Strafbefehl (leaving the scene of an accident)

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OK so I know this is a sensitive topic. I messed up and I am taking full responsibility for my actions. I realise that legal advice cannot be given, I just wondered if anyone can help me as I'm really struggling to know what I should do next. It doesn't need to be said that being abroad, no matter how comfortable you are, can be at its hardest when confronted with the law.  

 

Last June I was leaving an establishment's car park after having 1 beer after work. It was sun/shade through trees and not easy to see, and I had noticed some concrete steps just behind my car. Long story short, I bumped another car. I can honestly say I believed I had hit the steps. I can also honestly say that I panicked and was embarrassed and I drove away. PLEASE understand I am very disappointed with myself for doing this. I deserve to go through what I have and will do - to a point. Just to be clear, I was breathalysed at 0.13 ml/g an hour later when the police arrived. They said I would probably just get a fine.

 

I have now received a Strafbefehl from the Amtsgericht. I have been banned from driving for 7 months and asked to pay a fine of EUR4.800. Damages were c. EUR2.200. Now I understand and I'm more than willing to pay the damages and fine. However, bearing in mind I have never been in trouble with the law, this seems excessive to me, especially the Fahrverbot (again, I am not underestimating the crime). 

 

I'm just looking for a little guidance here as to whether I should get a lawyer to try to reduce the penalties here. I don't want to drag this out, and I feel I need to learn a lesson so I'm also not altogether sure about any contestation. The Amtsgericht said I can contest the fine with a letter within 2 weeks - could I write this myself? Any thoughts much appreciated - please kindly don't judge me - I have and continue to do so way more than anyone else can. 

 

Thank you in advance,

 

Jason 

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That sounds pretty hefty. I don't know what day rate they assigned you to, but if that €4,800 amounts to more than 90 Tagessätze, it will go on your criminal record, with everything that implies. It could endanger your next visa renewal, for example (if you don't already have permanent residence).

 

It might behoove you to get a lawyer for that reason alone, to try to get the fine reduced to less than 90 days, if the lawyer is able to.

 

What's more, this page says the maximum license suspension for a hit-and-run is three months, not seven, so there might be some leeway there as well (although I can't guarantee that the page's contents are correct).

 

Best of luck to you - I hope you manage to resolve the situation as best as possible.

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4 minutes ago, El Jeffo said:

That sounds pretty hefty. I don't know what day rate they assigned you to, but if that €4,800 amounts to more than 90 Tagessätze, it will go on your criminal record, with everything that implies. It could endanger your next visa renewal, for example (if you don't already have permanent residence).

 

It might behoove you to get a lawyer for that reason alone, to try to get the fine reduced to less than 90 days, if the lawyer is able to.

 

Best of luck to you - I hope you manage to resolve the situation as best as possible.

 

Thank you. Well actually I didn't explain properly, but that includes the damages. So in total it's 4.800EUR. Which is 30 Tagessätze it says. I don't quite understand how this works, if you have a moment to explain I would be grateful. 

 

But assuming 30 Tagessätze is not something that will appear on my criminal record (I pray, as I'm British and want to live here permanently), it may be best to settle up. I read that a 'Fahrerflicht bet einem Schaden ueber 1300Euro' is a 6 month ban, so maybe the package overall is not as harsh as I first thought. By paying it monthly, I can afford it the fine, but not having my car for 7 months will be a challenge. But that's my issue. 

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1 minute ago, JasonBamberg said:

I don't quite understand how this works, if you have a moment to explain I would be grateful. 

 

It's kind of a "Finnland-light" fine model. The amount of the Tagessatz is based on an income factor, so the more you earn, the higher the fine.

 

The only relevant factor in this case is that your fine is less than 90 Tagessätze, because like I said, that's the threshold for giving you a criminal record (polizeiliches Führungszeugnis in German).

 

You might want to meet with a lawyer to discuss it anyway. If your driver's license is essential to your work, for example, he might be able to work out a deal where you're only allowed to commute to and from work and drive for business. An initial consultation shouldn't cost you more than €200.

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1 minute ago, El Jeffo said:

 

It's kind of a "Finnland-light" fine model. The amount of the Tagessatz is based on an income factor, so the more you earn, the higher the fine.

 

The only relevant factor in this case is that your fine is less than 90 Tagessätze, because like I said, that's the threshold for giving you a criminal record (polizeiliches Führungszeugnis in German).

 

You might want to meet with a lawyer to discuss it anyway. If your driver's license is essential to your work, for example, he might be able to work out a deal where you're only allowed to commute to and from work and drive for business. An initial consultation shouldn't cost you more than €200.

 

Well that's some good news, thanks. I was actually considering reverting to train/bus travel to work, it's not ideal, but 100km a day return plus associated costs and maintenance was a big factor. But I was anticipating this being my decision. 

 

It seems that the punishment fits the crime. I can't help but think many have received less for more but it's a life lesson and these are expensive. I would argue the lesson has been learned already, but in this country unfortunately they come down on you very hard. 

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You were breathalyze one hour later in the scene? You came back? what exactly happened?

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5 minutes ago, Krieg said:

You were breathalyze one hour later in the scene? You came back? what exactly happened?

 

He didn't say he was breathalysed at the scene but when the Police arrived so someone may have made a note of his licence plate and the Police could have turned up at his flat. In any case it doesn't really matter where he was breathalysed as he wasn't over the limit.

 

@JasonBamberg - A 7 months driving ban sounds heavy although I suppose this was high due to you leaving the scene of the crime but I would speak to a lawyer about it and see if you can get the driving ban reduced and maybe even the fine.

