Murder (Swedish law)

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For a general discussion of the law of murder, see murder.

In Sweden, the following degrees of murder apply:[1]

  • Murder (Mord) is defined as a planned taking a life of another, and punishable with imprisonment between 10 to 18 years or life imprisonment, with 14 years as maximum for culprits below the age of 18 (for all crimes). (3-1 § of the Penal Code)
  • Manslaughter (Dråp) is defiend as murder when it is less severe, either due to the circumstances or the crime itself, and is punishable with a fixed prison term between 6 and 10 years. (3-2 §)
  • Infanticide (Barnadråp) is murder committed by a mother on her child "when, owing to her confinement, she is in a disturbed mental state or in grave distress", punishable with any prison term up to 6 years. (3-3 §)
  • Negligent homicide (Vållande till annans död, literally causing another's death) is murder committed due to carelessness. For negligent homicide, there are three types of punishments:
    1. A fine (day-fines) if the crime is petty,
    2. Any prison term up to 2 years, or
    3. Any prison term between 6 months and 6 years if the crime is gross. Gross negligence is distinguished by "the taking of a considerable risk leading to the death, or driving a motor vehicle under influence leading to the death". (3-7 §)

The Swedish Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, has recently criticized the current system of punishment for murder, as "persons eligible for sentences higher than 10 years instead are sentenced to that term rather than life imprisonment". Instead, a term of 18 years imprisonment are considered to be inserted. Currently, the murder and infanticide laws originate from 1962, while the law of negligent homicide was altered in 1993.


  1. ^ 1998 version of the Penal Code (English)