Author: Lawyer Enrico Germano
The Federal Office of Justice in Berne manages the criminal record extract. Any person residing in Switzerland is entitled to apply for this extract for personal purposes, which is necessary, among other things, when applying for a job. The procedure is quite simple and easily accessible on the Internet.
In fact, all persons who have been convicted in Switzerland are entered in the criminal record, as are Swiss citizens who have been convicted abroad with a legally binding decision. The criminal record shall include
- all convictions for felonies or misdemeanours for which a conviction or measure has been pronounced. Felonies are offences that carry a custodial sentence of more than three years. Misdemeanours are offences that carry a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or a monetary penalty.
- all convictions for contraventions if (i.). a fine of more than CHF 5.000.– is imposed; (ii.) community service of more than 180 hours is imposed; (iii.) the prosecuting authority is authorized or explicitly obliged by federal law to impose, in the case of a new offence, a fine of a certain minimum amount or, in addition to the fine, a monetary penalty or a custodial sentence; or (iv.) an activity prohibition order or a contact prohibition and exclusion order is imposed, or if such convictions are part of a sentence subject to registration. Contraventions are offences for which a fine has been imposed1.
Criminal record extracts also include persons against whom criminal proceedings are pending for felonies or misdemeanours, i.e. even if the sentence is not legally binding yet.
Article 366(3) of the Swiss Criminal Code (hereinafter SCC) also states convictions of juveniles for felonies or misdemeanours are included only if a custody order, an accommodation in a secure institution, out-patient treatment or an activity prohibition order or a contact prohibition and exclusion order were imposed2.
Article 369 SCC provides for removal of entries under certain conditions, in particular: “custodial sentence are removed ex officio if the following periods have elapsed over and above the period of the sentence imposed by the court:
a. 20 years in the case of a custodial sentence of at least five years;
b. 15 years in the case of a custodial sentence of at least one but less than five years;
c. 10 years in the case of custodial sentences of less than a year;
d. 10 years in the case of deprivation of liberty in accordance with Article 25 JCLA”3.
The Federal Office of Justice also points out that decisions for overspeed and drunken driving are also entered on the criminal record extracts that is issued to private individuals, but only for serious traffic offences, such as: “overspeed from 25 km/h inside built-up areas, overspeed from 30 km/h outside built-up areas and overspeed from 35 km/h on the motorway are considered misdemeanours. That is why such sentences appear for a certain period on the criminal record extract issued to private individuals. The same also applies to sentences for driving under the influence of alcohol from a blood alcohol level of 0.8%4.
The new Criminal Records Ordinance, the so-called VOSTRA Ordinance, came into force on January 1st 2007. It regulates in particular the responsible authority, the data collected, the rights of data processing and the time of entry, the communication and deletion of data, the participating authorities and the right of information of the persons concerned5.
1 Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP, Federal Office of Justice, Bern FOJ
2 Juvenile Criminal Law Act- JCLA
3 Art. 369 SCC
4 Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP, Federal Office of Justice, Bern FOJ
5 Criminal Records Ordinance of September 29th 2006