Criminal Punishment in Thailand

25th Jun, 2020

Criminal Punishment in Thailand

Table of Content

  1. What are the 5 Thailand laws and punishments under Penal Code Section 18?
  2. Death Sentence
  3. Imprisonment
  4. Confinement
  5. Fine
  6. Forfeiture of Property
  7. FAQ
  8. Seeking Legal Counsel on Criminal Punishments in Thailand
  9. Our lawyers can provide expert advice

The five punishments under Penal Code Section 18 include the death sentence, imprisonment, confinement, a number of hefty fines or forfeiture of property. These five punishments are all severe and coincide with the crime that has been committed.

Death Sentence

Thailand practices capital punishment, and the death sentence is carried out by lethal injection. The death penalty may not be imposed immediately. Instead, there is a delay to give the convicted person time to appeal to two courts as well as ask for a King’s pardon. If the case is not granted an appeal, the convicted person will be transferred to the notorious Bang Kwang Prison in Bangkok, also known as the “Bangkok Hilton.”


Life imprisonment in Thailand does not allow for the prospect of future parole. If a person is convicted of a crime and sentenced to life imprisonment, the decision is final and no appeal can be made.

In Thailand, the punishment of imprisonment begins on the day the judgment is passed. Therefore, the days in which the convicted person was already in custody will be deducted from the overall prison sentence.

It is important to note that in Thailand, capital punishment and life imprisonment are not imposed on people under 18 years of age. Instead, the punishment for severe crimes committed by a person under 18 years of age will be sentenced to imprisonment for 50 years.


For a person whose prison sentence does not exceed three months, confinement will be the option imposed by the court. However, for this sentence to be granted, the convicted person must not have been in prison before. The court will determine the place of confinement, which could be, for example, a holding cell at a police station.


If a convicted person receives a fine, the amount will need to be paid right away. For those who fail to pay the fine, the Thai authorities will either seize the person’s property or put the person into confinement. The fee for confinement is 200THB per day.

Should the overall fine not be more than 80,000THB, and if the convicted person is not able to pay the fine, in some special cases the judgment can be changed to community services or public benefits services. This will be determined on a case by case basis according to the personal circumstances of the man or woman who is convicted.

Forfeiture of Property

Forfeiture is another possible sentence that might be given by the judge. Property subject to forfeiture includes items that people are not allowed to be in possession of by law. For example, these items could include drugs or a weapon that was used in committing a crime. All confiscated items will become the property of the Government of Thailand if they are not destroyed by the court.

How does the Thai prison system handle individuals sentenced to life imprisonment?

In the Thai prison system, individuals who are convicted of a crime and sentenced to life imprisonment face a very definite future without the possibility of parole. The sentence is absolute and begins on the day the judgment is passed, with any time already spent in custody being deducted from the overall prison term. Notably, Thailand’s laws prohibit capital punishment and life imprisonment for individuals under 18; instead, such juvenile offenders are sentenced to a maximum of 50 years imprisonment.

Seeking Legal Counsel on Criminal Punishments in Thailand

A person faced with a Thailand criminal law punishment sentence in Thailand will need expert legal advice and counsel. Located in Phuket, Harwell Legal is an international law firm with paramount experience in dealing with legal issues in Thailand for both locals and foreigners.

Our lawyers can provide expert advice

Our lawyers can provide expert advice regarding criminal punishment charges you may be facing. Contact us today and let us know more about your case. We can be reached via email at or by telephone +66 (0) 76 530 597

Thailand’s laws and punishments, as outlined under Penal Code Section 18, reflect the country’s strict stance on crime and its commitment to maintain law and order. These laws include severe penalties such as the death sentence, imprisonment, confinement, hefty fines, and forfeiture of property. The death sentence, executed through lethal injection, is a testament to Thailand’s capital punishment practice. Imprisonment, including life sentences without parole, is another strong deterrent. Confinement is reserved for shorter sentences, while fines and property forfeiture act as financial penalties for various transgressions. These Thailand laws and punishments are designed to coincide with the severity of the crime committed, demonstrating the country’s robust and comprehensive legal system.

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