The Concept of Multiple Offenses: Theoretical and Practical Problems

Tomas Girdenis


This article examines the concept of multiple offenses and explores both theoretical and practical problems. The understanding of the concept of multiple offenses is, not unanimous, and two different approaches to the concept of multiple offenses may be distinguished. The first group of scientists associates multiple offenses with the commitment of two or more criminal acts, regardless of whether the person was convicted for the previous offenses or not. The second group, which is supported by the author of the article, associates multiple offenses only with two or more criminal acts committed before the conviction for one of them. According to the common opinion of the second group of scientists, recidivism is not a form of multiple offenses and only two forms should be distinguished: crimes made by a single act (“ideal coincidence of crimes”) and crimes made by different acts (“real coincidence of crimes”). The author identifies the following attributes of the concept of multiple offenses: 1) a person is prosecuted for several offenses; 2) these offenses are committed before a conviction for making them. The author does not support the need for the third commonly known attribute of the concept of multiple offenses (an absence of legal barriers for prosecution) and proposes to define the concept of multiple offenses with reference to the two abovementioned attributes. What is more, possible solutions to the problem which arises when criminal and administrative offenses are committed by a single act are suggested in this article.


criminal law; multiple offenses; coincidence of criminal acts; criminal recidivism; conviction

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236