Criminal sanctions

A criminal case may have one of two different outcomes.

If it is found that the defendant is not guilty of the act referred to in the charge, the charge will be dismissed and the defendant has the right to a reasonable compensation from state funds for his or her legal costs.

If the defendant is found guilty of a criminal offence, the criminal sanction imposed on him or her can be:

  • fixed fine
  • fine
  • conditional imprisonment
  • juvenile punishment
  • monitoring sentence
  • community service
  • unconditional imprisonment
  • combination sentence
  • victim surcharge
  • driving ban
  • business prohibition
  • forfeiture.

It is also possible that the defendant is found guilty of a criminal offence but, nevertheless, no punishment is imposed on him or her. This is possible, for example, if the offence is deemed petty when assessed as a whole or in the case of a defendant under 18 years of age, if the court deems that the criminal act was the result of lack of understanding or of imprudence. Persons lacking criminal responsibility are never sentenced to a punishment.

A fixed fine is imposed by a police officer, a border guard, a customs officer, or a game and fisheries warden.

The criminal records are a nationwide central register that contains data on persons sentenced to imprisonment. The data are collected, stored and delivered for the imposition and enforcement of criminal punishments. The data may also be delivered for the checking and evaluation of a person’s trustworthiness or suitability for a given position or task. For more information on criminal records, see the website of the Legal Register Centre.

Published 25.7.2019