Criminal Penalties in Denmark

While you are traveling in Denmark, you are subject to Danish laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In Denmark, the police may take you in for questioning if you violate the law and don’t have proper identification with you. However, most forms of identification, such as student ID or a driver’s license, are acceptable, and there is no legal requirement for foreigners to carry their passports. Under Danish law, the police are permitted to detain someone for up to eight hours without charge. In addition, possessing knives with a locking blade longer than seven centimeters in a public place carries an immediate jail sentence. Some activities may be legal in Denmark, but are illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors and using or disseminating child pornography are crimes prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Denmark, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what activities are legally permissible at your travel destination.

Greenland has very strict laws on the removal of natural resources, including precious and semi-precious metals, stones, and gemstones found there. Before attempting to extract or export any of these materials, make certain that doing so is not against the law.

Persons violating Denmark’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Denmark are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, depending on the drug type. The possession of heroin, speed, ecstasy, cocaine, etc., will, in most cases, result in a jail sentence. A tourist’s possession of smaller amounts of marijuana or hashish for personal use will in most cases result in a warning or deportation. For larger quantities and trafficking, jail sentences are likely.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Denmark, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. You also have the right to have your communications forwarded to the Embassy.

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You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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