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Sneak preview: Switzerland’s new ‘on-the-spot’ fines for 2020

From January 2020, a whole range of minor offences will no longer result in criminal proceedings in Switzerland.

Sneak preview: Switzerland's new 'on-the-spot' fines for 2020
File photo: Kantonspolizei Zürich

Under the regulations that come into force at the start of next year, people who are caught committing a minor infraction listed in the new rules can pay an on-the-spot fine without police even needing to note down their personal details. 

Alternately, people can choose to pay within a 30-day period. In those cases, police will take their personal details and provide them with a payment slip. If the payment is made on time, the police record of the offence will then be destroyed. 

Read also: Driver fined for failing to go on green light

This system of replacing criminal notices with simple fines has the advantage of not leaving a paper or data trail. It means no criminal record for people caught offending.

It also ends up cheaper for both the authorities and offenders, Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger reports. 

The system has actually been in place for a range of minor traffic and drug offences since 2016.

But a new regulation announced by the Swiss government on Wednesday details the exact fines to be levied for the first time while extending the current arrangements to include infractions outlined in 16 separate Swiss laws.

Over 420 offences, mostly traffic-related, appear on the list. The maximum fine is 300 Swiss francs, while the minimum is just 10 francs. 

Here are some of the fines listed in the new regulations:

1) Unauthorised, intentional consumption of non-legal cannabis: 100 francs.  

2) Carrying a loaded weapon (that is, not separating a weapon and ammunition when transporting a firearm in cases where no permit is required to do so – for example, when moving house): 300 francs. 

3) Using a mobile phone will riding a bicycle: 40 francs. 

4) Making use of a recycling depot outside of opening hours: 50 francs. 

5) Failure to carry your driving licence with you: 20 francs 

7) Crossing a street near a pedestrian crossing: 10 francs 

8) Stopping on a motorway or road because you have run out of petrol: 120 francs 

Read also: Zurich is the 'fines capital' of Switzerland for 2019

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REMINDER: What are the fines for breaking shutdown rules in Switzerland?

From failing to wear a mask or taking part in an illegal protest, here's how much you'll be fined for breaching coronavirus measures in Switzerland.

REMINDER: What are the fines for breaking shutdown rules in Switzerland?
Mask requirement is one of many in effect in Switzerland. Photo by AFP

PLEASE NOTE: The fines have since been partially relaxed. Please click here for more information. 

The rules went into effect on January 18th in an effort to rein in the spread of coronavirus infections, including those with the mutated strains, which have been on the increase in recent weeks.

These measures include the closure of bars, restaurants, and all non-essential businesses. Also, there is a limit of up to five people for public and private meetings, along with the working from home order whenever possible.

“Anyone contravening the measures to fight the epidemic will be committing an offence; persons who fail to comply with the rules may be fined between 50 and 200 francs, depending on the offence”, the government said. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are the details of Switzerland’s coronavirus restrictions? 

So what are the penalties for violating the above rules?

  • Organising a private event attended by more than five people: 200 francs
  • Gathering of more than five people in public space: 50 francs
  • Participating in an illegally organised event: 100 francs
  • Not wearing a mask on public transportation or in an airport: 100 francs
  • Not wearing a mask at public demonstration: 100 francs
  • Standing up while consuming in a bar or restaurant: 100 francs
  • Not complying with a quarantine requirement: up to 10,000 francs

Hundreds of fines have already been handed out for breaking Covid-19 rules.

For example, the police in the canton of Zurich imposed around 100 fines in the first week of February alone. Vaud handed 106 fines, while in Geneva, Valais and Thurgau, between 30 and 40 fines were issued in the first days of February.

Most fines have been imposed for exceeding the limit of five people for both public and private gatherings, cantonal police departments report.

READ MORE: Here’s how much you’ll be fined for breaching Switzerland’s coronavirus measures