When overtaking cars, drivers get insulted

Coercion in road traffic: examples, consequences & options for action


Deliberate braking, permanent collision or the parking of other vehicles are examples of coercion in road traffic. Despite severe penalties such as fines, driving bans and imprisonment, these coercions occur.

Especially when it comes to a trial and testimony against testimony, the accused as well as those forced can seek legal support.


At a glance

  • Coercion in road traffic is the intentional forcing of certain driving behavior through the use of force or threat.
  • Typical examples are jostling with permanent fading in and obstructing others by driving slowly or parking.
  • The penalties for coercion in road traffic range from fines, points at the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) in Flensburg and driving bans to several years imprisonment in particularly serious cases.
  • The coercive drivers must file a criminal complaint so that the police and public prosecutor can investigate the crime.
  • If there are no witnesses to clearly identify the accused, the accused have the chance of the criminal proceedings being discontinued.
  • If there is a trial without witnesses or if there is testimony against testimony, the judge decides at his own discretion.
  • Particularly in such and similar constellations, consultation with a lawyer specializing in traffic law can be recommended for those who are coerced as well as for the accused.


1. What is coercion in road traffic?

The term “coercion in road traffic” is used when it is about a Coercion in connection with a traffic offense acts.

However, there is neither a specific paragraph nor a clear definition in this regard. Therefore, the courts are based on Section 240 of the Criminal Code (StGB). In order to protect the individual will-formation and activity, it says accordingly:

A person should decide freely and not being pressured into certain decisions, behaviors or activities by others. "


According to the German Criminal Code, a road user commits a coercion in road traffic when he is driving another

  • With his illegal driving behavior deliberately pressures and / or scares them.
  • To a involuntary act or reaction (such as driving faster by jostling) forces.
  • Through his driving style endangeredby z. B. accepts a traffic accident with property damage and personal injury.

Unfortunately, there can still be risky situations in road traffic that constitute coercion - for example through:

  • Slowing down, jostling, opening up or fading in
  • Sudden lane change or obstruction to overtaking
  • Forcing the right of way and keeping a parking space free
  • Blocking of driveways and / or vehicles


2. Classic examples

Who only for a short time drives close to another vehicle or once before an overtaking maneuver by Headlight flasher draws attention to itself does not automatically cause coercion in traffic. The former is an administrative offense and the latter is not punishable under the StVO.

Road users are regularly asked for the Showing the middle finger displayed. However, this is not a coercion in traffic, but an insult.


Driving up and jostling

You are driving on the autobahn and notice another car quickly approaching behind you. The driver flashes the headlights to let you know that you should drive faster. He also starts honking and reduces the Vehicle spacing to less than a meter. In doing so, he is forcing you to drive faster or to stop so that he can overtake.

It is not uncommon for those affected to steer spontaneously to the right in order to escape the dangerous situation and thereby cause accidents.


Slowing down and cutting

According to the StVO, all road users must drive carefully and be ready to brake at any time. Without intent and in the context of a correct driving style, braking in itself is not a necessity. This also applies if children are playing on the side of the road and justify an emergency stop or a change of lane.

Anyone who deliberately slows down or cuts the person behind them creates a physical obstacle with their vehicle. As a result of intentional violence there is a coercion situation.


To park or block a parking space

If you accidentally park your car as an obstacle, you will be prosecuted for an administrative offense. Anyone who has a driveway or another vehicle with his car intentionally blocked, commits a coercion in traffic, if

  • The driveway cannot be used by other road users.
  • The other vehicle cannot drive away.

Basically, that too Keeping a parking space free a coercion: If the person who is keeping the space free does not damage the car, this minor offense is usually not prosecuted.

A complaint and conviction for coercion is all the more likely if the other driver wants to displace the placeholder with fistfights.


3. Consequences & penalties for the accused


As soon as those involved file a criminal complaint, the police will initiate appropriate investigations. If the officers can find the perpetrator, they send one Subpoena or questionnaire.

The accused must respond to the allegation, but not comment on the facts. Whether an opinion makes sense or rather from Right to refuse to testify Can be used varies from case to case.

