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  • Interpretation
  • No.152
  • Date
  • 1978/05/12
  • Issue
    • What does the so-called “same offense” prescribed in Article 56 of the Criminal Code mean?
  • Holding
    •        The so-called “same offense” prescribed in Article 56 of the Criminal Code refers to the situation where a defendant with a general criminal intent commits several successive acts which have the same criminal elements. The determination criteria and examples of the “same offense” and a “offender” set forth in J.Y. Yuan-tze No. 2185 that are inconsistent with the aforementioned legislative intent and purpose shall thus be modified accordingly. 
      
  • Reasoning
    •        Article 56 of the Criminal Code provides that when several successive acts of a defendant may establish the fact of commission of the same offenses, the defendant may be prosecuted for only one offense, but the punishment prescribed for such offense may be increased up to one half. Thus, to be prosecuted for only one offense, the defendant’s several successive acts must meet the following three requirements: (1) the defendant must possess a general criminal intent when he commits the successive acts; (2) the defendant commits several successive acts; and (3) the several successive acts of the defendant constitute the same offenses. The so-called “same offense” prescribed in Article 56 of the Criminal Code refers to the situation where a defendant with a general criminal intent commits several successive acts which have the same criminal elements. A defendant is considered to be a serial offender if he possesses a general criminal intent when he commits several successive acts constituting offenses with the same criminal elements. This is because to prosecute such defendant for more than one offense for his successive acts is too harsh. However, a defendant is not considered to be a serial offender if he possesses a specific criminal intent when he commits several successive acts constituting offenses with different criminal elements. This is because to prosecute such defendant for only one offense is too lenient. Such leniency is insufficient to deter crimes, maintain social order and to maintain the fairness of criminal punishment. The determination criteria and examples of the “same offense” and a “offender” set forth in J.Y. Yuan-tze No. 2185 that are inconsistent with the aforementioned legislative intent and purpose shall thus be modified accordingly.
      
    • *Translated by Li-Chih Lin, Esq., J.D.
      
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