Administrative penalties

Prison sentence

Administrative penal law provides for imprisonment as the most severe type of penalty. A prison sentence may only be imposed in administrative penal proceedings if it is provided for as a means of punishment in the administrative regulations and, if necessary, in individual cases, to prevent the offender from repeating further administrative offences of similar kind.


A prison sentence must not be imposed in summary penalty notices, anonymous penalty notices and penalty notices.

The minimum duration of a prison sentence imposed is twelve hours.  A prison sentence exceeding a two weeks’ term may be imposed only if necessary for particularly aggravating reasons. A prison sentence of more than six weeks is not admissible.


In practice, the most important type of penalty under administrative penal law is the fine. The amount of the fine to be imposed depends on the administrative regulations. Except in cases of summary penalty notices, a fine at a minimum of 7 Euro is to be imposed.

Substitute prison sentence

Whenever a fine is imposed, a substitute prison sentence shall also be determined, in case the fine cannot be collected. For the maximum duration of a substitute prison sentence, the following applies:

  • The substitute prison sentence must not exceed the maximum prison term provided for the administrative offence.
  • If no prison sentence is provided for and no other provision is made, the prison sentence must not exceed two weeks.
  • A prison sentence of more than six weeks is not admissible.

If the fine cannot be collected, the determined substitute prison sentence shall be enforced.

Not certified translation
Last update: 13 March 2023

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