The Brazilian Senate's Legislative Bill Nº 236/2012 which introduces the reform of the Penal Code, currently pending at the Federal Senate, was sent for analysis by a temporary committee of senators created for such purpose.

The committee´s report, which is still awaiting vote, concluded that the bill should be approved, having a clean bill been presented.

The clean bill was submitted for analysis of the Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission ("CCJ"), having received 76 amendments. The CCJ's report which analyses the clean bill and amendments thereof is still awaiting vote.

Among the amendments proposed in the bill of the new code are:

  1. the increase of the minimum sentence for homicide crimes from the current six years to eight years' imprisonment;
  2. The maximum imprisonment period continues to be 30 years, however, in the event of aggravation; the conviction could be extended to 40 years, a period of time that will be used for calculating the prison regime alteration.
  3. More severity in the granting of the benefits of the prison regime alteration.
  4. Considers as a hideous crimes those of giving bribe to a public officer or corruption or bribery proposed by a private citizen to a public officer and those of solicitation/request of bribe by a public officer or corruption/bribery committed by a public officer, embezzlement, excessive taxation, drug trafficking and financing, human trafficking, terrorism, reducing someone to a condition analogous to that of a slave;
  5. Defines as a crime the public servant's unjust enrichment, carrying a two to five years sentence, in addition to criminal forfeiture;
  6. Extension to four years instead of two of the minimum sentence for those convicted for giving bribe to a public officer, or those convicted due to request of bribe, keeping the maximum sentence of 12 years.
  7. Creation of a specific title, with four chapters and 19 articles, to deal with crimes against the democratic state ruled by law, since the bill abrogates the Brazilian National Security Law. New crimes are defined in this title, such as: crimes against the operation of public institutions and essential services, which will have the sentences increased in case of crimes committed during major events, espionage, coups d'état, insurrection, conspiracy and action of armed groups.
  8. Creation of a specific chapter for crimes against human rights, having been defined, among others, the following crimes: crimes of extermination, enslavement, persecution, forced pregnancy, forcible transfer of population;
  9. Additional possibilities of application of alternative penalties for minor crimes.

After the Senate´s analysis, and should it be approved, the bill will be analysed by the Chamber of Deputies.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.