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Pardon and amnesty for offences

Law no. 38-A/2023, of 2 August

Law no. 38-A/2023, of 2 August, which will come into force on 1 September 2023, provides for the granting of pardons and amnesties for offenses committed by young people between the ages of 16 and 30 on the occasion of World Youth Day (WYD) in Portugal.

  • Scope;
  • Forgiveness of penalties;
  • Forgiveness of ancillary sanctions relating to administrative offenses;
  • Amnesty for criminal offenses;
  • Amnesty for disciplinary offenses and military disciplinary offenses;
  • Exceptions;
  • Conditions for pardon;
  • Civil liability arising from amnestied facts;
  • Re-examination of the conditions for pre-trial detention and the obligation to remain at home.

Scope of application

This law applies to criminal sanctions relating to offenses committed up until 00:00 on 19 June 2023 by people aged between 16 and 30 at the time of the offense.

It also applies to ancillary sanctions relating to administrative offenses (e.g., driving disqualifications) and to disciplinary crimes committed up until the date mentioned earlier.

Forgiveness of penalties

The following sentences are pardoned:

a) 1 year’s imprisonment for all prison sentences of up to 8 years, including a sentence under the regime of staying at home (commonly known as house arrest);

b) Fines of up to 120 days as a principal OR as a substitute for prison sentences;

c) Subsidiary imprisonment resulting from the conversion of the fine sentence;

d) Imprisonment for non-compliance with the substitute sentence;

e) Other substitute sentences, EXCEPT the suspension of a subordinate prison sentence, conditional on the fulfillment of duties or rules of conduct and probation.

NOTE: In the event of a conviction in conjunction with a legal sentence, the pardon applies to the single sentence.

Forgiveness of ancillary sanctions relating to administrative offenses

Ancillary sanctions relating to administrative offenses where the maximum applicable fine is less than €1,000.00 (one thousand euros) are forgiven.

Amnesty for criminal offences

Criminal offenses for which the applicable penalty is no more than 1 year in prison OR a 120-day fine are amnestied.

NOTE: AMNESTY allows criminal proceedings to be extinguished, while Pardon is aimed at the penalty already imposed.

Amnesty for disciplinary offenses and military disciplinary offenses

Disciplinary offenses that do not simultaneously constitute criminal offenses not amnestied by this Law and whose applicable sanction, in both cases, does not exceed disciplinary suspension or imprisonment are amnestied.


In the context of crimes against persons, those convicted of crimes of/against:

a) Murder and infanticide;

b) Domestic violence and ill-treatment;

c) Serious physical harm, female genital mutilation, trafficking in human organs, and aggravated physical harm;

d) Coercion, stalking, forced marriage, kidnapping, slavery, trafficking in persons, abduction and hostage-taking;

e) Sexual freedom and self-determination.

  • In the context of crimes against property, those convicted of crimes of abuse of trust, fraud, OR extortion.
  • In the context of crimes against cultural identity and personal integrity, those convicted of crimes of discrimination, incitement to hatred and violence, torture, and other cruel, degrading, or inhuman treatment.
  • In the context of offenses against life in society, those convicted of crimes of:

a) Fires, explosions, and other particularly dangerous behavior, forest fires, damage to nature, and pollution;

b) Dangerous driving of a road vehicle and driving while drunk or under the influence of narcotics or psychotropic substances;

c) Criminal association.

  • In the context of crimes against the state, those convicted of the following offenses:

a) Against national sovereignty and the realization of the rule of law;

b) Evasion and prison riots;

c) Money laundering;

d) Corruption, embezzlement, and economic participation in business.

  • The following are also excluded

a) Crimes of fraud in obtaining a subsidy or grant, misappropriation of a subsidy, grant or subsidized credit and fraud in obtaining credit;

b) The offense of aiding illegal immigration;

c) Offences committed while holding political office or being a magistrate in the exercise of their functions;

d) Those sentenced to a relatively indeterminate sentence and repeat offenders;

e) Offenders committed under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

f) Those convicted of offenses committed against members of the police and security forces, the armed forces, and officials in the exercise of their duties.

Conditions of the pardon

The pardon is granted subject to a resolutive condition, i.e. the beneficiary may not commit any intentional offense for 1 year after the law comes into force (1 September 2023), in which case the penalty imposed (and pardoned) will be added to the penalty imposed in the meantime for the new offense.

They must also pay the compensation or reparation to which they have been sentenced within 90 days of notification.

Civil liability arising from amnestied facts

  • The amnesty does not extinguish civil liability arising from amnestied facts.
  • The injured party who, on 1 September 2023, has been notified and is within the time limit for making a civil claim for compensation in the context of a criminal action extinguished by the amnesty may make such a claim, and the proceedings will continue only to examine it.
  • If he has not yet been notified to make a civil claim, he is notified to do so within 10 days, failing which he can only do so separately in the civil court.
  • In cases in which a judgment has been handed down OR a hearing date has been scheduled, the injured party may, within 10 days of the decision becoming final and unappealable, REQUEST that the case be continued to establish the civil compensation to which they are entitled.
  • In civil claims brought separately, any of the parties or intervening third parties may, up to 20 days before the final hearing, REQUEST that the case in which the amnesty was decreed be joined or that a certificate be attached to the part of the case relevant to the civil claim.

Re-examination of the conditions for pre-trial detention and the obligation to remain in one’s home

Until 31 October 2023, at the request of the accused, the Public Prosecutor’s Office or on its initiative, depending on the procedural stage, the assumptions of pre-trial detention, and the obligation to remain in the home, whose facts were committed until 00:00 on 19 June 2023, shall be re-examined, considering the possibility of revocation given the foreseeable penalty.

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