Punitive violence

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In German criminal procedure law, the criminal authority or penalty is the authority of the court deciding in the main proceedings . Depending on the court, the power to punish is limited (hence: penal ban). While there is no limit to the power of punishment for regional courts (according to Section 38 of the Criminal Code , they may pronounce imprisonment of up to 15 years or for life), no sentence may be imposed at the district court that goes beyond 4 years of imprisonment ( Section 24 (2 ) GVG ).


What kind of penalties individual courts pronounce often results from their jurisdiction, which in turn results from the prosecution's expectation of punishment.

  • A single judge at the local court ( called criminal judge in the GVG ) is responsible for a sentence of up to 2 years imprisonment ( § 25 GVG ); the sentence imposed may not exceed 4 years. According to the prevailing opinion , a criminal judge does not have to refer cases in which he wants to impose more than two (but less than four) years to a lay judge.
  • A lay judge at the local court is responsible if a criminal judge is not responsible ( Section 28 GVG ). That means with an expectation of up to 4 years imprisonment, which may not be exceeded with regard to the legal consequences.
  • According to § 24 GVG , regional courts are responsible for proceedings according to § 74 , § 74a or § 76 GVG , or if the expected punishment exceeds four years, or if the public prosecutor considers it necessary. The penal powers of the criminal chambers of the regional courts are unlimited (i.e. up to 15 years imprisonment or life long according to Section 38 of the Criminal Code ).
  • As with the criminal chambers, this also applies to the criminal senate at the Higher Regional Court .

If the district court exceeds its authority to punish, there is a reason for an appeal .

Individual evidence

  1. Dirk Gridmann : The Code of Criminal Procedure and the Courts Constitution Act: StPO Volume 10: GVG; EGGVG. Löwe / Rosenberg, 2010, accessed April 9, 2016 . P. 335