Traffic offense

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Wrong parking Smart Fortwo in Berlin-Mitte
Illegally parked tractor unit in Nuremberg

A traffic ticket ( vowi ) is a special case of the offense ( OWi ). The VOWi is a traffic offense which, unlike a traffic offense, is only punished with a warning or a fine .

Legal definition

A traffic offense is committed by anyone who intentionally or negligently contravenes a regulation issued on the basis of Section 6 (1), Section 6e (1) or Section 6g (4) of the Road Traffic Act or an order issued on the basis of such a legal regulation, insofar as the ordinance refers to the regulation on fines in § 24 StVG for a specific offense ( § 24 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 StVG).

This includes in particular the long catalog of § 49 Road Traffic Regulations (StVO) with speeding , disregarding the right of way or wrong parking , but also § 69a Paragraphs 2 to 5 Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), § 48 Vehicle Licensing Regulations (FZV) and § 75 Driving Licensing Regulations (FeV).

A traffic offense can be punished with a fine of up to two thousand euros ( Section 24 (2) StVG).

Exceeding the recommended speed according to the Motorway Guideline Speed ​​Ordinance issued on the basis of Section 6 (1) No. 3 StVG will not be punished as a traffic offense due to the lack of reference to Section 24 StVG.


The structure of the traffic offense is based on the principles of criminal law , but the principle of opportunity applies to prosecution - as is generally the case with offenses . This means that the prosecution of such violations is “at the discretion of the law enforcement officers ” . This is the main difference to criminal offenses in which prosecution is mandatory according to the principle of legality .

In the area of ​​traffic offenses, there are special features with regard to responsibilities for prosecution and punishment . While the administrative authorities are responsible for normal administrative offenses , the police and the Federal Motor Transport Authority are specifically designated as prosecuting authorities for VOWis in Germany ( Section 26 StVG).

Violations of regulations in passenger transport law are punished as administrative offenses with significantly higher fines. The basic standard is Section 61 Passenger Transport Act (PBefG), which provides for a fine of up to twenty thousand euros (Section 61 (2) PBefG). The adopted on the basis of the PBefG regulation of the operation of motor vehicles Company passenger (BOKraft) and the tram construction and operation order (BOStrab) refer to the corresponding § 61, para. 1, no. 4 PBefG ( § 45 BOKraft, § 63 BOStrab).

The employment and activity of drivers, co-drivers and conductors in motor vehicles and trams is regulated in the Driving Personnel Act of 1971 (FPersG). Violations of statutory orders issued on the basis of § 2 FPersG, such as violations of the driving personnel regulation (violations of driving and rest times ) can be punished with a fine of up to thirty thousand euros ( § 8 FPersG).

Jurisdiction and Procedure

A Cologne bicycle policeman punishes an SUV parked on the sidewalk and bike path

According to the Competence Ordinance for Administrative Offenses Law (ZuVOWiG), the police in Germany are empowered to pursue the proceedings as an investigative authority and to punish or discontinue them as the authority for fines. The lower traffic authorities (the municipalities) can also penalize parking violations as well as violations in flowing traffic (especially speed violations). If it does not discontinue the proceedings, it will decide whether a fine will be issued against the person concerned . In the event of minor traffic offenses, the person concerned can also be warned (verbally or with a warning offer ; see principle of opportunity ); in the case of amounts in excess of this or if the person concerned rejects the warning offer, an administrative offense report will be made ex officio or the proceedings will be terminated. The former leads to the issuance of a fine without a further hearing . Once the notice of the fine has become final, it may be the case that non-payment results in coercive detention .

There is a legal remedy of objection against a notice of fines, which must be lodged within two weeks of the notification of the notice of fines (Section 67 (1) OWiG). If the administrative authority does not withdraw the administrative fine (Section 69 (2) OWiG), the files are submitted to the local court for a decision after they have been examined by the public prosecutor's office . The local court can discontinue the proceedings without a hearing date by means of a resolution (Section 47 (2) OWiG), reject the objection or mitigate the legal consequence of the fine. If a main hearing takes place, the district court decides by judgment . Unlike in criminal proceedings, the public prosecutor's office is generally not represented in the main hearing (Section 75 OWiG). In principle, the person concerned must take part in the main hearing (Section 73 (1) OWiG), unless, in exceptional cases, he or she is exempted from appearing at his request (Section 73 (2) OWiG). In the event of childbirth, he must be represented in the main hearing by a defense attorney authorized in writing (Section 73 (3) OWiG). If the perpetrator is contested, the person concerned is not released from appearing in person. If there is no release from appearing, the court must reject the objection without hearing through a judgment (Section 74 (2) OWiG).

