Traffic offenses: Government wants to collect foreign tickets


Government wants to collect foreign tickets

Germany will soon collect fines from abroad. Officially for more road safety. But those affected don’t just ask the question of guilt.

D.he federal government wants to prosecute German drivers who have received a fine abroad. This emerges from a Berlin cabinet decision of January 13th. As a result, from October the Federal Office of Justice will collect fines of over 70 euros in other EU countries. 99 new positions are to be created in the authority for this purpose.

A corresponding EU regulation basically regulates that all members must enable cross-border prosecution of traffic offenses. The details, however, are left to the individual governments. Because the devil is in the details of traffic law. The Federal Ministry of Justice is apparently also aware of this. Therefore, only those foreign fines that are clearly legally binding should be processed.

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Berlin deliberately stays out of the complex legal issues that can arise across borders. At least one takes a clear stance when it comes to owner liability. The principle was encouraged by Brussels to introduce it together with its specifications. It means that it is not the driver who is responsible for a traffic offense, but the one for whom the car has been registered with the motor traffic office. It is already valid in many European countries, for example in Belgium and Holland, the Baltic States, Austria, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece.

It is correspondingly easy to prosecute the crime there. For example, the speed camera image from the license plate is sufficient to prove a violation of the speed limit. It doesn’t matter who drove. The evidence is therefore quickly provided. In Germany, however, as well as in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, owner liability is generally taboo.

We have to prove that the perpetrator and the addressee of the fine notice are identical, or the addressee has to name the perpetrator so that the decision becomes final. He is obliged to do so. Unless he incriminated himself or a family member. Only then does he have the right to refuse to testify. In this case it is already not uncommon in Germany to oblige the keeper to keep a logbook.

The logbook requirement could also be an option in the event that a traffic offense caused by a fine from abroad cannot be assigned to a perpetrator. At least that’s what ADAC rights expert Maximillian Maurer thinks. Since the constitutionally applicable in Germany "Presumption of innocence "("In case of doubt for the accused ”) will not be affected by the new EU regulation on fines, the logbook requirement could be the only possibility to take official action in such cases.

"It would also be conceivable, instead of a fine that cannot be enforced, to impose an administrative fee of the same amount, which would then have to be paid by the vehicle owner in any case, ”says Maurer.

Ulrich Staudigl, spokesman in the Federal Ministry of Justice, contradicts this: "Those who are not liable do not have to pay anything. This will not change in the future either. The principle of fault is not affected. "

According to Staudigl, anyone who receives a fine from abroad will continue to do so "have the right to be heard on the matter. He has to come to an agreement with the sender authority to admit or deny the act or refuse to testify.

However, this can be problematic. Countries like Hungary or Greece send their notices exclusively in their national language. Neither are they obliged to send their letters translated, just as addressees in Germany have to react to official mail that is incomprehensible to them.

"If the accused does not belong to the matter or has not been identified as the perpetrator, a possible fine will be rejected, ”says Staudigl. "Likewise, if the correspondence does not have the necessary linguistic intelligibility. In addition, our authority will not deal with the content of the notices. "

However, the Portuguese hearing principle could be tricky for the accused. There the authorities work, among other things, with notices at the scene of the crime, which ask the accused to comment on the allegation. This could be problematic for an Algarve holidaymaker with a motorhome.

The latest cabinet decision, which is based on a draft by ex-Federal Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries (SPD) from June 2009, and Germany as 17 of the 27 EU countries in the Europe-wide "The Federal Office of Justice has yet to approve the planning of the Federal Office of Justice.

According to the Bild newspaper, the additional personnel costs amounted to around six million euros per year. However, additional fines of at least nine to ten million euros per year are expected.

Because: The sums collected flow into their own treasury – in Germany as in every other country in the EU. That could significantly reduce the motivation of European neighbors to prosecute foreigners’ traffic offenses. Conversely, it also leads to neighboring countries pushing for crimes committed by their citizens abroad to be prosecuted as effectively as possible.

But the matter is only incidentally about money. "We don’t want to abuse the legal system to relieve the state finances, ”says Ulrich Staudigl.

The FDP member of the Bundestag and budget politician Florian Toncar sums it up as follows: "The EU requirement is intended to increase road safety abroad and, among other things, prevent lawns. That should bring the treasury several million euros. "

Theoretically, it would also be possible that legally binding fines from abroad can also lead to an entry of points in the Flensburg traffic offender file. Because there are point systems in many European countries. However, since they differ greatly from one another, either standardization would have to be ensured beforehand or a decision would have to be made as to whether the rules of the country of the offense or those of the home country should apply. According to the Federal Ministry of Justice, this is not the subject of the current ordinance.

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