Local November 25, 2011 | 8:13 am

Dominican Republic’s fear of rising crime spurs harsher laws

SANTO DOMINGO.- The Chamber of Deputies yesterday approved sweeping changes to the Penal Procedural Code to ease Dominican society’s fear of rising crime, an initiative of Victor Suarez, of the ruling PLD party.

Among the changes to 75 articles is an increase to three years in the maximum temporary incarceration period on cases declared as complex by a court, and harsher penalties for domestic violence, invasion and occupation of property and check forgery.

In cases of domestic violence conciliation will be procured only if the victim’s physical and psychological integrity aren’t in danger.

It authorizes a judge to issue warrants to search at night in cases of drug trafficking, kidnapping or terrorism and for the National Police to request them for searches of private properties in the absence of Justice Ministry representatives or in urgencies.

Temporary incarceration will be mandatory for crimes for which the penalty is 20 years or more; after a first conviction is handed down; when immediate payment of a fine is ordered, or for exit impediment, and for monetary penalties and suspension of driver license for traffic violations.

Chamber president Abel Martinez said organized crime will not have godfathers in society and that the deputies will continue to confront criminals forcefully. “Our duty is to seek legislation which punishes the damned criminals who take mourning and pain to the Dominican family. We as the Chamber of Deputies will safeguard so that our society, which demands respect and justice, have the suitable instrument in its hands so the criminals pay for the actions they commit."

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