Report: interrogation and protocol ⇒ penalty

The interrogation is recorded

In the case of a fixed penalty, no protocol is drawn up and the police can issue you a fine directly (as in the case of illegal parking).

But if you have more than 10 grams with you or admit to previous use, you will be reported to the police. For this purpose, the police will create a protocol, usually a standard protocol like the example below.

The more illegal activities you admit to, the higher the punishment can be. If you sign this protocol, this document is your statement and based on it you will be punished. So admit only what you have to admit (the weed on you for example). Never admit anything more and read the protocol carefully before signing it and protest in case of mistakes. You should also not name your source of supply, otherwise they will try to find it and punish you.

Honesty is not helpful here. Everything that you provide them with evidence with your statement, they don't have to prove anymore: So you are delivering yourself to the knife.

And: The more consumption you admit to, the more likely it is that the DMV will check your fitness to drive. Because all your statements will be on record for a long time, and you may be confronted with them again and again (for example, in the case of a divorce, when custody of the children is at stake).

You don't even have to sign this protocol, you simply haven't made a statement and the police have to report you based on the facts or provide further evidence (which is often too time-consuming).

As soon as it is about a report because of passing on, so about a misdemeanorThe protocol becomes much more detailed, even interrogations lasting several hours are recorded verbatim. Such a detailed protocol then covers many pages or even folders. Even if you disclose the source of supply, an additional protocol is created so that the police can estimate the quantities and then confront the dealer with them. Statements of users are always important evidence to be able to prove that a trafficker is a misdemeanor to be able to prove the trafficker.

The report and the penalty

Due to the police report follows the summary penalty order with the fine (100 to 600 francs) and the fees (about 50 to 500 francs). Since 1995 we collect such summary penalty orders and publish them anonymously: summary penalty orders from all over Switzerland

Example of a standard protocol Example of a fine for consumption actions
Click to enlarge Click to enlarge

Pitfalls with the interrogation

Example hemp seed prosecution

After the first test checks by customs in 2014, prosecution thousands of people who had ordered hemp seeds in the Netherlands or other countries (as some had done for many years) were arrested in 2015. The police and public prosecutor took action in a variety of ways against the customers, most of whom wanted to supply themselves and had never come to the attention of the police.

The initial situation

Customs seized an envelope containing hemp seeds (if these plants can grow with 1% or more THC, they are considered illegal narcotics, the same as weed or hash). He reported the person listed on the envelope to the competent public prosecutor, depending on the place of residence.

In Basel-Stadt, there were the rare suspensions of proceedings with warnings without police questioning. Some public prosecutors from other cantons, on the other hand, immediately ordered a house search, followed by questioning.

The police summons

Most of the people concerned, however, were and are summoned by the police: in person, by letter or by telephone. Since spring 2015, thousands of people have been startled by such a summons: police summons for violation of the NarcA.

The great uncertainty

“How should I behave at this police questioning? What to say, what to keep silent about? What consequences can the statements have? What is in store for me?

The uncertainty was great, which became clear during our legal consultations. At times, we conducted five consultations a day. On this and the next double page, we summarize the findings from hundreds of cases that we have advised and accompanied.

There are four main variants of how subpoenaed persons can behave at this police interview. We have shown the variants in green, yellow, red and purple.

Deny, lie at best

“I did not order any illegal seeds.”

Anyone who has not ordered THC-seeds or legal CBD-seeds must absolutely testify to this! ⇒ Here it is of no use at all to refuse to testify.

The policemen and policewomen get grumpy, loud or abusive, you have to be able to endure that. The interrogation becomes more unpleasant, but the protocol only contains the statement that the order was not placed.

It can be helpful here to offer the police a house search so they can see for themselves what the facts are. The police often want a copy of the credit card statement from the relevant period.

If no evidence of the order is found, then a discontinuation order will follow (which may well take several months).

Silence, refuse to testify

“I'm not saying anything.”

No one has to incriminate themselves, everyone is allowed to refuse to testify. ⇒ However, it remains unclear whether one has placed the order or not.

The first consequence quickly becomes clear: The policemen and policewomen get grumpy, loud or abusive, and you have to be able to put up with that. ⇒ The interrogation becomes more unpleasant, but the protocol remains empty.

The second consequence is that things can continue very differently. It is possible that nothing will happen for months. At some point, further investigative actions may be taken. ⇒ This uncertainty can be very stressful.

