Misdemeanor / Regulatory Offenses

Regulatory offenses include a large range of personal misconducts on everyday situations that the state accuses on the basis of the Law of the regulatory offenses.

This extends even from the noise pollution by a restaurant, disco or private dwelling over a qualified red light violation at the traffic light in the motor vehicle and goes up to the wrong loading of loading areas in the truck.

Regulatory offenses are, unlike crimes (= offenses and crimes according to § 12 StGB) only so-called misconduct. That is why in a case of a regulatory offense, the person is not to be called “the accused defendant”, but the effected person. A regulatory offense is indeed an unlawful and reproachable act, but “only” realizes the facts of a law that allows the punishment of all with a fine.

Another special feature of the OWIG, is companies can be prosecuted, while the realization of criminal offenses by legal persons is fundamentally foreign to the German criminal process (unlike in the US).

The legal defense against any misdemeanor is characterized first by the fact that the person concerned or the lawyer for the client objection to the penalty notice. This requires access to the file (§ 147 StPO) and the discussion of the file content with the client and the prospects of success of a hearing.

Then one forces an appeal by a main hearing and, for the first time, a court must deal with the allegation of a fine and check whether the collected evidence is sufficient for the determination of a judicia.

Unlike crimes, the legal consequence of an administrative offense, that is, the judge pronouncing in the worst case, can only be a fine, not a fine or imprisonment or imprisonment on probation at the main trial of the first instance.
For the trial before the criminal judge after objecting to a fine is basically the same as in the “normal” criminal case.

Exceptions to this are that the presence of the person concerned (if the lawyer represents him with full authority in the process(Vollmacht)) and the presence of the public prosecutor are waived. Otherwise, the person concerned has all the procedural rights as in the Criminal Procedure Code (filing of evidence, explanatory rights, rights of rejection (prejudice applications)).

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