Does a thief take criminal responsibility when the victim withdraws his complaint?

Does a thief take criminal responsibility when the victim withdraws his complaint?
Posted date: 18/02/2021

I am a student living in Da Nang city. Several days ago, my apartment was opened, my Dell laptop valued VND 4,000,000 and Samsung cell phone valued VND 2,000,000 were stolen. After that, I checked the camera and found out the thief. Then, I file a denunciation to the Ward Police. In the process of investigation, the police found out that the thief had taken his criminal actions in many other places. After acknowledging the situation, the thief’s family suggested that I would withdraw my denunciation as they would compensate for my damages. I agreed with their suggestions.  Now, I would like to know if the thief takes criminal responsibility when I withdraw my complaint and what the criminal responsibility he has to take if any.

Thank you.

FDVN’s opinions:

Thank you for concerning FDVN’s legal services. Regarding your consulting requests, after studying the relevant legal documents, FDVN Law Firm would like to give you the following advice:

According to Article 173 of Criminal Code 2015 amended in 2017:

1. A person who steals another person's property which is assessed at from VND 2,000,000 to under VND 50,000,000 or property assessed at under VND 2,000,000 in any of the following circumstances shall face a penalty of up to 03 years' community sentence or 06 - 36 months' imprisonment:

a) The offender has incurred an administrative penalty for appropriation of property;

b) The offender has an unspent conviction for theft of property or any of the criminal offences specified in Article 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175 and 290 hereof;

c) The offence has a negative impact on social safety, order and security;

d) The property stolen is the primary means of livelihood of the victim and the victim's family; the property taken is a souvenir, memento or religious item that has a spiritual value to the victim.

2. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 02 - 07 years' imprisonment:

a) The offence is committed by an organized group;

b) The offence is committed in a professional manner;

c) The property obtained is from VND 50,000,000 to under VND 200,000,000;

d) The offender employs a deceitful method or a dangerous method to commit the offence;

dd) The offender attacks other people to escape;

e) The property stolen is assessed at from VND 2,000,000 to under VND 50,000,000 or but the offender commits the offence in any of the circumstances specified in Point a through d Clause 1 of this Article;

g) Dangerous recidivism.

3. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 07 - 15 years' imprisonment:

a) The property stolen is assessed at from VND 200,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000;

b) The property stolen is assessed at from VND 50,000,000 to under VND 200,000,000 or but the offender commits the offence in any of the circumstances specified in Point a through d Clause 1 of this Article;

c) The offender takes advantage of a natural disaster or epidemic to commit the offence.

4. This offence committed in any of the following circumstances carries a penalty of 12 - 20 years' imprisonment:

a) The property stolen is ≥ VND 500,000,000;

b) The property stolen is assessed at from VND 200,000,000 to under VND 500,000,000 or but the offender commits the offence in any of the circumstances specified in Point a through d Clause 1 of this Article;

c) The offender takes advantage of a war or state of emergency to commit the offence.”

Therefore, the act of stealing a cell phone and laptop will be prosecuted for criminal responsibility according to the above provisions, depending on the severity and nature of the crime.

According to Article 155 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2015:

“Article 155. Filing of criminal charges as per the crime victim’s petitions

1. Only criminal charges against offences as defined in Section 1 of Article 134, 135, 136, 138, 139, 141, 143, 155, 156 and 226 of the Criminal Code can be pressed at the requests of the crime victim or the representative of the crime victim less than 18 years of age or having mental or physical defects or passing away.

2. If the petitioner withdraws his petition for charges, the lawsuit shall be dismissed. If such person is evidently found to withdraw the petition against his will out of coercion or duress, the investigation authority, Procuracy or Court shall maintain the charges regardless of the petition for withdrawal.

3. The crime victim or its representative is not permitted to resubmit a petition withdrawn, unless such withdrawal results from coercion or duress.”

It can be referred from the above provisions that the crimes stipulated in Article 173 of Criminal Code do not fall into the cases of criminal prosecution at the request of the victims. Therefore, the thief will be prosecuted for criminal responsibility regardless of whether or not you withdraw your denunciation.

Above is FDVN Law Firm's opinion for your consulting requests based on studying the relevant legal provisions. Hopefully, FDVN's advice would be helpful to you.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Thanh Tra - FDVN Law Firm


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