Fare evasion: considerably more than a trivial offense

Anyone who uses public transportation without a valid ticket is considered a fare dodger. This is a criminal offense that can be punished with fines and even imprisonment. Because fare evasion costs the public transport company a lot of money, which the other passengers have to pay.

Thorsten Kohn

  • As soon as you board a bus or train, you enter into a contract of carriage.
  • Driving without a valid ticket is a criminal offense in Germany.
  • Repeated fare evasion can result in imprisonment for up to one year.
  • There must be an intention to justify the offence.
  • Exception: A forgotten annual or monthly ticket can be presented later for a processing fee.

Here’s how to proceed

  • If you have only forgotten your ticket at home, you can submit it within a week.
  • When you resubmit, you pay a handling fee of 7 EUR.
  • If you have not drawn a ticket or have not validated it, you have to pay an increased transportation fee of 60 EUR.
  • Don’t rely on a loophole in the law that will let you off scot-free.
  • Get a lawyer involved if you have been reported. The procedure could become a matter of record.

Fare evasion as a crime

In public, fare evasion may seem like a Bagatelle be looked at, which is often enough ridiculed. However, the reality is different: Use a means of public transport without a valid ticket, you are a fare dodger and make yourself guilty of a criminal offense.

As a fare dodger fraudulently obtain services and that is punished according to § 265 Criminal Code (StGB). Even though these services may only be worth a few euros in the example of public transport, this Offence in Germany as a criminal offense:

"Whoever uses the performance of a Vending machines A fare evader is a person who uses a public transportation system or a public telecommunications network to obtain transportation by a means of transportation or to gain access to an event or facility with the intent to defraud the public fail to pay the fare, will be charged with imprisonment for up to one year or with Fine punished, if the act is not included in other regulations with more severe penalty is threatened."

(§ 265a Abs. 1 StGB)

When does the contract of carriage?

It does not matter that it is often easy to use a train or bus without a valid ticket. The argument of many fare dodgers that it is not possible to use public transport without a valid ticket is also true Neither a written nor oral contract would not apply at this point: According to Case law you agree as a passenger already then to the Contract of carriage to when you get on a bus or train.

This Transportation contract contains Rights and duties for both parties. On the one hand the transport company guarantees the transport to your destination, on the other hand you agree to the Payment to.

A Signature on a document is therefore not necessary, simple action is sufficient. This means that your actions do not result in legal obligation. So you do no explicit declaration of intent submit.

If you do not comply with the obligation to pay the fare, you are driving illegally. The reasoning is that you then had no intention of fare evasion at all agreed price and want to use the services instead free of charge claim. This can be assumed even if you do not have a protective measures bypass or switch off. It is quite sufficient that you pretend act properly.

Penalties for fare evasion

If inspectors catch you driving without a ticket, the Regulation on the General Conditions of Carriage for streetcar and bus services as well as for regular motor vehicle services. There in § 9 the increased transportation charge is regulated:

§ 9 Increased transportation charge

(1) A passenger is obligated to pay an increased transportation charge if he or she

  1. procured no valid ticket has procured,
  2. has obtained a valid ticket, but in the event of a check, has not shown it to the passenger cannot show,
  3. the ticket not validated or not validated immediately have or have invalidated or
  4. the ticket on demand not submitted for examination or hands over.

prosecution in criminal or administrative fine proceedings remains unaffected. The provisions of points 1 and 3 do not apply if the ticket was not obtained or cancelled for reasons beyond the passenger’s control.

(2) In the cases referred to in paragraph (1), the carrier may charge an increased fare up to 60 EUR raise. However, he may double the fare for a one-way trip on the route traveled by the passenger, provided that it higher amount than according to sentence 1 in this case, the increased fare may be calculated according to the starting point of the route, if the passenger has not prove can.

(3) The increased transportation charge shall be reduced in the case of paragraph 1 no. 2 to up to 7 EUR, if the passenger within one week as of the day of the determination, proves to the administration of the operator that at the time of the determination holder of a valid personal season ticket was.

(4) If invalid season tickets are used, further charges will not be levied Claims of the company unaffected.

While the increased Transport charge If a fine is levied by the transport companies concerned, fare evasion can also be punished as a criminal offense – either with a fine notice or more extensive penalties. So it may well happen that you will receive a hearing on a criminal case, should the transport authority brought to the notice have.

As a first-time offender, you usually only have to expect an increased transport charge. If you are caught repeatedly fare evasion, you can expect a criminal charge. Since fare evasion is a criminal offense, the transport authority has the right to file a criminal complaint even in the case of a single fare evasion. The number of times you will be charged with fare evasion is up to the company to decide.

When does it make sense to go to a lawyer?

As soon as you are notified of a fine, you should contact a lawyer directly contact with a lawyer record. It is important that applicable time limits observe, in order to keep the chance of all available legal remedies to keep open.

Preserve your rights and rely on competent legal counsel to effectively avoid major damage to your reputation and your wallet.

Why is the law so strict?

The law aims to protect service providers and organizers against property damage to protect. Due to the high number of customers and Passengers is a precise control naturally not possible, it can only Spot checks be carried out.

The facts explain this strict procedureThe Association of German Transport Operators (VDV) states that in Germany, around 3.5 % of passengers of public transport without a valid ticket are on the way.

Note: damage of 250 million euros a year

Extrapolated to the annual volume of more than ten billion passengers, this results in a potential of over 300 million journeys, for the transport companies no charge received. The Damage thus amounts to about 250 million euros.

The exception: Unintentional fare evasion

Fare evasion is not always a intentional offence. There are a number of everyday examples of situations in which people have bought a ticket but cannot show it.

Recognized reasons for unintentional fare evasion

  • For example, do you own a monthly or annual ticket and have this forgotten at home, if you board public transport, you are not committing a crime for the time being.
  • The situation is the same if you violate a digital ticket have acquired, this however not to present can, because for example the Your cell phone battery is empty is or you have left your cell phone at home.
  • Does the Validation device in the public means of transport not, you can be accused likewise of no criminal offence.

For a criminal offense, your conduct must be Intention present. However, if you have a Ticket purchased, can only not present this Journey already paid. In these cases, you have only violated your duty, to carry your ticket with you. This results in the possibility of presenting the valid ticket valid at the time of travel and only one processing fee to pay.

contact persons for the re-submission of the ticket are the respective transport companies you have used. Although they must be Handling fee but the increased transportation charge is reduced from 60 EUR to up to 7 EUR.

Processing fees for unintentional fare evasion

No legal loophole for fare evaders

Although there is a case circulating where a fare dodger quite openly announced his intention and therefore also by the responsible local court acquitted but this should not be an invitation to imitate. Said young man used the subway without a ticket, but did not pretend to pay.

He was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription "I drive – without a ticket!" – and exactly this Statement of intent saved him from a conviction. There was no question of fare evasion, on the contrary.

The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsbund concerned lost the case before the Frankfurt District Court, the young man had to pay a fine in addition to the increased fare no penalty fear.

Tip: Do not rely on loopholes in the law

This legal loophole should now exhausted his. Other courts have already denied in copycat cases that wearing such a T-shirt would be sufficient. passengers should at least posing in front of the train staff, that this could recognize the intention and intervene if necessary.

Our team will examine your case without obligation. Secure your legal rights!

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