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After the summons or the return of the questionnaire, the police will forward the case to the public prosecutor.

This can refrain from prosecuting the accused due to insignificance. A so-called Minor offense is present when

  • No damage has occurred.
  • The guilt of the perpetrator can be regarded as minor.
  • There is no public interest in prosecution.
  • The administrative effort is disproportionate to the offense.

When it comes to trial, both parties must appear in court. The judge's judgment ultimately decides whether there is coercion in road traffic or not.


Criminal sanctions

According to the catalog of fines, the penalties for coercion in traffic are very different. While in severe cases Up to five years' imprisonment are possible, the accused can also be convicted of administrative offenses. Decisive for the sentence are among others:

  • intensity of coercion: speed of vehicles, duration of coercion, distance between vehicles, use of force
  • consequences coercion: personal injury and property damage as a result of an accident
  • Behavior of the perpetrator: Duration and gravity of the act, intent, past traffic violations, apology to the victim


Example: A pedestrian (F) blocks a parking space into which a car driver (A) wants to drive. If F now kicks the car to prevent A from parking, that would be a force in traffic. If A decides to report the coercion in traffic and the court recognizes the criminal offense as fulfilled, F faces at least one of the following penalties according to the catalog of fines:

  • 3 points in Flensburg
  • 3 months maximum Driving ban
  • Driving license withdrawal
  • Embargo between 6 months and 5 years - during this time offenders are not allowed to apply for a new driving license.
  • A Fine in the amount of 20–40 daily rates - a daily rate corresponds to 3.33% of the monthly net salary. With a net salary of € 2,000, 40 daily rates correspond to € 2,666.


If there is a complaint about coercion in traffic, a legal protection insurance will cover the legal fees after examining the case.

But in the event of a coercion conviction the accused must repay the legal fees, because as a result of a deliberate crime the insurance cover expires.


4. What to do if there is an advertisement?


As long as no advertisement if the police is present and there is only an allegation of coercion, the accused do not need to take any action. Without the police recording the coercion, those affected will neither receive a summons nor a questionnaire.

Investigations into coercion in road traffic are often abandoned if the eyewitnesses cannot unequivocally identify the accused. Still it can be worth it Incident Notes to make and exculpatory evidence in order to counter the accusation of coercion with the best possible preparation.


According to a judgment of the BGH on May 15, 2018 (VI ZR 233/17), despite the GDPR violation, the Recordings from a dashcam admitted as evidence in court, especially after accidents, but also in the event of coercion.


Under certain circumstances, your own testimony to the police has a negative effect on the further criminal proceedings. Therefore, those affected have the option of Right to refuse to testify according to § 136 para. 1 sentence 2 StPO and to provide no information on the accusation of the criminal offense or the course of events.


Consult a lawyer if you report this

If you have received a complaint about coercion in traffic, you can have the details of the incident as well as existing evidence clarified by a criminal law attorney in order to avoid far-reaching consequences if necessary.

It can be crucial to get one as early as possible appropriate defense strategy to develop. Otherwise there is a risk of severe penalties ranging from a fine to a prison sentence of several years.

A lawyer is allowed to request access to files and develops an individual defense strategy at an early stage, which prevents tactical maneuvers by the other side and, under certain circumstances, converts a custodial sentence into a suspended sentence.

He will help you find Eyewitnesses and evidence, which refute the accusation of coercion and clearly clarify the question of guilt. He knows the current legal situation and can, if necessary, have the proceedings terminated due to a lack of evidence.

If it comes to a process, only he is allowed to represent you in court. This can maximize the chances of success, especially when in a witnessless criminal case word agains word stands.

At Claims for damages or compensation for pain and suffering the lawyer examines the extent to which the compulsory party is entitled to compensation.


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5. Claims for damages by the necessary

If, in the course of the criminal investigation against the accused, the accusation of coercion in road traffic is confirmed, the coercive can assert a claim for compensation under civil law. This includes:


According to Section 249 (1) BGB, there is a right to compensation for three years if property is damaged as a result of being forced into road traffic. Can the compulsory road user do the Unequivocally attribute the cause of the damage to the coercion, the accused is obliged to pay compensation. Compensation is usually paid for property damage to the vehicle.

