Time limit for prosecutions

Time limit for prosecutions

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If you have received a notice of intended prosecution for committing a driving offence in Germany, be sure to check that it has been sent within the time limit. If not, the notice is invalid.

Under German law, a fine is only valid if it is brought within the time limit. In road traffic matters the time limit is three months (§ 26(3) German Road Traffic Act).
The time limit begins to run on the day on which the alleged offence was committed (§ 33(1) German Code of Administrative Offences).
The three month time limit applies until the authorities issue a fine or press charges. Once either of these two events occurs the time limit extends to six months.

The German Code of Administrative Offences also contains a number of events which interrupt the time limit.

The event which the authorities most regularly rely on to interrupt the time limit is issuing a notice of intended prosecution. It is the date on which the notice was sent and not the date on which it is received which is decisive. If the notice is sent outside the three month time limit, the matter has probably become time-barred.

We can help you work out whether the charges against you are time-barred. Contact our expert team of German lawyers on +49 (0) 221 / 951 563 0.


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Christian Solmecke is a partner at the law firm WILDE BEUGER SOLMECKE. He is the author of numerous legal publications in the area of internet and IT law. He is also an associate lecturer for social media law at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

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