3. Suspension according to § 153a StPO: Money order or instructions
The possibility that proceedings can be discontinued pursuant to § 153a StPO (Code of Criminal Procedure) now often offers a “way out” of criminal proceedings for reasons of overburdening the judiciary and conserving resources.
See also the more detailed article on the discontinuation of criminal proceedings against the imposition of money charges.
In this way, small and medium-sized crime is to be dealt with in a simplified and accelerated manner. Here the “degree of guilt must not stand in the way “. Thus, far more cases are covered than in the case of cessation pursuant to § 153 StPO, so that also medium property offences, moderate traffic offences, business offences and tax offences can be considered, provided that the damage is not too high. In contrast to § 153 Abs. 1 StPO, the defendant must consent to the suspension, since he voluntarily submits to conditions and instructions in the event of suspension pursuant to § 153a StPO.
From the legislative intention these conditions and instructions should not have a punitive character. The following may be considered
- To compensate for the damage caused by the act by providing a specific service,
- To pay a sum of money to a charitable institution or the state treasury,
- To render other charitable services,
- To comply with a certain amount of maintenance obligations,
- To make serious efforts to achieve compensation with the injured person (offender-victim mediation) and in doing so to make good all or the major part of his or her offence or to seek compensation for it,
- Participation in a social training course or
- To take part in an advanced seminar in accordance with § 2b Abs. 2 Satz 2 or in a driving aptitude seminar in accordance with § 4a StVG (Road Traffic Act).
The suspension takes place in two stages: First of all, a provisional suspension takes place by order of a condition or instruction from the above catalogue. If this is fulfilled, the suspension becomes final (§ 153a Abs. 2 Satz 5 StPO), so that the offence cannot be prosecuted further as an offence. Nevertheless, the action may be prosecuted again as a crime (§ 12 Abs. 1 StGB). If the accused does not comply with the condition or instruction, the public action shall be brought.
The conditions must not be disproportionate and must not violate human dignity. For example, the Nuremberg-Fürth Regional Court decided in 2015 that a general ban on the use of social networks is not permissible. Although this decision concerned probation conditions, it also applies mutatis mutandis to conditions in the context of a suspension pursuant to § 153a StPO.