 

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7 minutes ago, Krieg said:

You were breathalyze one hour later in the scene? You came back? what exactly happened?

 

There were witnesses and the Police came to my house an hour later. I'd had 1 beer. There was no mention of alcohol in the Strafbefehl. Had it played a role, I most certainly would not be contesting any punishment.  

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1 minute ago, warsteiner70 said:

 

He didn't say he was breathalysed at the scene but when the Police arrived so someone may have made a note of his licence plate and the Police could have turned up at his flat. In any case it doesn't really matter where he was breathalysed as he wasn't over the limit.

 

@JasonBamberg - A 7 months driving ban sounds heavy although I suppose this was high due to you leaving the scene of the crime but I would speak to a lawyer about it and see if you can get the driving ban reduced and maybe even the fine.

 

 

Thanks for that - I am tempted, I don't really want to go to court and make a fuss about it though. But I guess a consultation would give me an idea of exactly what any further action would involve. I'd also need someone who speaks English, my everyday German is quite good but with these matters I can't leave things to chance. 

 

If you (or anyone) can perhaps roughly outline what the steps with the lawyer would be, after arranging a consultation, I should be most grateful.

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I also have a question about the revocation of my driving license if anyone has experience of this. Do I have to re-apply for it rather than simply getting it back off the police? And the MPU is normally for drug and alcohol offences or? Or is it possible that I would have to also take the certificate too?

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I don't have any personal experience with this (fortunately), but I believe you simply get it back from the police once the suspension is over.

 

If you were going to be ordered to do an MPU, it would have been included in your Strafbefehl.

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38 minutes ago, JasonBamberg said:

And the MPU is normally for drug and alcohol offences or?

Not only. There are many reasons ranging from wanting a license before you´re 18 years old to being partially disabled or having parked too often in a no parking zone.

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7 minutes ago, jeba said:

Not only. There are many reasons ranging from wanting a license before you´re 18 years old to being partially disabled or having parked too often in a no parking zone.

 

OK, thanks. So it could be that I only find out when I apply to get my license back and the driving authorities make a decision?

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5 minutes ago, JasonBamberg said:

 

OK, thanks. So it could be that I only find out when I apply to get my license back and the driving authorities make a decision?

I´m not sure but I seem to remember reading about a case where someone got his license back for a few days per week and had to return it for the rest of the week at the police station. But I´m sure they´ll tell you when the time comes to turn it in at the latest.

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8 minutes ago, jeba said:

I´m not sure but I seem to remember reading about a case where someone got his license back for a few days per week and had to return it for the rest of the week at the police station. But I´m sure they´ll tell you when the time comes to turn it in at the latest.

 

Well they already have it, I volunteered it this morning. They didn't mention anything. 

 

I think I have to reapply for my license at the end (or near the end) of the 7 months. I hope I don't have to take a MPU or even my whole test again. I did something stupid, it's my first offence and I will have been suitably punished. I drive 30.000km per year and this is the only incident. 

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You already turned in your license?! Then why do you even consider going for a lawyer? You’ve already accepted the penalty now... Asking a lawyer for advice for such a hefty fine would have made a lot of sense. 

 

Also, if you blow a 0.13 more than an hour after a single beer, you should really put yourself on a zero tolerance policy...

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3 hours ago, JasonBamberg said:

They didn't mention anything. 

Then simply ask them. Or  a lawyer (which I´d do if I was you as the 7 month driving ban seem too high to me).

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3 hours ago, Dubya said:

You already turned in your license?! Then why do you even consider going for a lawyer? You’ve already accepted the penalty now... Asking a lawyer for advice for such a hefty fine would have made a lot of sense. 

 

Also, if you blow a 0.13 more than an hour after a single beer, you should really put yourself on a zero tolerance policy...

 

Can I ask if your first sentence is based on experience/knowledge or 'just' your opinion? As I have 2 weeks to contest both the fine and the Fahrerlaubnis - which is not a driving ban as such but a confiscation of my license which CAN be overturned if it goes to the courts and a judge decides in my favour, which is highly unlikely as this is a criminal case and as such it has to be more than a 5/6 month driving ban (whereby I get my license back at the end) in this case I have to reapply I think. It has to be above 6 months so they've given me 7. And if I have incurred damages of over 2.200EUR, plus had to get my blood tested at the hospital plus all other charges, then I'm not so sure 4.800EUR is so excessive.

 

I'm grateful for your opinion and any further help you can give. But I've tried to research a lot and I'm not seeing the same possibilities for getting a lawyer as some of you - if you could give me some evidence why I would be grateful. What's ridiculous is that they have decided that after 6 months I'm a danger to the public and therefore have revoked my license, even though I was able to drive during all of that time. The punishment I can take, but the reasoning is odd.

 

Ours is not to reason why... 

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7 hours ago, JasonBamberg said:

if it goes to the courts and a judge decides in my favour, which is highly unlikely as this is a criminal case

I´m not sure that´s the case given that according to your post you thought you had hit the stairs and not another car. Also, as there was nobody hurt the judge might decide it´s a minor case and a 6 months driving ban plus a fine might be enough of punishment (too bad for you that I won´t be your judge because that´s what I´d do). I´d definitely consult a lawyer specialising in Strafrecht

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I can`t believe you hit "something", which you thought was the stairs, and simply drove off!

Surely common sense says you should at least have gotten out of your car and had a look? For all you knew, there could have been somebody coming down those stairs when you reversed!!!

 

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