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To the defendant (accused)

A crime is conduct for which a penalty can be imposed according to law. When a crime has been committed the police will investigate what has happened, for example through a questioning, investigation of the crime scene and a technical investigation. This is known as the 'preliminary investigation' and it will be led by a police officer or prosecutor.

The preliminary investigation can result in the prosecutor deciding to prosecute a person. This means that there will be a trial at the district court. The function of the court is to consider whether the prosecutor, supported by the investigation, can prove that the person charged has committed the particular crime alleged by the prosecutor

The person who is charged for the crime (the suspect) is called the defendant.

The trial

You should sign and return the acknowledgement letter accompanying the notice to confirm for the court that you have received the notice to attend the trial. At court, this is known as 'service'.

In many cases, it is necessary for you as defendant to attend the trial in person. If you cannot attend, you should always contact the court.

It is important that you arrive in good time and at the right place as a trial costs the community a lot of money. If you do not attend, the trial might have to be postponed. However, this does not mean that it will not take place, but that you and all the other parties affected will be given notice to attend on another date.

You may be liable to pay a default fine or risk being collected by the police if you do not attend. You may even have to pay the costs of others who have attended the court.

The notice to attend that you have received applies unless the court decides otherwise. It is a good idea to bring the notice to attend to the court.

If it is difficult for you to attend, you should call or write to the court immediately to give it notice. Valid excuses include:

  • disruption to public modes of communication
  • sudden illness (notify the district court if you are ill; a physician’s certificate is always required)
  • some other impeding circumstance that could not have been foreseen.

Work or holiday is not considered to be valid excuse.

The district court can grant compensation to you, for instance, for travelling to the trial. Whether compensation will be granted depends upon your income and wealth. In order to be able to apply for compensation, complete the standard form 'Ansökan/beslut om ersättning för inställelse m.m' ('Application/decision for compensation for attending, etc.')

Defence advokat

The court can appoint a defence advokat (public defence counsel) if you are suspected of having committed a crime. Your defence advokat will assist you with everything relating to the criminal case and will also attend the trial at the court.

The court will consider whether you need public defence counsel. You can always have public defence counsel if you are suspected of a serious crime. You can only get a public defence counsel in the case of less serious crimes if there are special reasons. Public defence counsel is normally not appointed if the offence is such that the penalty is usually in the form of fines, for example in traffic cases.

The State will pay part of the costs for public defence counsel. If you are acquitted, you will not need to repay anything to the State. If you are sentenced for the offence, you will, depending upon your income, normally be liable to pay all or part of the State's costs.

Senast ändrad: 2009-11-27