Lt

On the powers of a court to soften a sanction established in the Code of Administrative Violations of Law

Case No. 34/2009-11/2011-33/2011

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 13 DECEMBER 2007) OF ARTICLE 301 OF THE CODE OF ADMINISTRATIVE VIOLATIONS OF LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 25 September 2012

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 19 September 2012, in the Court sitting considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case No. 34/2009-11/2011-33/2011 subsequent to the petitions (joined into one case by Constitutional Court decision of 4 September 2012) of the Lazdijai District Local Court, the Fourth Vilnius City Local Court and the Zarasai District Local Court, the petitioners, requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law (petitions Nos. 1B-43/2009, 1B-10/2011 and 1B-41/2011).

 

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petitions of the Lazdijai District Local Court, the Fourth Vilnius City Local Court and the Zarasai District Local Court, the petitioners, are substantiated by the following arguments.

Article 1302 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law (hereinafter also referred to as the CAVL) inter alia provides for the obligatory confiscation of the vehicle for repeated driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, thus, while applying the impugned Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, under which one may not impose a smaller penalty than the minimal one provided in the sanction or impose a softer penalty than provided in the sanction, or not impose an administrative penalty at all upon the persons who committed the administrative violation of law provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL, the vehicle must always be confiscated. While seeking to ensure a fair court process and an efficient defence of the rights of the owner, a possibility must be created for the owner of the vehicle to prove that he is not responsible for the use of his property when the violation was committed. However, even in case the owner proves that he is not responsible for the use of his vehicle while committing the violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL, the court is not allowed not to follow Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL and not to confiscate such a vehicle. Thus, according to the petitioners, the court which adopts a decision on imposing an administrative penalty for the commission of the violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL is not granted the right to take account of the circumstances that are significant to a case and, following the criteria of justice and reasonableness, to decide that the established administrative penalty does not have to be applied. Due to this reason, administration of justice becomes formal, which is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law.

In addition, the persons who have committed administrative violations of law may not be discriminated, nor may they be granted privileges on any constitutionally unjustifiable grounds. However, in the impugned Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, the persons who have committed the administrative violation of law provided for in Article 1302 of that code are singled out from all other persons who committed administrative violations of law, as special rules for imposing a penalty upon them are established. Therefore, Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, who was Julius Sabatauskas, deputy Chairman of the Seimas Committee on Legal Affairs. According to the representative of the party concerned, the impugned Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL is not in conflict with the Constitution. His opinion is grounded on the following arguments.

While adopting the impugned provision, the legislator took account of the statistical data on accident rate because of driving when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated, the dangerousness of such violations and the harm caused due to them. One also evaluated the practice of application of the provisions of Article 301 of the CAVL, under which the persons who were held liable for driving when being inebriate or intoxicated from psychotropic substances and who were imposed deprivation of the right to drive a vehicle, applied to a court in most cases, while the court usually annulled this penalty (deprivation of the right to drive a vehicle) after the infringer had paid the fine. Thus, the infringers avoided real restrictions to enjoy the right to drive vehicles and by means of penalties one did not achieve all the purposes thereof provided in Article 20 of the CAVL. Therefore, while adopting the impugned provision, the legislator was fulfilling its constitutional duty to take measures which would ensure the safety of every person and all society from the dangerous violations of law.

According to the representative of the party concerned, having taken account of the statistical data of accidents of the recent 5 years, one may make an assumption that, due to making the legal norms stricter as one of the main measures in order to ensure safe traffic was efficient, the number of accidents due to the fault of inebriate drivers decreased substantially. In 2007, the number of such accidents was 801 and during those accidents 69 people were killed and 1211 people were injured, meanwhile, in 2011, the number of such accidents was 300 with 27 killed and 432 injured people. Thus, the impugned provision of the law was efficient as a preventive measure.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. As mentioned before, the Lazdijai District Local Court, the Fourth Vilnius City Local Court and the Zarasai District Local Court, the petitioners, request to investigate whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law.

It needs to be noted that, as the Constitutional Court has held more than once, an inseparable element of the content of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is the constitutional principle of justice, thus, the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice is to be treated as a petition requesting to investigate its compliance with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. The doubts of the petitioners regarding the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL are virtually substantiated by the fact that the court which adopts the decision regarding imposition of the administrative penalty for the violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL is not allowed to take account of the circumstances that are significant to a case and, while following the criteria of justice and reasonableness, to decide that the established administrative penalty—confiscation of the vehicle—does not have to be applied.
  2. Article 301 “Imposition of a smaller administrative penalty than the one provided by the law or non-imposition of an administrative penalty” of the CAVL, the compliance of Paragraph 2 whereof with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioners, prescribes:

“The body (official), while investigating cases of administrative violations of law, taking account of the circumstances specified in Paragraph 2 of Article 30 of this Code, as well other liability mitigating circumstances established in Article 31 of this Code and other mitigating circumstances which are not established in the law, by following the criteria of justice and reasonableness, may impose a smaller penalty than the minimum one provided for in the sanction, or may impose a softer penalty than the one provided for in the sanction, or not impose an administrative penalty at all.

