Pandemic Traffic Law
The Corona pandemic has not only led to a restriction of fundamental rights hitherto scarcely thought possible, but has also brought with it a host of new risks of criminal liability. Both business and private life are affected.
In the wake of the Corona crisis, the federal government launched numerous aid programs and emergency Corona assistance. In each case, the application procedures were regulated by the states and deliberately kept straightforward. Applicants hardly had to provide any proof of their need; often, an assurance that economic difficulties or liquidity bottlenecks existed due to Corona was sufficient. In some cases, these offers tempted people to claim aid prematurely.
Anyone who has provided incorrect or incomplete information when submitting an application faces the risk of being prosecuted for subsidy fraud.
In this context, it is initially irrelevant whether the information provided was deliberately or inadvertently false or incomplete, because recklessness is already sufficient for criminal liability.
However, not every false or incomplete statement is punishable; it must have involved so-called subsidy-relevant facts. In individual cases, it must be examined in detail whether the facts were indeed relevant to the subsidy. The question of what exactly constitutes economic difficulties and whether a company was actually in such difficulties is also a matter of considerable dispute.
Particularly relevant in practice are also proceedings for short-time worker fraud (violation of the KUG) by persons responsible for the company (e.g. managing directors, personnel managers, etc.) pursuant to Section 263 of the Criminal Code.
Violations of the Infection Protection Act
The aim of the Infection Protection Act is to prevent the spread of communicable diseases among the population. The law regulates numerous areas, from the necessary water quality for human consumption to the obligation to obtain a permit for handling pathogens. It also allows the authorities to order protective measures to combat communicable diseases, such as banning events or placing people in quarantine.
To ensure compliance with the regulations and prohibitions, the Infection Protection Act also contains provisions on fines and penalties. Until now, these have had a shadowy existence and were practically never applied before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Neither the police nor the judiciary had any experience with these regulations, and there was no corresponding case law.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
In the wake of the Corona pandemic, the legislature quickly realized that in the Infectious Disease Protection Act, the relationship between sanctioning conduct as a criminal offense and sanctioning it as a misdemeanor was not mature and illogical. With the "Second Law for the Protection of the Population in the Event of an Epidemic Situation of National Significance" of May 19, 2020, he adapted the legal situation to the current situation and created a clearer and more proportionate legal situation.
Thus, on the one hand, the penalties were expanded by inserting Covid-19 as a notifiable disease. On the other hand, a large part of the violations of distance rules, maximum number of people, etc. were excluded from criminal liability. These can now only be prosecuted as administrative offenses, at least if no disease transmission has taken place.
Incidentally, the change in the law also benefits you if you are accused of an offense prior to the enactment of the change in the law.
We will be happy to advise you
The new legal situation does not seem to have arrived everywhere yet. With the public prosecutor's offices criminal proceedings are led partly nevertheless because of the offence of distance bids and meetings under excess of the maximum number of persons.
If you are accused of a violation of the Infection Protection Act, we will be happy to advise you. It is also possible that in your case there is only a misdemeanor. In any case, we will help you defend your interests against the investigating authorities.