Often, the authority issues a summary penalty order without further clarification, either according to NarcA 19a or, more rarely, according to NarcA 19. Then, if necessary, one must file an objection and demand a reassessment in court.

Confess order for own consumption

“I wanted to set this seeds and, if something had come, consume the result.”

⇒ All acts in preparation for one's own consumption are contraventions. ⇒ NarcA 19a (fine, fees)

The more definitely the persons concerned testify that the intended use of the seeds (or of hash / weed) is their own consumption, the clearer it becomes that it is only a contravention.

The police can now further inquire how often the persons concerned consume. This quickly leads to a recorded frequency of use, which can bring the traffic office or other authorities onto the scene.

In general, do not confess to past consumption (remain silent or deny or lie) or admit as little as possible.

Give away or confess sale

“A few seeds were for me, the others I wanted to give to my colleagues.”

⇒ Passing on (including giving away) and sale anyway represent misdemeanor represent. ⇒ NarcA 19 (fine, fees, monetary penalty in daily rates, entry in criminal record).

As soon as the person concerned wants to give away a seed, he or she ends up at misdemeanor.

Passing on or “only” intentions to pass on should absolutely be kept secret.

Anyone who only admits to ordering the seeds, but states ornamental plants rather than consumption as the intended use, can also end up here. Especially in Bern, the public prosecutor's office will definitely stay at NarcA 19, if “for own consumption” is not explicitly mentioned: previously convicted for hemp seeds…

⇒ This overview as Image or PDF

The police interrogation

Subpoenaed persons should never underestimate a police interrogation. Criminal acts are involved: You have to be careful what you say. Since practically all of those involved were dealing with the police for the first time, they were inexperienced and could not imagine how it would go.

For the police, on the other hand, this is everyday life: questioning suspects, applying pressure, obtaining confessions. That's what they're trained and paid for. So professional meets non-professional. The imbalance is very great!

The protocol

The central result of a police interrogation is the protocol, if possible with confessions. Even if the police officers have nothing to say about the sentence (this is subsequently determined by the municipal magistrate's office, the governor's office or the public prosecutor or after an appeal by a court), their protocol is the decisive element for all further steps.

Deny or remain silent?

If there is no concrete evidence (as in the case of an addressed hemp seed envelope), denial can also be a good option. Lying for one's own protection is allowed (but please do not build a complex web of lies). The basic rule is: keep silent, refuse to testify (at least partially) if questions are asked about illegal actions. Otherwise you will only deliver yourself to the knife.

But both is easier said than done. There have been cases in which those affected went into the questioning convinced: “I won't say anything.” And came out stunned because they had both testified and agreed to a “voluntary” house search.

Or testify?

Most of those involved could not imagine refusing to testify altogether or simply denying ordering (and enduring the uncertainty about what would happen next).

When they did testify, the least serious thing was to admit that they had ordered the seeds and that they were intended for their own consumption in the future. They just wanted to try it once… In this way, one admits to an illegal act: the smallest possible, one contravention.

Partial testimony?

Most of them would not have had to answer the questions about previous consumption, but it is difficult to simply stop the statement that has been started here. Many of those affected then simply admitted to low consumption (for example, every few months at a party).

Of course, the interviewees can also simply confess their entire consumption life, for the fines it makes no difference in most areas: There is a standard fine for consumption or preparatory acts.

The road traffic office is informed

But the crux of the matter is that once a police report states that someone has admitted to using illegal drugs, these files are passed on to other offices. The traffic office receives the entire record of the incident. Consumption more than twice a week often gives rise to the suspicion of drug addiction, which must be clarified in a driving fitness check and can lead to enforced abstinence.

A misdemeanor is quickly reached

Some thought that they could improve the situation for themselves if they gave away a few of the hemp seeds they had ordered: “It's not just for me.” Affected people follow this “logic” again and again. The consequences, however, are fatal: With this confession, one catapults oneself from the level of contravention to misdemeanor, the higher level of criminality. This always leads to a criminal record entry, even if only a single hemp seed should have been given away.

Even those who confessed to ordering but did not admit to having ordered the seeds for personal use (to avoid falling into the clutches of the DMV as a drug user) were occasionally punished as fully criminal (level misdemeanor). There are actually prosecutors who then simply find: Import is basically a misdemeanor (NarcA 19), so there is a punishment for a misdemeanor, even if it is only about three hemp seeds.

