Warning - Verwarnung
In Germany, the fine regime is regulated nationally in the Gesetz über Ordnungswidrigkeiten (OWiG). This way, all rules regarding payment, installments and transferring of the fines are the same for every fine-imposing government body. The fine types and the fine amount is determined centrally by the federal government in the ‘catalog of facts’ or ‘Tatbestandskatalog’.
Germany does not have a central debt collection agency such as the Dutch CJIB or the French ANTAI. The fines are imposed by the regional and local entities such as cities and counties. It is therefore important that you know which authority to contact, and that you know how they have arranged their administrative processes if you want to transfer a fine in Germany to the renter of a vehicle.
A few things to keep in mind with regards to the Verwarnung:
- You will receive a Verwarnung (warning) when the fine is below 60 euros. Above that you will receive a Bussgeldbescheid (a fine).
- You are obliged to pay the Verwarnung within 7 days, or to provide information about the driver. Otherwise you run the risk that the Verwarning will be converted into a Bussgeldbescheid, whereby the amount will be increased by €28.50. The Verwarnung will then be cancelled.
- In practice, the 7-day period is usually not that strict, but where the limit lies depends on the authority.