Driving Offences in Germany: DUIs, Alcohol Limits and the Law

Lawyers for German Criminal Law

Driving Offences in Germany: DUIs, Alcohol Limits and the Law

Lawyers for German Criminal Law

Driving offences can have severe consequences for those involved. To ensure the safety of road users, all drivers in Germany are obliged to follow the rules laid down by the German Road Traffic Regulations – the Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung (StVO). These regulations apply to the driver regardless of whether they are German citizens. Should someone who is not a German citizen break the rules of the Traffic Regulations, they may also face serious consequences.

Should you need assistance with German law, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers using our contact form. 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 arising, and accompany you through the entire proceedings.

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DUIs in Germany

The amount of alcohol a driver can have in their system while driving differs depending on the situation. Similarly, the penalty also varies. Furthermore, it should also be noted that the amounts listed do not provide a person with “free rein” should they be caught driving dangerously. The amount of alcohol they have consumed will be considered – even if it is within the legal limits. Below listed are the boundaries when it comes to experienced drivers.

Regarding how many drinks these limits equate to can be difficult to say as individuals have different reactions to alcohol. Factors such as the amount of food consumed by the individual and their physical health also play a role. Generally, it is taken that a small (0.3ml) beer is roughly the equivalent of 0.3mg of alcohol per 100mm of blood.

Should a person be found driving dangerously, the amount of alcohol in their system will be considered – even if they are below the legal limit. A safe way to approach this issue is to avoid alcohol as much as possible or keep it to minimal amounts.

The figures presented above are for experienced drivers in a private setting. These limits are not in place in the example of professional drivers such as bus drivers. There is more expected from the driver in these cases, and there is less leeway presented to the driver.

Similarly, these limits are also not applicable for young drivers (those under the age of 21) and new drivers (those with their licence for 2 years or under) as they should have an alcohol limit of 0.0mg per 100ml of blood. Thus, even a small beer is too much in these cases. Alcohol should be avoided entirely for these groups of drivers.

Alcohol Limits in Germany: Table

Alcohol Limits Penalty Points Fine or Punishment Driving ban

Administrative or Criminal Offence?

0.5- 1.09 mg of alcohol per mm of blood: 2 Fine: €500 Driving Ban: 1 Month Administrative
Repeated Offence 2 Fine: €1000 Driving Ban: 3 Months Administrative
Second Repeated Offence 3 Fine: €1500 Driving Ban: 3 Months Administrative
1.1-1.59 mg of alcohol per mm of blood: 3 Custodial sentence or fine Revocation of driving licence for between six months and five years or life driving ban Criminal
Over 1-6 mg of alcohol per mm of blood: 3 Custodial sentence or fine Revocation of driving licence for between six months and five years or life driving ban Criminal

Non-German Residents and Driving Offences in Germany

Non-Germany/international users of German roads can also face punishment for driving offences. Should a non-German residing in Germany commit an action resulting in a driving ban/fine, they will receive this punishment. This result is the case regardless of whether they received their driving licence in another EU jurisdiction.

§ 25(2), StVG applies to road users in Germany irrespective of where their country of origin is. Therefore, the potential fines and prison sentences applicable to German drivers are also appropriate for non-German drivers.

Even if a person is not residing in Germany or is a German citizen, they can also face sanctions for driving offences. In a serious incident, the person involved may have to hand their driving licence up to a German authority for the driving ban to be noted on the licence.

Should the person not do so, they may have their licence confiscated from their person. The note will inform authorities of the person’s driving ban and outline its length. Fines made in Germany can also be given to non-German residents.

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our legal professionals advise clients worldwide regarding driving bans, fines and other sanctions. If you require professional legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team directly.

Other Driving Offences and Penalty Points

There are many driving offences under German law with varying punishments attached to their breaching.

For example, one cannot drive under the influence of drugs. Should a person be caught with marijuana in their system, they may also face prosecution and a driving ban.

Otherwise, running a red light (depending on the circumstances) can also result in fines, a driving ban, and penalty points, as can violations on autobahns (motorways) and around railroad crossings. Using a mobile phone while driving can also result in penalty points and fines.

Furthermore, speeding violations come with potential sanctions. Depending on the excess speed travelled and the nature of the driving, one can face small fines of around €15 up to more severe penalties of €500 or more and driving bans.

Penalty points are one of how driving offences are regulated. In German, they are referred to as “Punkte in Flensburg” (points in Flensburg).

A driver can receive a maximum of three points for a single incident. Should a person have between one and three points on their licence, they are still in the “green zone” and not in danger of losing their licence. They will reduce the number of points on their licence at a rate of one point every two and a half years for administrative offences.

However, this reduced rate will be significantly increased should the person have received their points for criminal offences.

In contrast, where a person has four points or over, they will be considered in the “danger zone”. The danger, in this case, is that t