|Swiss Criminal Code|
|Federal Assembly of Switzerland|
|Enacted by||Federal Assembly of Switzerland|
|Enacted||20 December 1937|
|Commenced||01 January 1942|
|01 March 2018|
|Swiss Military Criminal Code|
|Status: Current legislation|
The Swiss Criminal Code (SR 311, German: Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), French: Code pénal suisse (CP), Italian: Codice penale svizzero (CP), Romansh: Cudesch penal svizzer) is the criminal code in Swiss law. The original version was created on 21 December 1937. It entered into force on 1 January 1942. Previously, criminal law had been a cantonal competency.
The Swiss Criminal Code was based on an initial draft by Carl Stooss in 1893. He proposed one of the first criminal codes that included both punishment and preemptive safeguard measures. The original code was approved by the people on 3 July 1938 in a referendum, with 358,438 voting in favor to 312,030 voting against. With its entry into force on 1 January 1942, all cantonal legislation that contradicted the new Criminal Code was abolished. This especially included the death penalty, which was still in force in some cantons. Moreover, the competences for substantive law was largely transferred from the cantons to the Confederation. The cantons retained only the competence in procedural law and cantonal tax legislation and violations.
The code has been revised numerous times since 1942. The most recent significative revision took effect in 2007 and introduced the possibility to convert short prison sentences (less than one year) into fines, calculated using a day-rate based on the "personal and economic situation of the convict at the time of the verdict", with an upper limit set at CHF 3000 per day of the sentence. Practically all prison sentences shorter than one year have since been converted into fines, conditional sentences (parole) to conditional fines. This has caused controversy because the result is that lighter offences not punishable by imprisonment always result in unconditional fines, while more severe offences now often result in conditional fines that do not need to be paid at all. The Federal Council in October 2010 announced its intention to revert to the earlier system, and all large parties expressed at least partial support.
First Book: The first book lays down general provisions which apply to the following books ("General"). The first book contains provisions on:
Second Book: This specifies what actions are punishable. The second book is divided into 20 titles that summarize the various crimes ("Special Section"):
Third Book: The third book mainly covers the powers of courts and defines procedural requirements.