Driving For Members

How strict are the punishments for driving offences in Denmark?

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
How strict are the punishments for driving offences in Denmark?
Which punishments are applied for motoring offences in Denmark? File photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

What speeding fines apply in Denmark, which offences will cost your licence and what happens if you get a driving ban? We set out the penalties given for the most common traffic offences.



The amount you can be fined for speeding depends on the amount by which you have exceeded the speed limit.

For example, driving a car at 59 kilometres per hour in a 50 km/h zone (the speed limit in most urban areas), usually gives a fine of 1,200 kroner. The same fine would be given for driving at 130 km/h on a section of motorway where the speed limit is 110 km/h.

If you drive at 110 km/h where the limit is 80 km/h, you can be fined 2,400 kroner.

Fines go up in certain circumstances: driving over 140 km/h adds an extra 1,200 kroner to the fine, followed by another 600 kroner for each additional 10 km/h.

Additionally, breaking the speed limit by 30 percent or more often results in an additional 1,200 kroner being added to the initial fine.

Speeding in areas where the normal speed limit has been reduced due to roadworks results in the fine being doubled. Different speeding fines also apply to buses and HGVs.

An exhaustive list of speeding fines can be found on the National Police website.


If you are caught driving more than 30 percent higher than the speed limit, you can also be given a klip or penalty point on your licence. More information about the klip system follows below.

Driving 30 percent over the speed limit on motorway sections where the limit is 130 km/h can get you a conditional driving ban, as will driving 60 percent over the limit, or above 160 km/h on any road in a car. A conditional driving ban does not mean you lose your licence immediately, but that you must take a new driving and theory test to retain it. See below for more detail on this.

You can also get an unconditional driving ban or betinget frakendelse (see below for more detail) for driving 100 percent over the speed limit.

Using a phone

Traffic laws introduced in 2019 tightened rules against the use of mobile phones and screens while driving.

A so-called klip or penalty point can be applied to drivers’ licences if they use their devices behind the wheel. The definition of this extends to simply driving with a telephone in hand. Neither does the rule just apply to phones: tablets, satellite navigation devices, computers, smartwatches and walkie-talkies are all encompassed. Legal use of electronic equipment requires the gadget to be placed in a fixed holder inside the vehicle, or voice controlled.

Three such klips incurred within the space of three years results in the driver’s licence being conditionally revoked under Danish traffic laws (see below), and the driving theory and practical tests must be retaken in order to stay behind the wheel.

For drivers with less than two years’ experience, the licence is lost after only two such penalties.

Fines totalling up to 2,500 kroner are also payable for every klip given to a driver.


Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol results in either conditional disqualification (betinget frakendelse in Danish) or unconditional disqualification (ubetinget frakendelse).

Denmark uses permille (promille) as the unit for blood alcohol content. For example, blood alcohol content of 1.2 permille equates to 0.12 percent or 0.12 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood, or 1.2 grams of alcohol per 1000 grams of blood.

The type of ban you get depends on the alcohol level in your blood.

The legal limit in Denmark is 0.5 permille. If your blood alcohol level is above this but below 1.2 permille, you get a conditional ban. This means you can keep your licence if you pass a theory and practical control driving test within a deadline set by the police, usually six months. The fee for the tests is currently 890 kroner.

You must also take a so-called ANT (alcohol, narko- og trafik) course, which costs 3,200 kroner.

A blood alcohol limit over 1.2 permille means you will be unconditionally disqualified from driving. You can also incur an unconditional ban for three conditional bans within a two-year period.

If you get an unconditional ban, you lose your licence for a period of three years. After the disqualification period, you must take the theory and practical driving test and ANT course to regain your licence.

If your blood alcohol level is over 2.0, you risk a conditional prison sentence.

Hefty fines are also given to drivers who test over the legal alcohol limit. These are usually calculated by multiplying the permille by the driver’s monthly net salary.

Similar punishments are applied for driving while on narcotics, although a milder punishment (a klip) can be given for low concentrations of cannabis.


Reckless driving

A law that came into effect last year allows police to seize vehicles in the event of particularly bad driving that qualifies as reckless or “crazy” driving (vandvidskørsel). If agreed to by a judge, police can permanently confiscate and auction off the vehicle to the benefit of the Danish treasury. 

Vanvidskørsel includes manslaughter by negligence or causing significant injury by negligence. It also includes driving more than 100 percent above the speed limit if the speed limit is more than 100 km/h, driving more than 200 km/h regardless of speed limit, driving with a blood alcohol content above 2.0, and “particularly reckless driving.” The law even applies to rented and leased vehicles.

READ ALSO: Why bad driving might cost you your car in Denmark - even if it’s rented

After a car has been seized by police, it’s up to a judge to decide if the vehicle can be permanently confiscated. This comes down to whether the owner of the vehicle could know the driver might drive it in ways covered by the law.

Among other factors, the judge considers if the owner performed a background check on the customer. 

Rental agencies and leasing companies may require customers to foot the bill of the vehicle, if they are responsible for its seizure. If the customer cannot or will not pay, it’s possible for the loss to be covered by the leasing company’s insurance. 

If the driver is in his or her own vehicle, the confiscation of the car is one form of punishment. 

Penalties for the most serious offences have also been increased, including unconditional revocation of the drivers’ license for a minimum of three years.


Other traffic offences

Traffic offences aside from those mentioned above that can result in a klip, a fine or a combination of both include tailgating, illegal use of the emergency lane, not fastening the seatbelt of passengers under 15 years old, driving through a red light, and failure to yield or give way in line with traffic rules.

READ ALSO: Danish police campaign to target drivers and cyclists who run red lights

You can also be penalised for dangerous u-turns or changes of direction, driving around the wrong side of a traffic island, and dangerous overtaking or overtaking on the right (unless to pass a car which is waiting or preparing to turn left).

The fine in most of these cases is 2,000 kroner with an additional 500 kroner obligatory donation to the foundation for crime and traffic victims, Offerfonden.

More exhaustive descriptions of these offences and their penalties can be found on the Danish Road Safety Council website.


Can you be rejected for citizenship because of a traffic offence?

One of the requirements for fulfilling the criteria for Danish citizenship is a clean criminal record. Does this mean fines for traffic offences could disqualify you?

In April 2021, the government agreed new citizenship rules adding new curbs on who can be granted Danish nationality.

Under the April 2021 rules, persons with previous convictions for which they have received conditional or unconditional prison sentences are permanently barred from being granted Danish citizenship.

Additionally, people who have received fines of at least 3,000 kroner for breaking certain laws are required to wait for a suspension period of four years and six months before being acceptable for naturalisation. This includes fines given for all forms of traffic offences, including speeding tickets.

READ ALSO: Danish citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a speeding fine?

It should be noted, though, that speeding fines are often less than 3,000 kroner, depending on the offence.

Reports in Danish media have nevertheless described cases of individuals who have lived in Denmark since childhood having their citizenship applications turned down because of speeding fines.

Repeat offences (or other offences for which fines are issued) can result in the suspension period being extended by three years for each offence. Only penalties which would have resulted in suspension in isolation – in other words, fines of over 3,000 kroner – can extend the suspension.

Source: Rådet for Sikker Trafik


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