Against the decision of the district court may, within one week of the appeal , the Court of Appeal as the next instance to be called if certain conditions are met. In principle, the person concerned must have been fined at least 250 euros (Section 79 (1) No. 1 OWiG) or a driving ban must have been imposed (Section 79 (1) No. 3 OWiG). If the fine set by the local court is less than EUR 250, the appeal on points of law (Section 80 OWiG) can be admitted if the review of the decision is necessary for further development of the law or to ensure the uniformity of case law or if the person concerned has legal refusal Can claim to be heard. The appellate court (higher regional court) can decide on the matter itself or refer the matter back to the local court of the first instance or another local court of the same federal state (Section 79 (6) OWiG).


A special feature of the traffic offense compared to the offense is the fact that not only fines are levied, but misconduct can also have an impact on any existing driving licenses , because the holder of the driving license receives at least one point in many cases from an amount of 60 euros or more in the register of fitness to drive of the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg .

Another special feature of the traffic offense is the duration of the statute of limitations . If the offense is usually at least six months (depending on the regulation), misconduct in road traffic can no longer be punished after three months, as long as neither a fine notice has been issued for the act nor public charges have been brought, after that six months ( Section 26 Paragraph 3 StVG).

The statute of limitations can be interrupted if the prosecuting authority takes action in accordance with Section 33 (1) OWiG. For example, it is interrupted once by the first order of the hearing (e.g. issuing a hearing sheet to the person concerned) or by the hearing itself (e.g. hearing at speed controls with immediate stop by the police officer responsible). A further hearing accordingly no longer interrupts the statute of limitations. The interruption relates only to the person concerned. The interruption of the limitation period (VjU) causes the limitation period to start again from the interruption event.

Imposition of a driving ban

Furthermore, a driving ban can be imposed as a result of a traffic offense. The duration is one to three months and is "imposed by the administrative authority in the fine proceedings or by the local court in the fine decision as a secondary consequence in addition to a fine". The basis for this is § 25 StVG. In contrast to driving bans in criminal law, there is a general submission deadline of 4 months after the decision on the driving ban has become final.

Legal sources

The general legal regulation for the regulatory offense law is the regulatory offense law (OWiG). The most important legal provisions for traffic offenses are:

  • Road Traffic Regulations (StVO):
    The StVO essentially regulates traffic and the rules that road users have to observe. A violation of the StVO would be z. For example, overtaking in spite of the prohibition of overtaking, driving over a red traffic light, significantly falling below the safety distance to the vehicle in front, letting the engine warm up in winter and "speeding up". The sanction provisions can be found in § 49 StVO.
  • Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO):
    This includes the operation of vehicles and their structural condition or changes to them that require approval. A punishment would require z. B. attaching the official license plate at a depth of less than 30 cm above the road and installing a new steering wheel or driving with tire sizes not entered in the vehicle registration document . The sanction provisions can be found in § 69a StVZO.
  • Vehicle Registration Ordinance (FZV):
    The FZV regulates parts of the registration of vehicles for public road traffic. An example of a violation of the FZV would be the failure to carry the vehicle license or the new registration certificate part 1. The sanction provisions can be found in § 48 FZV.
  • Driving license regulation (FeV):
    The driving license regulation regulates the admission of persons to public road traffic . This includes regulations for the driver's license and the points account . A violation of the FeV would be z. B. the participation of a drunk pedestrian in traffic who endangers others through his behavior. The sanction provisions can be found in § 75 FeV.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Law on the drivers of motor vehicles and trams (Fahrpersonalgesetz - FPersG) (Federal Law Gazette I p. 640).