NarcA 19a they only consider at most if the statement clearly includes “for own consumption”.

Before the interrogation

Anyone who is summoned has some time to deal with the situation. It is important to make use of this time. When arriving by motor vehicle, there is often a suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, which would be misdemeanor. This means that a blood sample can be taken at the hospital, and the limit can be exceeded very quickly. So leave the car at home. Occasionally the police want to take a look at the cell phone: best to leave it at home. Some police want to check the statements made immediately afterwards by means of a “voluntary” test. house search check: clean up at home beforehand or refuse steadfastly. Some police want another “voluntary” urine sample: this can be refused.

After the interrogation

Always read the protocol carefully and only sign it if it contains what the statement is supposed to be. The police protocol is the binding basis for the (after days to months delivered) summary penalty order. This necessarily fast and exactly control (whether NarcA 19a or 19). Now punished persons have 10 days to accept it or to raise an objection and to take the legal way. At this moment it is important to ask for inspection of files and to copy all documents. All offices will have these files (for years to come), only the accused person will not receive a copy by himself. Therefore, all affected persons should definitely obtain this information.

Eager police...

During the interrogations because of the hemp seed orders, there were the eager officers: meticulously everything was written down and they tried to push the persons concerned to confess (especially to passing on); the protocol was tightened in this sense; they wanted urine samples and at the end they wanted to have a look into the apartment (“voluntary” house search, which was carried out right after the interrogation for the purpose of “checking the statements” ). So the “interrogation” with all the trimmings lasted a good half day. In individual cases, special units also stormed apartments because of 15 hemp seeds and suspects were put in custody.

...and efficient police

In the course of the hemp seed prosecution, the main period of which extended over the entire first half of 2015, a different type of police appeared in the hemp seed cases, who told the persons concerned “off the record” that he was not interested in further details, that he simply wanted to close the case efficiently: He only needed a confession of ordering seeds for personal consumption, then it would be reported and that would be it. That is true: he has a confessed illegal act and that is enough to be able to issue a fine. In such cases, the questioning lasted another quarter of an hour. These police forces had realized that the hemp seed orders did not come from the mafia.

A penalty always follows

Whether an eager or an efficient police force was at work, a penalty followed in both cases (the penalty-free minor quantity was never considered).

This was followed by summary penalty orders (200 to 1,000 francs). In addition, there were some convictions for misdemeanor. Warnings were only issued in Basel-Stadt (300 francs).

On our website about the hemp seed prosecution we have documented the whole process: Notices by customs, projections from seeds to possible harvests with suspicion of trafficking, summonses by the police, reports from affected persons, summary penalty orders in different variants from many cantons. Read more in our dossier on hemp seed prosecution since 2015.

Silence / statements

The only meaningful addition to the basic silence is the following:

Statements that the cultivation, possession or importation of the found illegal hemp products is intended for own consumption (NarcA 19a). A transfer (NarcA 19) would then have to be proven by the authorities.

The interviewees should not confess to past consumption, i.e. deny it or refuse to testify. However, many find such behavior very difficult. Then they just admit to occasional use in the past.

But anyone who confesses to illegal acts, even if it is only consumption, confesses to multiple violations - confesses to many illegal acts that would otherwise hardly be provable.

Various documents around the police interrogation

Example of a recorded complete refusal to testify Example of a house search protocol
Protocol of a complete refusal to testify Protocol house search Bern

In Bern, in particular, there were repeated house searches that took place immediately after the questioning. An enormous effort that often led to nothing.

In Bern, there were many convictions for misdemeanor. Above all, the authorities there investigated from the beginning always with suspicion of a misdemeanor. So, by default, misdemeanor was the default setting for the referrals. Here is an example where this initial suspicion was changed by handwriting: from NarcA 19 to NarcA 19a, i.e. from misdemeanor to a contravention downgraded.

Example of an indicator app, with downgrading from misdemeanor to contravention
Scoreboard report Bern with downgrade misdemeanor=>contravention, page 1 Scoreboard report Bern with downgrade misdemeanor=>contravention, page 2
Example of a reasoned non-acceptance and referral order, with downgrading from misdemeanor to contravention
vergehen_zu_uebertretung_1.jpg vergehen_zu_uebertretung_2.jpg vergehen_zu_uebertretung_3.jpg

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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