Defense in misdemeanor law
Criminal defense of defendants, corporate defense and corporate representation in allegations of criminal corruption law is our core competence.
The media frequently report on fines imposed on companies in the (often triple-digit) millions. Just as an example, we would like to mention the press coverage of the multi-million fines imposed on large German corporations. However, the press reports often do not show that not only large companies, but also - as we know from our own legal practice - small and medium-sized companies, i.e. medium-sized companies, can be fined substantial amounts, sometimes even fines that can destroy their existence.
Due to the special risk situation, especially for companies, it is therefore advisable that experienced and litigious lawyers specializing in criminal law are commissioned to defend against the accusations made. Specialized attorneys in criminal law, especially in white-collar criminal law, are recommended because the provisions of fine law from various special laws and from the Ordnungswidrigkeitengesetz (OWiG)are very similar to criminal offenses. The same applies to the prosecution practice of the competent authorities, so that corresponding fine proceedings are often conducted like criminal proceedings.
Many laws - many fine regulations
Contrary to what is often assumed, there are not only fine regulations in the Administrative Offenses Act (OWiG), but also in an almost unmanageable number of special laws. Examples include the areas of environmental law, labor law including special labor laws, combating illegal employment, competition law, withholding and misappropriation of social security contributions, the Minimum Wage Act (MiLoG), employee posting, employee leasing, employment promotion, and so on.
Additional risks: Exclusion from public contracts, entries in registers etc. possible
It is widely unknown that affected companies and defendants are threatened not only with high fines, but also, for example, with entry in various stately registers. Particularly worth mentioning here are fines or penalties that can lead to entry in the so-called "Corruption Register" or the Competition Register kept by the Federal Cartel Office, which in some cases means existence-destroying consequences (in particular exclusion from public contracts, but also general problems with the public sector as a client). Sometimes the reliability according to the central business register is also in question, which is the basis for exercising a trade (see below).
Fine against affected companies (§ 30 OWiG)
A fine pursuant to Section 30 OWiG can be imposed on a company if organs, representatives or executives responsible for management (e.g. board of directors, management, authorized signatories, division managers, etc.) have committed a criminal offense or administrative offense from within the company. The fine can be up to 10 million euros.
Violation of supervisory duties in companies (§ 130 OWiG)
Very relevant in practice is the accusation that the owner or board representatives or managers have not organized their company properly, have not adequately trained and instructed employees or have not exercised their supervisory duties over the company and subordinate employees (often referred to as organizational culpability). This breach of the duty of supervision within the company pursuant to Section 130 OWiG constitutes the basis for a fine against the company if an administrative offense or criminal act within the company would have been prevented or even made more difficult if supervision had been exercised sufficiently. Here, too, the fine can amount to up to EUR 10 million in the worst case.
Basis for your entrepreneurial activity: your "reliability" in the central business register
Many people are not aware that commercial entrepreneurial activity is only possible and can be denied in retrospect if there are no sufficient indications of unreliability under trade law from the central commercial register. In the case of certain administrative offenses recorded in the central business register, there is a threat of revocation of business reliability.
The lawyers of H2W regularly advise companies of various sizes and from a wide range of industries, as well as accused board members, managing directors, authorized signatories, etc., who are threatened with a fine or administrative penalty. We have proven experience, not only in providing advice (in particular also pre-field advice), but also specifically in defending ourselves in corresponding administrative offence proceedings where a fine is threatened. In addition, we represent affected companies as so-called secondary parties in corresponding criminal or administrative offence proceedings.