The effective application of modern criminal legislation presupposes an understanding of the structure of the legal norms contained in it, which are a direct expression of the state-legislative will that establishes both universally binding rules of conduct and determines the application of appropriate sanctions for violating the latter.
Classical structure of the legal norm
Any existing legal norm has a classical structure, which is composed of such interrelated elements as a hypothesis, disposition, sanction.
The hypothesis indicates specific conditions in the presence (or absence) of which this rule should be applied. The hypothesis allows to correlate an abstract behavioral model with a specific situation, place and time or a certain subject.
The disposition contains a rule of due behavior, which should guide all actors involved in the legal relationship.
Sanction determines certain adverse consequences that must occur due to violation of rules established by the dispositions. The sanction is an unequivocal expression of the negative attitude of the state to the neglect of legal norms.
Such a three-element structure allows us to understand what a disposition And what place does it take, and also give a chance With a high degree of effectiveness to ensure an unambiguous definition of proper behavior. The absence of any of the above elements allows us to establish clearly enough whether a particular logical structure is a legal norm or not.
The structure of the criminal law norm
In order to apply criminal legislation correctly and effectively, it is necessary to understand what constitutes the concept and structure of the criminal law norm.
The criminal law norms, being in their essence classical legal norms, nevertheless differ in the specific nature of their structure, which presupposes the presence of only two elements. The norms fixed in the General Part of the Criminal Code are made up of elements such as a hypothesis and sanction, and those fixed in the Special Part of the Criminal Code are made up of dispositions and sanctions.
For the legal norms contained in the Special Part of the Criminal Code, the hypothesis is of a general nature and is expressed in such a design as: "If the actor committed an unlawful act ...". Therefore, in the criminal law of the Special Part of the Criminal Code, which establish the signs and characteristics of specific delicts, as well as the sanctions that are imposed on the commission of the latter, the hypothesis is not indicated and is only implied, and the types of dispositions and sanctions are set out in the most detailed manner.
In this regard, in jurisprudence there is an opinion that although there are actually only two elements in the structure of the criminal law norm, the presence of an obvious implied hypothesis allows us to still regard the structure as classical (hypothesis, disposition, sanction).
Disposition - concept
Under the disposition of the criminal law norm it is necessary to understand that its structural element, which fixes the definition of the tort, envisaged by this norm, as well as its composition.
Classification of dispositions
By design and direct content, the following types of dispositions in criminal law are distinguished:
- Simple - calls a deed, but does not reveal its signs.
- Descriptive - contains an exhaustive description of the key features of the tort.
- Reference - does not describe the signs of a tort, but proposes to refer to some other article of the Criminal Code to establish the latter.
- Blanket - to establish the signs of a delict refers to other legal acts that do not have a criminal character.
- Combined (or mixed) - includes the characteristics of either a reference or a blanket disposition in conjunction with the characteristics relating to some other disposition.
Types of dispositions: simple, descriptive
So, let's consider in more detail what types of dispositions in criminal law are.
A simple disposition only points to a particular delict, but does not reveal its signs, since the essence of the latter is quite obvious and without the direct mention of any details. The introduction of this kind of dispositions into the criminal legislation is dictated by the consideration that the law enforcer will not experience any difficulties in understanding the definitions used and, accordingly, their additional interpretation will not be required. As an example, one can consider the disposition of Article 126 of the Criminal Code - the kidnapping of a person.
Descriptive disposition includes not only the definition of the actual delict, but also a comprehensive description of its key features. For example, tort delinquency, provided for in Article 158 of the Criminal Code, is defined as secretly stealing someone else's property. These types of dispositions in criminal law are the most common.
Types of dispositions: reference, blanket combined
The referential disposition, as mentioned above, does not describe the delict, but contains an appeal to some other article of the Criminal Code that determines the characteristics of the latter. Thus, repetitions that are not necessary and complicating the criminal legislation are eliminated. Referrals are used in both direct and indirect ways. In the first case, the signs are indicated, which must either be present or absent in the tort. In the second case, any concept is disclosed once, and then applied in the dispositions of other norms.
Blanket disposition in criminal law Contains references to the norms contained in any other branches of law - environmental, civil, labor, etc. These types of dispositions in criminal law Are used in those articles which establish liability for the violation of certain rules (traffic, handling of weapons, construction works, etc.). The introduction of the same rules into the criminal legislation would lead to a significant complication of the latter, and also required its adjustments caused by changes regularly introduced into the said rules.
Combined (mixed) disposition can contain signs of blanket or referenced disposition, as well as any other, usually simple or descriptive.
Having dealt with the question of what a disposition is, Should further consider what it is that is directly related to the last part of the criminal law norm, such as sanction.
Sanction - concept
The sanction refers to the structure-forming element of the criminal-legal norm (contained in the Special Part of the Criminal Code), which establishes the type and magnitude of punishment envisaged for the commission of a tort described by the disposition of this rule. By means of a sanction, the legislator assesses the level of public danger characterized by a perfect delict.
Types of sanctions
The sanctions used in criminal legislation are classified according to the degree of certainty, namely:
- Absolutely certain - establish as the only type of punishment, and its strictly specific value. In the current legislation, these sanctions are not used, because their application does not allow individualization of punishment based on the circumstances of the specific tort, as well as the personal characteristics of the guilty subject.
- Relatively specific - establish a specific type of punishment, as well as its legally defined limits, by specifying the minimum and maximum punishment or only the maximum.
- Alternative - establish two or more types of punishment (either fine, or public works, or deprivation of liberty, etc.), which can be applied for the commission of the relevant tort, proceeding from both the specifics of the latter and from considerations of expediency.
So, having considered the above Examples of dispositions and penalties in criminal law, it can be stated that the latter's system, as well as the structure of its norms, ensures the proper and effective practical application of the criminal law, which allows maintaining the rule of law in society at the proper level.