In essence, the concepts of crime and misdemeanor refer to acts that are not tolerated by the legal order in Turkish Law. Just as the act constituting a crime is an injustice, the act constituting a misdemeanor is also an injustice. In other words, these two concepts essentially mean the same thing. Although they are essentially the same, they are quantitatively different. Crime expresses a greater injustice than misdemeanor. Because of this idea, the acts envisaged as crimes are subject to more severe sanctions.


A crime is an unjust human behavior that constitutes a violation of the legal values that must be protected in order to maintain social order. Misdemeanor, on the other hand, is an injustice for which an administrative sanction is envisaged.


While penalties and security measures are envisaged as sanctions for crimes, administrative fines and administrative measures are envisaged for misdemeanors.


Criminal convictions are recorded in the judicial registry. Administrative sanctions imposed for misdemeanors are not recorded in the registry in any way.


It is not possible to prescribe a sentence binding the liberty for misdemeanors.


In terms of participation, there is a principle of distinction in crimes. No one can be held responsible for anyone else's actions. However, the situation is completely different in misdemeanors. Everyone who participates in the commission of the misdemeanor is accepted as the perpetrator.


While there are reasons that reduce culpability in criminal law, there is no such situation in misdemeanors.


In crimes, the criminal liability of legal entities for the acts of the perpetrator is not accepted. However, in misdemeanors, legal entities are also liable for administrative sanctions.


In Turkish criminal law, persons who have not completed the age of 12 at the time of committing the act are not criminally liable. Only security measures are applied to these persons. In misdemeanors, those who have not completed the age of 15 at the time of committing the act are not held liable for administrative fines.


In criminal law, it is accepted that crimes and penalties cannot be prescribed by the regulatory acts of the administration. However, it is accepted that the content of the framing provision can be filled by the general and regulatory acts of the administration.


In the Turkish Criminal Code, the principle of legality in crime and punishment is valid and this principle of legality has not been stretched in any way by giving any authority to the administration. On the other hand, in the Turkish Law on Misdemeanors, the principle of legality is softened by stating that the acts that will constitute misdemeanors can be determined by the administration, provided that the main norm is adhered to, and the administration is authorized in this regard. However, no authority is given to the administration in determining the type and amount of sanctions for misdemeanors.


The Turkish Law on Misdemeanors differs from the Turkish Criminal Code in terms of attempt. According to the TCC, a person is held responsible for attempting a crime, while according to the Turkish Law on Misdemeanors, a person is not held responsible for attempting a misdemeanor.


The TCC and the Law on Misdemeanors have different regulations on cumulation. In the TCC, the person is punished for the crime that requires the heaviest penalty among the crimes committed in case of cumulation. In the Law on Misdemeanors, in case of cumulation, if more than one misdemeanor requires an administrative fine, it is punished for the misdemeanor that prescribes the highest administrative fine, but if these misdemeanors stipulate different sanctions, it is held responsible for each of these sanctions separately.


If an act constitutes both a crime and a misdemeanor, only the misdemeanor is sanctioned unless sanctions cannot be imposed for the crime. In other words, if a penalty cannot be imposed for any reason due to the crime, sanctions may be imposed for the misdemeanor.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.  If you want to contact an English-speaking criminal lawyer in Istanbul for more information you can contact our office.