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Italy: Public Security

(Oct. 22, 2008) On July 24, 2008, the Italian Parliament converted into Law 125 of 2008 the Decree-Law 92 of May 23, 2008, on Urgent Matters of Public Security. The conversion includes amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Highlights of the changes are as follows.

Amendments to the Criminal Code

  • Provisions of article 235 (Expulsion or Estrangement of a Foreigner from the State) have been amended to specify that in expressly listed cases and when a foreigner is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of more than two years, a judge will order the person's expulsion from the country. If the convicted person is a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union, the judge will order that person's estrangement from the territory of Italy. Those who violate an order of expulsion or estrangement decreed by a judge may be imprisoned for a period of one to four years.
  • Article 496 now provides that persons subject to interrogation regarding the identity, status, or other characteristics of themselves or others must provide correct information. A person who provides false information to a public official or to a person responsible for a public service who is acting in the exercise of that public function or service may be imprisoned for a period of one to five years.
  • A new paragraph has been added to article 590, to provide that in cases of violations of the regulations of roads and highways, the punishment for causing serious injury is imprisonment for a period of six months to two years, and the sanction for causing very grave injury is imprisonment for a period of one year and six months to four years. This provision applies if the violation is perpetrated by a person acting while under the influence of alcohol (as specified in article 186(2, c) of Legislative Decree No. 285 of April 30, 1992, as amended) or by an individual acting while under the effect of narcotics or a psychotropic substance.

Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure

  • Paragraphs have been added to article 260 to provide the judiciary with the authority to order the destruction of counterfeit goods that have been illegally taken into possession or commercialized. This authority may be exercised when the goods in question are difficult to safeguard or when the safeguard is particularly burdensome or dangerous for public security, health, or hygiene. In cases where the goods have been confiscated from unknown persons, the judicial police may, after a period of three months have elapsed (counted from the date of the confiscation), destroy the confiscated counterfeit goods, after having provided notice to the judicial authority.
  • Articles 5 and 5 bis amend article 12 of Legislative Decree No. 286 of July 25, 1998, stating that persons who profit unjustly from providing lodging to foreigners who do not have proper documents authorizing their stay in the country may also be imprisoned.

For crime prevention, the Law now specifies certain exceptional circumstances when the armed forces may be called in to assist maintaining control of the territory. (Conversione in legge, con modificazioni, del decreto-legge 23 maggio 2008, n. 92, recante misure urgenti in materia di sicurezza pubblica [Conversion into law, with amendments, of Decree-Law n. 92 of May 23, 2008, concerning urgent measures in matters of public security], 173 GAZETTA UFFICIALE, July 25, 2008, available at