On this page:
- The right to a public defence counsel
- When someone is arrested
- When a suspect is held on remand
- Restrictions while on remand
- The prosecutor decides whether to indict or discontinue the investigation
- The court reaches a verdict
- Criminal records
- To appeal a verdict
- When a suspect is a juvenile
In certain cases, suspects have the right to a public defence counsel. This entitlement may apply during the investigation or it may not take effect until prior to a trial.
Anyone who wishes to have a public defence counsel appointed on their behalf during the investigation should contact the police officer in charge, or the prosecutor if the case involves a serious crime.
The prosecutor will make an application to the court, which will then decide whether a public defence council should be appointed and, if so, make an appointment. If a prosecution has already commenced, the suspect may apply directly to the court to have a public defence counsel appointed prior to the trial.
At the trial, the court will decide whether, and if so how much of, the cost of the public defence counsel should be met by the defendant.
When a crime has been committed, an investigation will be conducted under the leadership of either a police officer or a prosecutor, depending on the severity of the crime. The leader of the investigation will decide whether there are grounds for suspecting someone of the crime. The prosecutor decides whether to place the suspect under arrest.
The prosecutor must decide no later than 12 o’clock on the third day after the arrest whether to release the suspect from custody or to apply for a remand order. The court decides whether to remand the suspect.
If the prosecutor deems that there are grounds for remanding a suspect, an application for a remand order will be issued to the district court. The prosecutor must then state the grounds on which the suspect should be remanded. The three possible grounds are that there is a risk that the person will:
- flee or otherwise evade legal proceedings or punishment;
- impede the investigation by, for example, removing evidence or in another way; or
- continue their criminal activity.
The district court will then hold a remand hearing, after which it will decide whether or not the suspect should be remanded in custody.
Once a remand order has been issued, the prosecutor normally has 14 days in which to file a prosecution, although this period may be extended by decision of the court.
If there is a risk that, while in detention, the suspect may impede the investigation by, for example, contacting other suspects, the victim of the crime or witnesses, restrictions may be placed on the contacts with the outside world. This may mean that, with the exception of the defence counsel, the suspect is not permitted to receive visitors. Some suspects may even be prohibited from reading newspapers, listening to the radio or watching television. The prosecutor will notify any such restrictions after receiving permission from the court to do so.
Once the investigation has been completed, the prosecutor must decide whether or not to file a prosecution.
The court adjudicates on the case. Sometimes this will only take a short while, for example, if the suspect is on remand or when the case involves juveniles. A judgement may then be delivered immediately after the court’s deliberations.
If it is not possible to make a judgement immediately after the trial, it will be delivered by post, usually in between one to two weeks.
The Swedish Police keeps a register of data concerning those who have been convicted or who are suspected of committing a criminal offence, including summary impositions of fines, fines for breaches of regulations and waivers of prosecution. The register also includes judgements delivered by courts abroad.
The Swedish Police, Swedish Tax Agency, Swedish Customs, Swedish Prosecution Authority or the courts may request extracts from the register. Register extracts are required when applying to work in preschools, schools and a number of similar workplaces. Some other employers also require job applicants to obtain a register extract and present it before they are employed.
It is the severity of the sanction or sentence that decides how long an offence remains on the criminal record before it is expunged. At a minimum this will be 3 years after a judgement and at a maximum 20 years after a sentence has been served.
The prosecutor, suspect and, in some cases, the injured party have a right to appeal judgements by the district court to the court of appeal, which is a higher instance.
Generally speaking, it will not be necessary for those involved to testify again at the new trial in the court of appeal. Audio-visual recordings of their testimony before the district court will be available to the court of appeal and it is normally sufficient to play these in court.
The court of appeal’s decision may in turn be appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court mainly considers cases that may prove precedential to how the courts should rule on similar cases in future.
Specific rules apply to criminal investigations in which the suspect in under 21 years of age. The most important special regulations apply to cases in which the suspect is under 18 years of age.
When a juvenile is suspected of a crime it is of particular importance that society reacts quickly, so that there is a clear link between the crime and punishment. A statutory timeframe is therefore in place regarding how long an investigation into juvenile crime is permitted to take.