Persons found guilty of offences

Statistics relating to persons convicted for criminal offences present those found guilty either by court (county court convictions) or by prosecutors (through prosecutor fines or waivers of prosecution).

In 2019, there were approximately 104,000 so-called conviction decisions laid down by the courts or the prosecutors. This is a 3 percent increase compared to 2018.

Conviction decisions

Conviction decisions, in total and by principal sanction, 2010-2019.

Since 1975, the number of convictions has decreased by 67 percent. The greatest reduction came at the end of the 1970s in connection with the decriminalization of public drunkenness. Since then the trend has been more stable, but there has nonetheless been a continuous reduction in number of convictions. In part the reduction can be explained by the fact that over time the police have received extended authority to issue summary fines for a larger number of petty offences. These are presented separately in the conviction statistics. Part of the decrease, particularly between the years 1994—1996, can also be explained if viewed in relation to the fact that the number of cleared offences also fell during this period of time.

Road traffic offences constitute the most common offence type for which someone is convicted. In 2019, offences against various road traffic statutes were the principal offence in 31 percent of all convictions. The second most common offence type is crimes against the Narcotics Drugs Act, which was the principal offence in 26 percent of the convictions in 2019.

Fines most common sanction

Fines issued either by the courts or the prosecutor is the most common form of sanction. In 2019, 59 percent of all convictions carried fines as the principal sanction. In addition, 244,000 summary fines were issued directly by the police.

In 2019, about 10 percent (10,900) of all convictions carried a prison sentence. The most common sentence length was of a maximum of two months (43 percent of all convictions carrying a prison sentence) while the second most common sentence length was of over two months but no more than six months (21 percent of all convictions carrying a prison sentence). About 1,430 sentences or 13 percent of the prison sentence carried a prison term of over two years, 10 of which carried a life sentence. In 2019, 86 youths were sentenced to youth custody, a sanction that since 1999 has largely replaced the use of prison for youths up to eighteen years of age.

A legislative change introduced 1 January 2007 led to the sanctions youth care and youth service, previously included under care of the social services, now having become separate sanctions. There were about 2,920 youth care and youth service sentences in 2019.

In 2019, there were 9,470 convictions that carried a suspended sentence as the principal sanction, of which 33 percent (3,080 convictions) were combined with community service.

Men and women accounted for 84 and 16 percent respectively of those found guilty of offences in 2019. Youths aged between fifteen and twenty made up approximately 20 percent of all convicted in 2019. In relation to the proportion of the population, youths are over-represented among those found guilty of offences compared to members of other age groups.