What happens the second time you get caught?

The local police stores all fines

If someone has received a fine for smoking pot in one area (for example in the city of Zurich or in a district of Aargau), this fine is stored at the responsible office. If the same person is picked up again in the same area, they usually receive a higher fine. The series in the city of Zurich is as follows, according to the municipal magistrate's office: The first time there is 100 francs fine (plus fees makes it then 258, see here), the second time 200 francs fine (plus fees makes it 438 francs), the third time 300 francs (plus fees makes it 578 francs). After the fifth time, the file is transferred to the governor's office. The latter can issue fines of up to 5,000 francs. There are said to be people who have already been reported more than ten times.

The police forces know nothing about each other (yet)

But if someone is reported in this district, then in that city, then in another canton, he gets the fine for the first time. Unless he answers yes to the question of the police whether he has been fined before. Then it is easy for the municipal magistrate's office (the name of the fining authority is different in different parts of Switzerland) to force a higher fine on you. Therefore you should not answer such a question of the police or just lie. Most of the time, the police will not make a lengthy investigation across Switzerland to find out if someone has ever received a fine somewhere. Here it really pays to keep quiet. (An exception is, of course, if someone has been entered in the Swiss criminal register - more about that here).

Who is often caught multiple times?

Mainly people are reported who smoke pot in public or show special characteristics (freaky clothes, penetrating pot smell, dark skin color, foreign appearance). Depending on the circumstances, such pot smokers can receive several fines per year. Since the intensity of police checks is increasing every year, nothing can be done about it (see also here).

In addition, there is also the commissioner coincidence. Even those who do not fit the picture described above can be controlled by the police. For example, because they have nothing better to do. Or because you resemble someone who is wanted by the police. Or because water damage at your upstairs neighbor's house causes the fire department to break into your apartment and find a lump of hash. Or because someone breaks into your place and the police get to your apartment before you do and discover pot paraphernalia. And and and… The possibilities are many, but one thing is for sure: Shit happens!

What happens if you don't pay the fine?

Anyone who fails to pay a fine is first sent a reminder. If this does not help, a court can convert the fine into imprisonment. In most cases, 100 francs counts as one day. However, this process takes quite a long time and costs the state a lot (each day of imprisonment costs several hundred francs). That's why some hardcore pot smokers take the chance. (And occasionally the authorities do not enforce the sentence due to overload - but you should not rely on that).

The fees of a sentence cannot be converted to imprisonment. For these, however, you can be operated. But those who do not have anything do not have to pay them. For the others, the debt collector can seize items.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

Share page: facebook X (Twitter)

Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

This overview as PDF