The persons who have committed the administrative violation of law provided in Article 1302 of this Code may not be imposed a smaller penalty than the minimum one provided for in the sanction, nor may they be imposed a softer penalty than the one provided for in the sanction, nor may they imposed no administrative penalty at all.

The body (official) must reason its (his) every decision adopted by following Paragraph 1 of this Article. The decision shall be sanctioned by the judge of a local court.”

Paragraph 2 (wording of 17 October 2000) of Article 30 of the CAVL prescribes:

“While imposing a penalty, one takes account of the nature of the committed violation of law, the personality of the infringer and liability mitigating and aggravating circumstances. The list of liability mitigating and aggravating circumstances is established by Articles 31 and 32 of this Code.”

3.1. Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, which is impugned by the petitioners, is to be construed together with the provisions of Article 1302 of the CAVL.

Article 1302 “Repeated driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances” (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL prescribed:

“Driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after the person was imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs One, Four and Five of Article 126, Paragraph Three of Article 127 and Article 129 of this Code, shall incur the deprivation of the right to drive the vehicle for the drivers from three to four years together with confiscation of the vehicle, while for the persons who do not have the right to drive vehicles—an administrative arrest from twenty to thirty days with confiscation of the vehicle”.

Article 1302 (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL was amended by Article 20 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 5, 21, 26, 27, 29, 35, 5122, 877, 891, 116, 123, 1241, 125, 127, 1302, 131, 1331, 1671, 1672, 17223, 185, 1878, 191, 192, 1921, 221, 222, 225, 226, 231, 239, 2413, 2414, 259, 2591, 260, 2602, 262, 263, 264, 266, 267, 268, 269, 271, 272, 276, 282, 288, 304, 306, 308, 313, 314, 320, 326, 329, 334, 336, 337 and 3381 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law, Recognising Articles 1244, 1321, 1971, 315 Thereof as No Longer Valid and Supplementing the Code with Articles 1154, 1245, 1246, 1922 which was adopted by the Seimas on 14 December 2010. Article 1302 “Repeated driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances” (wording of 14 December 2010) of the CAVL prescribes:

“Driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after the person was imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs One, Four and Five of Article 126, Paragraph Three of Article 127 and Article 129 of this Code, shall incur the deprivation of the right to drive the vehicle for the drivers from three to four years together with confiscation of the vehicle, while for the persons who do not have the right to drive vehicles—an administrative arrest from twenty to thirty days with confiscation of the vehicle, whereas for the persons who do not have the right to drive vehicles and who may not be imposed an administrative arrest—a fine from four thousand to five thousand and five hundred litas with confiscation of the vehicle.”

It needs to be noted that in Article 1302 (wording of 14 December 2010) of the CAVL, in comparison with the legal regulation which was formerly consolidated in this article (wording of 13 December 2007), one additionally established a penalty for the persons who do not have the right to drive a vehicle and who may not be imposed an administrative arrest—a fine from four thousand to five thousand and five hundred litas with the confiscation of the vehicle.

Thus, under Article 1302 (wordings of 13 December 2007 and 14 December 2010) of the CAVL, the administrative liability appears for the person who was driving a vehicle (irrespective of whether he has the right to drive vehicles or not) being inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after the person was imposed an administrative penalty for: 1) driving of a vehicle while being inebriate, when inebriation (drunkenness) of a low degree is established (Paragraph 1 of Article 126 (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL); 2) driving of a vehicle while being inebriate, when inebriation (drunkenness) of an average or high degree is established, avoiding testing of inebriety, as well as use of alcohol after the accident, but before the establishment of the circumstances thereof (Paragraph 4 of Article 126 (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL); 3) driving of a vehicle while being intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, avoiding testing of intoxication, as well as use of narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances after the accident before the establishment of the circumstances thereof (Paragraph 5 of Article 126 (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL); 4) violation of the Road Traffic Rules resulting in a minor health disturbance of other persons, or a violation of the Road Traffic Rules resulting in wreckage (lesser wreckage) of vehicles, freight belonging to other persons, of roads and other road structures or other property, if committed by a person who was inebriate (drunk) or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances (Paragraph 3 (wordings of 13 December 2007 and 14 December 2010) of Article 127 of the CAVL); 5) driving of a vehicle while being inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances and not having the right to drive the vehicles of that kind, or avoiding testing of inebriety or intoxication, as well as use of alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances after the accident, but before the establishment of the circumstances (Article 129 (wording of 13 December 2007) of the CAVL).

