Defendants (criminal proceedings)

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How are minor road-traffic offences dealt with?

In Austria, the courts do not deal with minor road-traffic offences. This is a task for the administrative authorities. The courts only deal with road-traffic offences that result in accidents with physical injury (negligent bodily injury).

Traffic misdemeanours are penalized by fixed penal orders, summary penal orders or penal orders.

A fixed penal order imposes a fine up to 36 euros for a misdemeanour (e.g. parking offences). If the fine is not paid, you will be reported to the administrative authority. A higher fine may then be imposed during the subsequent proceedings.

A summary penal order is not issued against a specific person, but it is served on the person (e.g. car owner) whom the authority assumes to know or who can easily identify the offender.

A fine of up to 220 euros may be imposed by summary penal order (e.g. minor speeding offences, exceeding the speed limit by 10 to 20 km/h). If the fine is not paid within four weeks, the summary penal order ceases to be valid, and proper administrative penal proceedings are initiated against the driver of the vehicle.

If an authorized official reports a misdemeanour (e.g. more than a minor speeding offence), and/or the offence is identified by automatic surveillance (e.g. section control), the authority may assess a fine of up to 365 euros by penal order. You may file a written or oral objection against the penal order within two weeks.

You must file your objection with the authority issuing the penal order.

On 1 July 2005 a registration system for traffic offences (measures against high-risk drivers) entered into force. It lists 13 types of high-risk registration offences.

A ban on driving in Austria is imposed on foreign drivers for whom a third registration offences has been entered.

Since 1 March 2008, the Law on enforcing administrative penalties throughout the EU has been in force, whereby penalties for road-traffic offences can be enforced throughout the EU.

How are other minor offences dealt with?

Misdemeanours are generally penalized in accordance with the Law on administrative penal offences. These are the possible types of penalties: fine (most frequent type) and imprisonment (under certain circumstances). The competent authority is the one with local and material responsibility (instances under administrative law).

For general information about possible legal protection against a decision by an administrative authority click here.

Will these offences appear in my criminal record?

In Austria penalties imposed under administrative law are not recorded in the criminal register.

Last update: 22/06/2018

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