Criminal Offences under German Anti-Doping Law
§ 4 Anti-Doping Act outlines the illegal actions associated with doping. It lists the production, trafficking, sale, distribution, marketing and prescription of doping substances amongst its offences. Possessing, importing and acquiring doping substances are also prohibited. Breaching doping regulations can lead to a penal sentence of up to three years or a fine. Administering doping substances to other people is prohibited, as is self-administration if the intention is to participate in an organised competition. An organised competition refers to the following under § 3(3) Anti-Doping Act:
Within the meaning of this provision, a competition of organized sport shall be any sporting event
- organized by, on behalf of or with the approval of a national or international sport organization, and
- which requires compliance with rules adopted by a national or international sport organization which are binding upon its member organizations.
§ 2 Anti-Doping Act provides for the meaning of “doping substance” by stating that they refer to items listed in Annex I of the International Convention against Doping:
It shall be prohibited to administer or apply to another person
- a doping substance which is or contains a substance listed in Annex I of the International Convention against Doping, or
- a doping method which is listed in Annex I of the International Convention against Doping for the purpose of doping in sport.
These substances, as listed under the Annex, are divided into different categories such as:
- anabolic substances
- peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics
- Hormone and metabolic modulators
- Diuretics and masking agents
In determining whether anti-doping law has been breached, it must be noted if the substance is for the purpose of doping in sport. Some substances are prohibited at all times under the Annex; however, other substances are only banned in competition. It should also be noted that the Anti-Doping Act lists acquiring or possessing a doping substance in a quantity that is not insignificant. Under § 2(3) Anti-Doping Act, it states:
It shall be prohibited to purchase, possess… significant quantities of a doping substance which is or contains a substance listed in the annex to this act, for the purpose of doping in sport.
What an insignificant amount is depends on the doping substance. However, the permitted amounts can often be minimal.
Preliminary Proceedings for Violating the Anti-Doping Act
If you come under suspicion of breaching the Anti-Doping it is advisable to consult with an expert in criminal defence law. Doping substances can be detected by customs should they come to Germany by post. Investigations may proceed regarding the quantity of the substance located. In cases where the trafficking of such substances is suspected (maybe due to the amount of the substance located), house and premises searches can be ordered. Even in cases where smaller amounts of doping substances are located, those accused can face a summons for questioning. If you receive such a summons, it is vital to respond cautiously and not to incriminate yourself. Proceeding without legal counsel can leave you open to further legal problems.
House Searches: How to React
Under § 102 StPO (Search of accused’s premises and person), § 103 StPO (Search of other persons’ premises) and § 104 StPO (Night-time search), the state has extensive powers to conduct house or premises searches of those suspected of committing an offence. However, there are also limitations regarding how such investigations can be performed. Our German criminal defence lawyers are ready to support you with responding to such house searches.
When facing a house or premises search, it is essential to remain calm and not resist the action. Resistance or abusive behaviour can be brought up by the prosecuting side during the trial or follow up steps. Ask the police to present the necessary search warrant. Take notice and observe their actions during the search, and make sure that they conduct the search as per the warrant. Do not make a formal statement until you have heard from your criminal defence lawyer.
It is strongly advisable to contact and consult with a defence lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer may not be able to get to the scene of the action at that moment, but they will provide helpful advice regarding how to act and what steps come next. If the police continue with the search, carefully observe them in action. Be assertive and do not incriminate yourself but be careful regarding aggressive or uncooperative behaviour. Such activities can be damaging in future cases.
Remain calm and document the actions of the police. Make sure to take notes if they seized any documents or items, and have a copy of the search report handed over to you at the end of the search. Once our lawyers are engaged with the action, they will provide you with comprehensive legal support.
Trafficking & Importing Doping Substances and Serious Offences
Under § 2 Anti-Doping Act, it is prohibited to engage in the trafficking of doping substances “for the purpose of doping human beings in sport”. Trafficking is broadly defined and generally comes down to whether the defendant engaged with activity with the purpose of the turnover of doping substances. Such charges relate to actions such as the purchase, possession, storage and sale of doping substances. Doping substance trafficking can refer to a one-time action or ongoing activity.
Importing doping substances refers to when the substance is transported across the border into Germany by human activity.
Furthermore, it should be noted that there are more serious charges with sentences of up to ten years for those acting in a gang or those who dispense doping substances to those under the age of 18. § 4(4) Anti-Doping Act outlines the following:
- endangers the health of a large number of persons;
- exposes another person to the risk of death or the risk of serious injury to that person’s body or health; or
- acquires a considerable pecuniary gain for himself/herself or another person out of gross self-interest; or
- sells or dispenses a doping substance to a person under the age of 18, prescribes it to such a person or administers or applies a doping substance or a doping method to such a person; or
- acts commercially or as a member of a gang which has come together for the recurring commission of such acts
shall be punishable with one to ten years’ imprisonment.
The Benefits of Working with Our Criminal Defence Lawyers
Doping offences are not trivial matters and can have serious consequences. Facing a criminal case against the state is highly stressful, and the defendant is often in a disadvantageous position. Working with a criminal defence lawyer is a means of rebalancing that inequality. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, we are a full-service law firm, and our criminal defence team is ready to defend you. Our lawyers support clients all over Germany.
We prioritise excellent customer service whereby you can be assured that we are ready to respond to your queries and issues wherever you are based. Once our team is engaged, they will react with the speed and diligence required in matters of such crucial importance. Our criminal defence team is experienced in all negotiation, cross-examination, and strategising and consists of experts in German criminal law and criminal procedure.
As a full-service and multidisciplinary firm, our lawyers can consult with experts in different fields to create tailored solutions for complex cases. Our team will examine the evidence, how such evidence was discovered, the case law in the area and will work tirelessly to resolve the matter in your favour.
As experienced professionals, our team will advise you regarding whether the case can be resolved out of court, by arbitration or whether it needs to go to the courtroom. Our lawyers will inform you of the full facts regarding the likely sentence if found guilty and what strategies can be adopted to counteract the opposition.