Offences are divided into criminal offences and misdemeanours.

A criminal offence damages the victim’s legal rights. A misdemeanour is an administrative offence. Only the court has procedural rights for criminal offences, in addition to the court, the body conducting extra-judicial proceedings (Police and Border Guard Board, Estonian Tax and Customs Board, county or town government) also has procedural rights for misdemeanours. The activities of bodies conducting extra-judicial proceedings can be appealed in court.