Since 1975 the number of convictions has decreased by more than 50 per cent. 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 2011, offences against various road traffic statutes was the principal offence in almost 35 per cent of all convictions. The second most common offence type is theft offences, which was the principal offence in 20 per cent of the convictions in 2011.
Fines most common sanction Fines issued either by the courts or the prosecutor is the most common form of sanction. In 2011, 54 per cent of all convictions carried fines as the principal sanction. In addition 328,000 summary fines were issued directly by the police. In 2011, about 9 per cent (just under 12,700) of all convictions carried a prison sentence. The most common sentence length was of a maximum of two months (46 per cent 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 (24 per cent of all convictions carrying a prison sentence). Just over 1,020 sentences, or 8 per cent, carried a prison term of over two years, five of which carried a life sentence. Just over 80 youths were sentenced to youth custody in 2011, 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 just under 4,190 youth care and youth service sentences in 2011, which is 386 fewer than in 2010.
In 2011, just under 11,800 convictions carried a suspended sentence as the principal sanction, of which 40 per cent (4,750 convictions) were combined with community service. The number of convictions carrying a suspended sentence, with or without the combination of community service, has increased continuously since these sanctioning forms were introduced in 1993 and 1999 respectively.
Men and women accounted for 83 and 17 per cent respectively of those found guilty of offences in 2011. Between 2000 and 2009 the proportion of women increased from 16 to 18 per cent, to drop slightly in 2010. Youths aged between fifteen and twenty made up approximately 20 per cent of all convicted in 2011. 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.