If the coercive person cannot use his vehicle as a result of the coercion, he may also demand compensation from the perpetrator, the so-called loss of use.

Compulsory road users also have a three-year claim for compensation for pain and suffering if they health impairments arise from coercion.

If you can trace back the development of your physical or psychological injuries to the coercion, the compensation payment will compensate for the injuries suffered through no fault of your own.


Are you affected by coercion in road traffic? An advocado partner lawyer will explain your options for action in a free initial assessment. Get an initial assessment now.


6. Make a complaint about coercion

Coercion in traffic is not uncommon. Do those affected wish one criminal prosecution of the perpetrator, they have to file a complaint with the police.

The law enforcement authorities will investigate the complaint in any case. Initially, they rate the credibility of those who are coercive more than that of the accused.

In order for lawyers, courts and public prosecutors to assess and punish the accusation of coercion in road traffic, a complaint can contain the following points:

  • Place, time and course of the incident
  • License plate number, make, type and color of the vehicles involved
  • Witnesses and evidence

A motor vehicle law attorney can assist in finding eyewitnesses, securing the evidence and clarifying the matter Question of guilt. It conveys the necessary seriousness to a criminal complaint and increases the pressure on the investigative authorities and the public prosecutor's office to open criminal proceedings.


7. Current judgments

Coercion is a very vague term in German jurisprudence. Sometimes, for example, it is not possible to clearly distinguish between insult and coercion. Therefore, in case of doubt, the judge decides at his own discretion.

In order to make it easier for you to distinguish, we have put together some relevant judgments that meet the requirements of coercion in road traffic:


Retirees threaten cyclists

(AG Munich 2015: Az 942 Cs 412 Js 230288/15)

  • A pensioner wants to overtake a parked car with his car and changes to the oncoming lane. He wants to force an oncoming cyclist to swerve by driving towards them.
  • When they both stop, he describes the cyclist as an "asshole". In addition, he threatens to knock the cyclist over if he does not immediately evade.
  • In court, the senior denies the coercion, but witnesses can confirm his aggressive behavior.
  • Since he has already been convicted of coercion in traffic in the past, he receives one A fine of 80 daily rates and a one-month driving ban.


Insult and coercion

(AG Munich 2015: Az 922 Cs 433 Js 114354/15)

  • A taxi driver drives behind a couple without a passenger.
  • Suddenly he overtooks at high speed in the opposite lane and shows the couple the middle finger.
  • The taxi driver cuts in so close to the couple that only an emergency stop prevents a rear-end collision.
  • The accused has no criminal record. His illegal driving behavior is therefore associated with a Fine of € 1,000 and one month driving ban fined.


Hit the bonnet

(LG Essen 2013: Az. 24 Ns-28 Js 124 / 12-102 / 12 30 Ds 174/12)

  • In a traffic jam, a passenger gets out to smoke. The driver of the rear car feels provoked and rolls towards the smoker. The arguments resulted in a light scuffle, as a result of which the smoker falls on the hood and causes a dent.
  • The fall is rated as a deliberate blow that prevented the driver from continuing his journey. Therefore sentenced the AG Gelsenkirchen-Buer den Smoker In the first instance to a fine of 15 daily rates.
  • But the appeal hearing before the LG Essen overturns the judgment: Since there is no evidence to prove the fall as a targeted blow, it is not a case of coercion and standing in front of a vehicle is not a criminal offense.


Inconsiderate overtaking

(KG Berlin 2016: (3) 161 Ss 211/16 (144/16)

  • A car driver feels hindered by the slow driving style of the person in front of him. He decides to overtake on the right and cut in just in front of the vehicle.
  • The other car has to brake hard to avoid a rear-end collision.
  • In the first instance, the driver is fined and banned from driving, so he appeals against this decision.
  • The KG Essen decides in the Revision in favor of the accused, since reckless overtaking does not constitute a criminal liability for coercion.

Do you have concerns about coercion in road traffic?

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