Fine is the most lenient sanction imposed by district courts. In addition to district courts, a fine may also be imposed by police officers and prosecutors. In certain common and minor criminal matters, the order imposing a fine issued by a police officer is the final decision. In other cases, the fine imposed by a police officer is submitted to the prosecutor for confirmation. In addition to police officers, customs officers and border guards may also impose fines.
If the fined person does not pay the fine either voluntarily or through enforcement proceedings, the district court may convert the fine into imprisonment, in which case one day of imprisonment corresponds to three unit fines.
A fine is imposed as unit fines. For instance, 20 unit fines at EUR 10 a piece equal EUR 200. The more blameworthy the act, the more unit fines are imposed. The statutory maximum number of unit fines is 120 or, if the fine is imposed for several offences, 240. There is no general, statutory minimum number of unit fines to be imposed, but for certain offences a minimum amount has been determined. As of 1 September 2015, the minimum total amount of a fine to be imposed for speeding is EUR 100 for moped drivers and EUR 200 for drivers of other motor vehicles.
The amount of one unit fine depends on the income of the convict. The amount of a unit fine is based on a person’s net income. The net income is the amount left to the person of his or her monthly income after the deduction of taxes, the statutory social insurance contribution and the unemployment insurance contribution. Thereafter, EUR 255 is subtracted from the net income. The amount arrived at is divided by 60. In addition, each minor child lowers the amount of the unit fine by EUR 3. The minimum amount of a unit fine is EUR 6.
For certain traffic violations, the police may impose a fixed fine, also known as a summary penal fee. Fixed fines cannot be converted into imprisonment.
Example on calculating the amount of the unit fine:
A person's earned income is EUR 1,500 per month. After the deduction of taxes and other levies, he or she is left with EUR 1,000.
Next, EUR 255 is substracted from this amount = EUR 745.
The amount of the unit fine is EUR 745 euro divided by 60 = EUR 12.
If the person has two minor children, 2 x EUR 3 = EUR 6 is subtracted.
Thus, the amount of the unit fine is EUR 6.
If the person has been sentenced to 20 unit fines for the offence, the total amount of the fine is 20 x EUR 6 = EUR 120.