Criminal Procedure Code (Germany)

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Basic data
Title: Code of Criminal Procedure
Abbreviation: StPO
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Legal matter: Administration of justice , criminal procedure law
References : 312-2
Original version from: February 1, 1877
( RGBl. P. 253)
Entry into force on: October 1, 1879
New announcement from: April 7, 1987
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1074 ,
ber.p. 1319 )
Last change by: Art. 3 G of 10 July 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1648, 1651 )
Effective date of the
last change:
July 17, 2020
(Art. 7 G of July 10, 2020)
GESTA : C126
Weblink: Text of the StPO
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) is the comprehensive legal text that contains the provisions for conducting criminal proceedings in the broader sense.

Systematic classification

The StPO is part of the formal criminal law , while the substantive criminal law is primarily regulated in the Criminal Code, and came into force in the first version on October 1, 1879 as part of the Reich Justice Acts.

Content and structure

Like many German laws, the Code of Criminal Procedure (although not explicitly) has a general part and a special part that is organized according to the course of the proceedings. Special provisions also include the victim of a criminal offense ("injured party"), special types of procedure ( penalty order , security procedure , accelerated procedure, etc.) and the execution of sentences as well as the prosecutor's register of procedures.

The Code of Criminal Procedure binds the public authorities to investigate criminal offenses. The Code of Criminal Procedure is a federal law. In addition, the Introductory Act to the Code of Criminal Procedure (EGStPO) was passed when it came into force .


The scope of the Code of Criminal Procedure extends to the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and thus to all 16 federal states. In addition to the land area, the scope of application also includes all own waters , the territorial sea within the twelve-mile zone and the air space above the national territory. According to Section 10 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure is also applicable outside of these areas if the relevant act is committed on a ship or aircraft that is authorized to fly the German federal flag .

Supplementary laws

The Code of Criminal Procedure is flanked by provisions in the Law on Courts , the Juvenile Court Act (for juvenile justice ), the law on international legal assistance in criminal matters , the Code of Administrative Offenses , the Tax Code and certain procedural acts, the Code of Civil Procedure . Particularly noteworthy are the administrative regulations to be applied , namely the guidelines for criminal and administrative fine proceedings (RiStBV). For the execution of sentences, the Code of Execution of Sentences and the Sentencing Act apply.

Relationship to police law

The Code of Criminal Procedure only applies to repressive measures ( criminal prosecution ). In the case of preventive measures by the police, the respective state laws apply ( police law , regulatory law, danger prevention ).

Historical development of the code of criminal procedure

General historical development

The codifications of the Reich Criminal Procedure Code and the Courts Constitution Act , which came into force together with the Bankruptcy Code (now the Insolvency Code ) and the Civil Procedure Code as so-called Reich Justice Acts on October 1, 1879 , marked the end of the process of overcoming the common law inquisition process towards the modern criminal process. Since its entry into force, the Code of Criminal Procedure has been changed many times, including structural changes. The initially cautious change practice developed over time, especially since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany, into an expansive “amendment legislation”.

Historical Code of Criminal Procedure of the GDR

In the German Democratic Republic , after it was founded in 1949, the Code of Criminal Procedure from 1877 initially continued to apply in parts. In 1952 the law on the procedure in criminal matters in the GDR came into force. In 1968, the Criminal Code (StGB), a new Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO) and the law on entry and deletion in the criminal records of the GDR (Criminal Records Act) followed. After German reunification in 1990, the criminal procedure code of the Federal Republic of Germany also applied in the accession area .

