Misdemeanor; information about the fine notice

Proceedings in misdemeanor cases are proceedings with an administrative law flavor, but they can lead to proceedings before the ordinary courts similar to criminal proceedings.


Compared to a criminal offense, a misdemeanor is a lesser offense. It is prosecuted in administrative proceedings. However, this can lead to proceedings before the ordinary courts similar to criminal proceedings.

The administrative authority is initially responsible. Which administrative authority is specifically responsible is determined by the laws containing provisions on fines, the jurisdiction ordinances of the federal states or by Section 37 of the German Administrative Offenses Act (OWiG). In the case of a merely minor administrative offense, the authority can issue a warning with the consent of the person concerned - as a milder means to a fine notice. This only becomes effective if the person concerned pays the fine in good time. If the proceedings are not discontinued and there is no (effective) warning either, the administrative authority may issue a penalty notice against the person concerned after hearing him or her.

The person concerned may lodge an objection to the penalty notice in writing or in writing within two weeks of service with the administrative authority that issued the penalty notice. The objection may be limited to certain points of appeal. The locally competent district court shall decide on the appeal if the administrative authority upholds the penalty notice and the public prosecutor's office does not discontinue the proceedings.

If the facts of the case are simple in terms of the evidence, and in particular if the person concerned confesses, the local court may, after hearing the parties involved in writing and with their consent, decide by order without a hearing. If a decision is not made by means of an order, the district court shall set a date for the main hearing. In this case, the person concerned shall be summoned and must also appear if the court has not released him from the obligation to appear in person. The decision in this case is made by judgment or order.

Status: 29.09.2022

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Justiz

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