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Law no. 38-A/2023 of August 2, Pardon and amnesty for offenses



On the occasion of World Youth Day, which was the stage for the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Portugal, Law 38-A/2023 of August 2 was published, establishing a pardon of penalties and an amnesty for certain offenses, which came into force on September 1, 2023.

The law covers crimes, administrative offenses, disciplinary infractions and even military infractions committed until June 19, 2023. In the case of crimes and/or criminal convictions, there is a limit to the application of the amnesty, and it only applies to crimes and/or convictions committed by young people between the ages of 16 and 30.

In summary, Law no. 38-A/2023, of August 2, provided for the following:

      • The pardon of 1 year of the sentence, in the case of prison sentences of up to 8 years – including sentences carried out under house arrest.
      • The pardoning of fine sentences of up to 120 (one hundred and twenty) days, as a principal or as a substitute for prison sentences.
      • The pardoning of substitute sentences, with the exception of the suspension of execution of a prison sentence subject to compliance with duties or rules of conduct or accompanied by probation.
      • Forgiveness of ancillary sanctions for administrative offenses where the maximum applicable fine does not exceed €1,000.00 (one thousand euros).
      • The amnesty/forgiveness of crimes, if the sentence does not exceed 1 year in prison or 120 (one hundred and twenty) days fine.
      • Amnesty for disciplinary infractions (including military infractions) that do not constitute crimes not amnestied by this law and whose applicable sanction does not exceed disciplinary suspension or imprisonment.

Exceptions to the application of Law 38-A/2023 of August 2 are those convicted of particularly serious crimes, namely:

      • crimes of domestic violence
      • mistreatment
      • serious or aggravated physical injury
      • murder
      • infanticide
      • kidnapping
      • crimes against sexual freedom and self-determination,
      • criminal association
      • influence peddling
      • embezzlement
      • economic participation in a business
      • bleaching
      • corruption
      • fraud in obtaining and diverting a subsidy, grant or credit, and also
      • terrorism
      • others

Law 38-A/2023, of August 2, also excludesrepeat offenders and offenders who committed offenses under the influence of alcohol or drugs from this amnesty/forgiveness.

Finally, it should be noted that this amnesty does not extinguish civil liability arising from the amnestied facts (with the injured party being able to proceed with the case only to assess the civil compensation claim), nor does it prevent the loss to the State of the proceeds and advantages derived from the commission of the amnestied crime and the instruments used to commit it.

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