It needs to be noted that repeated driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances is a grave violation of administrative law which causes increased danger for the road traffic safety, the lives of the human beings, as well as for their health and property. The main penalty for this violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL is deprivation of the right to drive a vehicle, an administrative arrest or a fine, whereas an additional penalty is confiscation of the vehicle.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs also to be noted that the minimal penalty for the drivers for driving of vehicles when they are inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after the person was imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 of Article 126, Paragraph 3 of Article 127 and Article 129 of that code—deprivation of the right to drive the vehicle for three years together with the confiscation of the vehicle, while for the persons who do not have the right to drive vehicles—an administrative arrest for twenty days with the confiscation of the vehicle (wordings of 13 December 2007 and 14 December 2010), whereas for the persons who may not be imposed an administrative arrest—a fine of four thousand litas with the confiscation of the vehicle (wording of 14 December 2010)—in comparison with the other sanctions established in the CAVL for violations of the Road Traffic Rules, is a strict one.

3.2. While construing the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL together with the one established in Paragraph 1 of that article and Article 1302 (wordings of 13 December 2007 and 14 December 2010) of the CAVL, it is clear that a court does not have the powers, while taking account of the circumstances specified in Paragraph 2 (wording of 17 February 2000) of Article 30 of that code, i.e. of the nature of the committed violation of law, the personality of the infringer and liability mitigating circumstances and following the criteria of justice and reasonableness, to impose a smaller penalty than the minimal one provided for in the sanction or impose a softer penalty than provided in the sanction, or not to impose an administrative penalty at all upon the person who has committed the administrative violation of law provided for in Article 1302 of the CAVL (i.e. who was driving the vehicle while being inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after he had been imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 of Article 126, Paragraph 3 of Article 127 and Article 129 of that code).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, together with the main penalty, the court must always impose also an additional penalty—confiscation of the vehicle—upon the person who has committed the administrative violation of law provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL (i.e. who was driving the vehicle while being inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after he had been imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 of Article 126, Paragraph 3 of Article 127 and Article 129 of that code). Even if the owner of the vehicle which, by the right of ownership, belongs not to the infringer, proves that he is not responsible for its use in the commission of a violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL, the court, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, is not allowed not to confiscate such a vehicle.

  1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, the following provisions of this constitutional doctrine, related to the powers of the courts to administer justice and individualisation of penalties imposed by them, are significant.

4.1. The Constitutional Court, while construing Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution, wherein it is established that, in the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts (Paragraph 1), has held more than once (inter alia in its rulings of 21 December 1999, 9 May 2006, 6 June 2006, 27 November 2006, 24 October 2007 and 21 January 2008) that courts, while administering justice, must ensure the implementation of the rights established in the Constitution, the laws and other legal acts, they must guarantee the supremacy of law and protect human rights and freedoms. A duty to courts stems from Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution to consider cases justly and objectively and to adopt reasoned and grounded decisions (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 15 May 2007, 17 September 2008 and 31 January 2011). The principle of justice entrenched in the Constitution as well as the provision that justice is administered solely by courts mean that the constitutional value is not the adoption of a decision in a court, but rather the adoption of a just court decision; the constitutional concept of justice implies not a formal and nominal justice administered by the court, not an outward appearance of justice administered by the court, but, most importantly, such court decisions (other court final acts), which by their content are not unjust. As it has been held in the acts of the Constitutional Court more than once, the justice administered only formally by the court is not the justice which is consolidated in and protected and defended by the Constitution (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 21 September 2006, 21 January 2008, and 31 January 2011).

4.2. In its jurisprudence, the Constitutional Court has expressed its position more than once that a court must have a possibility, taking account of the significant circumstances of the case, to individualise the strict penalty consolidated in the law and to impose a smaller penalty than the minimal one provided for in the sanction or a softer penalty than the one provided for by the law (Constitutional Court rulings of inter alia 26 January 2004, 3 November 2005, 10 November 2005, 21 January 2008 and 17 September 2008).

4.3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, inter alia Paragraph 1 of Article 109 thereof and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the law whereby the administrative legal liability of persons is established may not consolidate such legal regulation (penalties, their amounts) so that a court, while taking account of all the circumstances significant to a case, would not be allowed to individualise a strict penalty imposed on a concrete person for a concrete violation of law. By means of the legal regulation one must create legal preconditions for a court to investigate all circumstances significant to a case and to adopt a just decision. Conversely, the legal regulation may not be such so that the court would not be allowed, while taking account of all the circumstances significant to a case and by following law, without transgressing the imperatives of justice and reasonableness which arise from the Constitution, to adopt a just decision and thus to administer justice. Otherwise, the powers of the court to administer justice, which arise from the Constitution, inter alia Article 109 thereof, would be violated, and one would deviate from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It needs also to be noted that, while individualising the penalties imposed on infringers, the courts must thoroughly assess the dangerousness of a violation of law for human rights and freedoms, the interests of society and the state in a concrete situation. The situations where one may impose a smaller penalty for administrative violations of law than the minimal one provided for in the sanction, or impose a softer penalty than provided in the sanction, or not to impose an administrative penalty at all, must be exceptional, related to the statement of the existence of exceptional circumstances.

