven vehicle infringement. Act II of 2012 on Infringements, Infringement Procedure and the Infringement Registration System. for the law states:
Whoever takes a foreign, non-powered vehicle from someone else for illegal use is committing an offense.
That is, taking a bike is a violation. The case law According to him, for example, the arbitrary seizure of a vehicle instead of theft is the offense of taking the bicycle and using it illegally for an hour and a half if the circumstances of the offense do not indicate the purpose of stealing the juvenile.
Ignition key in the ignition switch
In recent years, continuously decrease The number of car thefts in Hungary: while in 2007, for example, 7,584 vehicles were stolen, in 2020 only 320, in the first half of 2021 a total of 149 thefts were registered.
A Criminal Statistics System according to his data, there are also fewer arbitrary seizures of the vehicle from year to year: 1056 in 2013, 1119 in 2014, 985 in 2015, 953 in 2016, 963 in 2017, and 501 in 2018.
At the same time, the negligence and irresponsibility of the victims also play a role in the arbitrary removal of the vehicle. Here is a typical story:
A resident of Öcsöd made an announcement On July 24, 2021, at the Kunszentmárton Police Station, because a car parked in the gate entrance of his property, which had forgotten the ignition key in its ignition switch, was stolen by an unknown person. After questioning the witnesses and inspecting the site, the police ordered the vehicle to be circulated. Shortly afterwards, police in Orosháza checked a driver who had been involved in road traffic with the circling car without drinking alcohol and without a driving license. Despite all this, the suspect committed another crime: on the morning of July 31, he took another car from a hardware store in Kunszentmárton in a similar way, as the careless vehicle owner forgot the ignition key in the ignition switch. The court ordered the defendant’s criminal supervision, while the police returned the cars to their rightful owners after the seizure. The Kunszentmárton Police Headquarters committed an arbitrary seizure of a two-order vehicle, and initiated proceedings on the basis of a well-founded suspicion of committing a violation while driving under the influence of three-order vehicles.
Four good councils for the police
The police reiterate their call for the following to be avoided in order to avoid future crimes:
- When their vehicle is parked, it is always locked!
- Never leave the ignition key in the car!
- Never leave valuables in the car!
- Do not leave your phone, wallet or bag in a visible place if they only stop their car for a short time!
And one quite fresh case: Police in Dombóvár captured a 32-year-old man from Mászlony who stole a car in Dombóvár on the night of October 9. Within a few hours of the report, police found the stolen car and quickly identified the perpetrator, who said they walked into Dombóvár with his girlfriend on Saturday night, but it was raining and they didn’t want to get soaked, so he figured out getting a car to go home with. .
After finding the open vehicle that also contained the ignition key, they quickly sat down and drove off.
The perpetrator must be held liable for the crime of arbitrary seizure of a vehicle.
(Cover image: A motorcycle and cars are parked in front of the Pesti Vigadó on July 4, 2021. Photo: Csaba Jászai / MTI)