See also




  • Jürgen-Peter Graf : Code of Criminal Procedure, processed by Lars Bachler, Wolfgang Bär, Johannes Berg, Stephan Beukelmann, Alexandra Bücherl, Gabriele Cirener, Christoph Coen, Daniela Conrad-Graf, Kai Cornelius, Alexander el Duwaik, Ralf Eschelbach, Sabine Ferber, Alexander Ganter, Sönke Florian Gerhold, Matthias Goers, Claudia Gorf, Jürgen Peter Graf, Mario von Häfen, Sigrid Hegmann, Matthias Huber, Dieter Inhofer, Matthias Krauß, Lucian Krawczyk, Hanns Larcher, Christian Monka, Lars Niesler, Jens Peglau, Christian Ritscher, Kai Sackreuther , Tobias Singelnstein , Dieter Temming, Brian Valerius, Angelika Walther, Bernhard Weiner, Jürgen Wessing, Stefan Wiedner and Petra Wittig, 3rd edition, CH Beck, Munich 2018. ISBN 978-3-406-63992-0 .
  • Heidelberg Commentary on the Code of Criminal Procedure, processed by Heiko Ahlbrecht, Wolfgang Bär, Katharina Beckemper , Jürgen Brauer, Björn Gercke, Karl-Peter Julius, Helmut Pollähne, Karl-Heinz Posthoff, Tilman Reichling, Peter Reichenbach, Alexander Retemeyer, Anja Schiemann, Eike C. Schmidt , Dieter Temming, Bettina Weißer and Mark Zöller, 6th edition 2019, CF Müller, ISBN 978-3-8114-3974-0
  • Wolfgang Joecks : Criminal Procedure Code: Study Commentary, 4th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2015. ISBN 978-3-406-67792-2 .
  • Karlsruhe Commentary on the Code of Criminal Procedure, Verlag CHBeck, 8th edition 2019, ISBN 9783406695117
  • Ewald Löwe , Werner Rosenberg (greeting): Löwe-Rosenberg: The Code of Criminal Procedure and the Courts Constitution Act , 27th edition, De Gruyter, Berlin 2016. Multi-volume.
  • Lutz Meyer-Goßner / Bertram Schmitt : Code of Criminal Procedure with GVG and subsidiary laws, 62nd edition 2019. CHBECK. ISBN 978-3-406-73584-4
  • Gerd Pfeiffer : Criminal Procedure Code, 5th edition, CH Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52869-4 .
  • Henning Radtke , Olaf Hohmann: Criminal Procedure Code, Vahlen, Munich 2011. ISBN 978-3-8006-3602-0
  • Systematic commentary on the Code of Criminal Procedure, Jürgen Wolter (Ed.), 5th edition, Heymanns Verlag, Cologne 2015. Multi-volume.


  • Gabriele Zwiehoff: Amending laws and new announcements of the Criminal Procedure Code and criminal procedural provisions of the Courts Constitution Act, MV Verlag, Münster. ISBN 978-3-86991-440-4 .
Volume I: 1877–1949 Direct link to the online publication (PDF; 2.4 MB)
Volume II: 1950–1965 Direct link to the online publication (PDF; 2.5 MB)
Volume III: 1966–1975 Direct link to the online publication (PDF; 2.1 MB)
Volume IV: 1976–1990 Direct link to the online publication (PDF; 1.8 MB)
Volume V: 1991–2012 Direct link to the online publication (PDF; 1.9 MB)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The title is officially referenced in this way when changes are made (e.g. Federal Law Gazette I p. 1332 ). Official title as announced in the Federal Law Gazette Part I No. 24 of April 15, 1987: Code of Criminal Procedure
  2. Lackner / Kühl before §§ 3–7
  3. ^ Karl-Peter Julius, Björn Gercke, Hans-Joachim Kurth, Michael Lemke, Helmut Pollähne, Erardo C. Rautenberg: § 10 StPO - general application requirements. In: Code of Criminal Procedure. Hüthig Jehle Rehm, 2009, p. 71
  4. Gabriele Zwiehoff: Amendment Laws and New Announcements, Volume I: 1877–1949 (PDF; 2.4 MB), p. V
  5. ^ Secretariat of the Council of Ministers: The current law - 1987 edition , Staatsverlag der DDR, Berlin 1987, 1st edition, p. 79 ff., VLN 610 DDR, license no. 751, 2001/87