Administrative Offenses Act

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Basic data
Title: Administrative Offenses Act
Short title: [Administrative Offenses Act]
(not official)
Abbreviation: OWiG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Administrative offense law
References : 454-1
Original version from: May 24, 1968
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 481 )
Entry into force on: 1st October 1968
Last revision from: February 19, 1987
( BGBl. I p. 602 )
Entry into force of the
new version on:
April 1, 1987
Last change by: Art. 185 VO of June 19, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1328, 1350 )
Effective date of the
last change:
June 27, 2020
(Art. 361 of June 19, 2020)
Weblink: Text of the OWiG
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The law on administrative offenses gives the administrative authorities of the federal government, the states and the municipalities as well as other corporations and institutions under public law (e.g. broadcasters ) the legal basis to impose warning and fines in order to enforce administrative acts.


The regulatory offense is an act threatened with a fine. In less serious cases, warnings can also be issued with a penalty fee or verbal warnings without a warning fee. It is therefore also referred to as “minor criminal law”. According to Section 47 (1) OWiG, it is at the discretion of the competent authority to refrain from prosecuting the regulatory offense entirely for reasons of opportunity .

The legal remedy of objection is given against notices of fines . The competent local court decides on the objection .

There are a number of individual legal regulations that make it possible to impose fines. The most well-known regulatory offenses include the traffic offenses , which are punished by so-called " Knöllchen ". In Intervene due to the transformation rule on a variety of measures of the Code of Criminal Procedure to resort.

Authorities authorized to do this can independently carry out fine proceedings. If legally enforceable fines are not paid, the authorities can enforce the fine by enforcement officers by way of administrative enforcement proceedings. Only the filing of an objection to the official fine or non-payment of the fine does the fine before a judicial review.

If the fine is not paid and no reasons for insolvency are presented, a court can, at the request of the authority, impose enforcement detention without the need for prior enforcement measures .

In Hesse, for example, fines can be set by the municipal board ( Magistrat ) for violations of the rules and prohibitions of municipal statutes (Section 5 of the Hessian Municipal Code in conjunction with Section 36 (1) No. 1 OWiG). Similar regulations can also be found in the municipal ordinances of the other federal states (e.g. § 7 Paragraph 2 GO NRW for North Rhine-Westphalia).

Outline of the law


Web links