  1. It has been mentioned that, under impugned Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL, the court, while taking account of the circumstances specified in Paragraph 2 (wording of 17 February 2000) of Article 30 of that code, i.e. of the nature of the committed violation of law, the personality of the infringer and liability mitigating circumstances and following the criteria of justice and reasonableness, does not have the powers to impose a smaller penalty than the minimal one provided in the sanction or impose a softer penalty than provided in the sanction, or not to impose an administrative penalty at all upon the person who has committed an administrative violation of law provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL (i.e. who was driving the vehicle while being inebriate or intoxicated form narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances, after he had been imposed an administrative penalty for violations provided for in Paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 of Article 126, Paragraph 3 of Article 127 and Article 129 of that code).
  2. It needs to be held that by means of the legal regulation consolidated in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL which is impugned by the petitioners, the court is not allowed to individualise the strict penalty consolidated in Article 1302 (wordings of 13 December 2007 and 14 December 2010) of the CAVL, inter alia to impose upon the infringer a smaller penalty than the minimal one provided in the sanction or impose a softer penalty than that provided for in the sanction, or not to impose an administrative penalty at all.

Thus, such legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL creates preconditions for the situations to appear where a court will not be able, while taking account of all the circumstances significant to a case and by following law, without transgressing the imperatives of justice and reasonableness which arise from the Constitution, to adopt a just decision and thus to administer justice. The powers of the court to administer justice, which arise inter alia from Article 109 of the Constitution, are thus violated, and one deviates from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. Having held the aforesaid, the Constitutional Court will no longer investigate whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007) of Article 301 of the CAVL is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.
  3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, while taking account of the arguments provided in the petitions of the petitioners regarding the confiscation of the vehicles which belong not to the infringer, but to other persons and which were used when committing a violation provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL, one is to note the position regarding the administrative penalty—confiscation of items which were instruments of an administrative violation of law (contraband)—formulated in the Constitutional Court Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 26 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 8 April 1997.

In the aforementioned constitutional justice case one requested to investigate whether the provision “Only the item which is property of the infringer shall be subject to confiscation with the exception of the item which was either an immediate instrument or an immediate object of the administrative violation of law pertaining to legal cases of administrative violations of law as provided for by Article 210 of this Code” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 April 1996) of Article 26 of the CAVL, under which in the cases of administrative violation of law (contraband), one provides confiscation of the items which were either an instrument or immediate object of performing the said violation irrespective of the fact whether those items belonged by the right of ownership to the infringer or other persons who had temporarily transferred the said item to the infringer of law, was not in conflict with Article 23 of the Constitution.

In its ruling of 8 April 1997, the Constitutional Court recognised that the aforementioned provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 April 1996) of Article 26 of the CAVL was not in conflict with the Constitution.

In the aforementioned Constitutional Court ruling inter alia the following was held:

– by transferring his property to other persons for management or use, the owner of property always runs the risk to a certain degree, as the risk of accidental destruction of the said item falls on him; as the owner has transferred his property to another person by agreement having power of warrant, or that of use, lease, etc., and the latter lost it while performing administrative violation of law of contraband, the right of the owner to exact it from its honest gainer (the state) is restricted; the confiscation of the item which belongs to the third party and which was an instrument of administrative violation of law of contraband is to be compared to factual destruction of the item, therefore the owner is deprived of the opportunity to retrieve it in kind. However, he may claim to pay damages from the manager or the user of the item who has committed such a violation of law; such a regulation of legal relations by the impugned law is designated for imposing stricter responsibility of the infringer of law for his actions and may not be regarded as punishment of the third party;

– the rights of the owner are protected differently in the case when, for the purpose of contraband, the infringer of law has used an item (a car, etc.) which has been managed or used illegally; in such a case the law protects the rights of the owner also from the honest gainer of the said property.

It needs to be noted that these provisions are mutatis mutandis applicable also when the question of the confiscation of the vehicles which belong not to the infringer, but to other persons, which were used when committing an administrative violation of law provided in Article 1302 of the CAVL (repeated driving of vehicles when the drivers are inebriate or intoxicated from narcotic, psychotropic, or other mind-influencing substances ) is decided.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 December 2007, Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 138-5641) of Article 301 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the Republic of Lithuania is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                     Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                                         Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                                         Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                         Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                                         Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                         Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                         Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                                         Dainius Žalimas