Arrested at a German Airport

Arrested at a German Airport

Our services
Contact us
Our lawyers

If you have been arrested or detained at a German airport for a criminal offence, it is essential to contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately. Being detained at an airport can be particularly problematic for people entering Germany unaware of their rights and obligations under German law.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we offer comprehensive criminal defence and are your reliable legal assistance in times of crisis. We advise you on your rights, support you during interrogations, represent you in any legal disputes that arise and accompany you through the entire proceedings.

You are here: Home » Criminal Defence Lawyer in Germany » Arrest at a German Airport: Legal Advice

Our Services:

Reliable legal advice during times of crisis.

At S&E, our criminal law defence attorneys are ready to support you.

Arrest at a German Airport: Legal Advice

An arrest at a German airport is not uncommon and can happen unexpectedly. Common reasons for an arrest at the airport are the accusation of smuggling drugs or weapons and carrying valuables, such as significant amounts of expensive jewellery, cash or other items that have not been properly declared.

Often a person is entirely taken by surprise by such an arrest. This is especially true in cases where they are arrested for possessing counterfeit goods or where their computer has been seized on suspicion of illegal activity.

Actions inside the airport can also lead to arrest. There are heightened security measures at airports, and countless searches are carried out. However, sometimes people may be falsely accused of theft or other crimes within airports.

Rising tensions, especially with anxious passengers, can lead to confrontations with security personnel and other airport staff. These may also ultimately result in arrest and detention.

Note that the arrest may have been an extreme measure by the authorities. You may have legal options for compensation, for example, in terms of additional costs incurred due to a missed flight or how security staff treated you.

You must remain calm and collected at the moment of arrest or detention. Do not give the police any further information until you have consulted with legal experts, as everything you say at this point can be used against you. Therefore, you must remain silent until you have spoken to professional legal counsel. Even joking or making sarcastic remarks can lead to trouble for the accused.

Make the best possible notes of the measures taken and the authorities’ actions. If you can do so, you should record everything in writing. These notes or descriptions will help you when you consult our legal experts.

As soon as you can make a call, contact our experienced criminal defence team. By utilising a lawyer, you are not admitting guilt. Instead, it compensates for your disadvantage against the state and protects your rights.

If the police or other authorities try to interrogate you, wait calmly for your legal representative, and follow the instructions they gave you on the phone. Our lawyers will support you in cases where you are still being held and have already been released.

By contacting Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, you will benefit from comprehensive legal advice from our experienced lawyers. We understand the challenges of being arrested at a German airport, especially for non-German nationals.

As criminal defence lawyers, our goal is to achieve the best possible legal outcome for you, depending on your situation. Our client’s goals range from an acquittal to negotiating a reduced sentence to recovering seized property. Whatever your case, our lawyers are there for you.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we are available nationwide. Maintaining our excellent client services is central to our firm’s philosophy. You can rely on us to handle your legal matter promptly and diligently.

German Arrest Warrants, Illegal Entry, and Entry Bans as grounds for Arrest at a German Airport

A German arrest warrant can also be issued against you at a time when you are abroad. For an arrest warrant to be issued, there must be an urgent suspicion of a criminal offence. One of the following grounds for arrest must exist: Escape, risk of escape, risk of collusion or risk of repetition.

Furthermore, detention must be proportionate to the alleged offence. The fact that you are abroad does not in itself constitute sufficient grounds for assuming a “risk of absconding”. However, you will likely be ordered to return to Germany.

If, in addition, you have assets or a residence permit in another country, this may be sufficient to assume a risk of absconding.

Before you return to Germany, it is highly advisable to consult with our lawyers in advance. Our team will explain what you should expect when you arrive at Fraport, Munich Airport, Düsseldorf Airport or elsewhere and how best to respond. Early advice can help avoid difficult situations while ensuring you know your legal options. Should you fly in and find yourself subject to arrest at the airport, our team of lawyers will provide you with comprehensive support in all legal matters.

Another reason for being arrested at a German airport is entering Germany despite an entry ban. A ban on entering Germany can be imposed and can be extended to an entry ban for the entire Schengen Area in some instances. Entry bans are often valid for two years but can sometimes be extended. An entry ban to Germany is provided for in Section 11 (1) of the Residence Act and reads as follows:

“Entry or residence bans are to be issued for foreigners who have been expelled, removed or deported. As a result of the entry or residence ban, the foreigner is permitted neither to re-enter nor to stay in the federal territory nor may the foreigner be granted a residence title, even if they are entitled to one under this Act.”

Entering Germany despite an existing entry ban is risky, as there is a threat of heavy fines or imprisonment. However, entry bans to Germany can be lifted or shortened with the right legal advice. We recommend that you contact our immigration lawyers before entering Germany.

If you are confronted with an arrest at a German airport for the alleged violation of an entry ban, it is essential to consult legal counsel as soon as possible.

Interpol Red Notice, Interpol Notices and Diffusions

An Interpol Red Notice issued against you can also be grounds for arrest at a German airport. Interpol Red Notices restrict the person’s liberties against whom they are given. As soon as they cross a border or enter a German airport, they are threatened with immediate arrest and later extradition.

Interpol Red Notices allow an Interpol member state to enter a request to locate and provisionally arrest the person in question for extraditing them into national police databases. Most states, including Germany, are members of Interpol.

The General Secretariat of Interpol issues Red Notices at the request of member states. The requests are not fully vetted by Interpol, which means that individuals can challenge them with the right legal expertise. However, Interpol ensures that the Red Notice does not violate the Interpol Statues. Article 3 of Interpol Statues prohibits the organisation from any activity or involvement in matters of a political, military, religious or racial character, which must be observed.

Further alerts can be issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS), a Europe-wide alert database. The SIS serves police cooperation across European borders by allowing member states to warn persons. An entry in the SIS triggers an international search for this person. Our lawyers advise on all questions concerning the SIS and the deletion of an alert in the SIS.

Our extradition law team has represented individuals from various backgrounds in challenging Interpol Red Notices and other alerts. We have extensive experience in all aspects of extradition and Interpol law. Our team of lawyers will determine whether you are on the Interpol system, help you remove the alert and advise you on the next steps. We support you throughout the entire process.

Schlun & Elseven Logo

Practice Group: German Criminal Law

Practice Group:
German Criminal Law

Philipp Busse


Dr. Julius Hagen



Contact our German Lawyers

Please use the contact form to reach us if you have been arrested at an airport in Germany or require information regarding a specific case. After receiving your request, we will make a short preliminary assessment based on the information provided and give you a cost estimation.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we understand our clients’ need for maximum security when dealing with personal information and confidential records. That is why we offer a specially-operated > secure message and file server with the highest security standards.

You can use this mechanism to send us encrypted files and messages. The contents are encrypted with a password assigned by you, which you must send to us via a third channel.  Depending on the level of security required, you can forward this password to our offices via our contact form, > email, > telephone, or even PGP.

You can also send us the request directly via PGP. However, we recommend using our secure server for sending files. You can download our public key > here. Our fingerprint is: BF 10 9852 679B AFD5 F486 C5C4 E2E4 E9AC CB5E 7FA5.