Danckert Bärlein Partner

Criminal Aspects of Motor Vehicle Law

“Flensburg” (where the national registry of traffic offenses is maintained), “Remedial Drivers’ Education” and the so-called “Idiot Test” to evaluate suitability for motor vehicle licenses strike fear into the heart of German drivers. The loss of a drivers’ license is a catastrophe, and not just for professional drivers. And motor vehicle laws can inflict even more sanctions.

The criminal law of traffic offenses should not be confused with general motor vehicle law, which is used to determine compensatory damages in traffic accidents. Criminal motor vehicle law relates to crimes and misdemeanors which punish particularly dangerous or harmful conduct in traffic. In addition to the Penal Code, these offenses are also contained in the Road Traffic Law, the Road Traffic Ordinance and the Fine Ordinance including the infamous Fine Catalog.

One of our specializations is the defense of allegations of driving under the influence (§ 316 Penal Code) in relation to drug or alcohol consumption. Further offenses include dangerous disruption of road, rail or air traffic (§§ 315 ff. Penal Code) as well as endangering road traffic (§ 315c Penal Code). Leaving the scene of an accident without cause (§ 142 Penal Code), often called “fleeing an accident”, should not be forgotten either. Traffic accidents which cause personal injury or death can also be prosecuted criminally as negligent infliction of bodily injury or negligent homicide.

We also provide defense in cases of traffic misdemeanor relating to speeding, failure to maintain a safe distance or running red lights.

Successful defense in these criminal cases requires particular attention to the collateral consequences, such as suspension or withdrawal of a drivers’ license and the difficulties associated with the so-called “Idiot Test” (officially known as the Medical-Psychological Examination or MPU) required to get one’s license back. The Registry of Driver Fitness (FAER), the central agency in Flensburg which tracks the number of “points” drivers get for traffic offences, must also be regularly checked to prevent loss of one’s drivers’ license. Our team will do everything to ensure that any criminal or administrative offense proceeding does not end up in a dead end.

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