6 — Road traffic offences and minor offences

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How are traffic offences treated?

Minor traffic offences, such as speeding, shall be prosecuted by the managing authority. They are not criminal offences, but administrative offences. On the other hand, particularly gross traffic infringements, in particular those which are endangered or injured by the others, are in most cases a criminal offence.

Administrative investigations into traffic offences are carried out by the managing authority. You can present your views in writing during the procedure. Administrative offences are punishable by a fine of up to two thousand euros. You will be warned and offered to pay a cautionary fine up to EUR 55 in the case of minor offences (e.g. parking infringements). If you pay, the procedure ends if you do not pay and the managing authority keeps you responsible, you may be subject to a fine imposed on you to pay a fine. A driving ban can also be imposed in the penalty procedure. The amount of the fine and the duration of the ban on traffic offences are set Link opens in new windowout in a catalogue.

You may appeal against the penalty notice. The proceedings are then submitted to the court through the Public Prosecutor’s Office. There, in principle, a main procedure, as shown in Link opens in new windowfact sheet 4, is carried out there. However, the court may also decide by decision if it considers that a trial is not necessary and that you and the Public Prosecutor’s Office do not conflict with this procedure. You can appeal against a judgment or decision in such a procedure, which is decided by the Higher Regional Court. However, this right of appeal is only permissible if, for example, a fine of more than EUR 250 has been imposed or the subject of the course of law is applied to you.

Are such traffic offences prosecuted by nationals of other Member States? How?

Such traffic offences are also pursued by nationals of other Member States. If you are encountered when committing a traffic offence, the allowance or guarantee may be withheld directly on the spot. The guarantee is offset at the end of the procedure by the fine imposed on you. If you are not found when committing the breach, you can be prosecuted if your home state sends data on vehicle owners to Germany. Within the EU, an automated electronic system for sharing data will be operated in eight particularly serious traffic offences (speeding, non-use of a seat belt, failing to stop at a red traffic light, drink-driving, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a safety helmet, using a forbidden lane, using a mobile phone, or other communication devices while driving). In the subsequent postal procedure, a letter of information is sent to you or the owner of the vehicle in his/her own language and you may then be charged a cautionary fine or a fine. Germany has joined the EU-wide enforcement of fines. This means that fines imposed in Germany can be recovered from your home country.

Will these traffic offences appear in my criminal record?

Traffic offences are not recorded in the Link opens in new window federal central register for criminal offences but in the Link opens in new window register of driving events. In the register of driving events, traffic offences are stored by road users in so far as they are legally enforceable and the infringement is rated with points or a driving ban has been imposed in accordance with the driver’s assessment system. Decisions entered in the register of driving events will be assessed with one or three Link opens in new window points depending on the nature and gravity of the infringement and will be deleted after certain deadlines. A German driving licence will be withdrawn from a number of 8 points, while a foreign driving licence will lose the right to drive in Germany. If you have any information concerning you, you can contact the Federal Motor Transport Authority.

Further information

Road traffic offences and procedures are regulated by the Link opens in new windowRoad Traffic Act ( Link opens in new windowStraßenverkehrsordnung) and the Administrative Offences Act (Gesetz über Ordnungswidrigkeiten). The driving assessment system is regulated by the Road Traffic Act and the Driving Licence Regulation.


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Last update: 30/08/2019