Constitutional Complaint Against Photo Shooting for Speed Traps

Has it ever happened to you that accidently - of course - drove a bit more than allowed? Well, you are not the only one! Some traffic offenders were caught and their lawyer applied in court the novel notion that taking pictures of drivers without their consent may not be used in court as evidence. The Federal Constitutional Court took a position on this in its judgment of July 5, 2010 (re 2 BvR 759/10).


This is the story of Danny. He was convicted of negligently overriding the permitted maximum speed outside of town and a fine. His conviction in the Amtsgericht (lowest court) was based on

  • the result of an officially calibrated speedometer,
  • as well as pictures taken during the measuring of his speed, which do show Danny.

The highest court dismissed Danny's appeal as being without grounds. Then, having went through all instances in court, Danny complained to BVerfG about a violation of his constitutional his general right of privacy art. 2 I i.c.w. art. 1 I GG. The Federal Constitutional Court also dismissed the case.

The court held that the constitutional complaint has no principal meaning and no rights of Danny's were violated. §100h I cl. 1 no. 1 StPO is compliant with the constitutional right of personal privacy. The law allows taking pictures without knowledge of the concerned person when investigating the facts of the case will otherwise be less promising or more troublesome. Also existing precedences of relevant courts do not point to a violation. Such picture shooting does constitute an infliction in one's right of personal privacy (in the nature of the right of informational self-determination). However, the reason, the security of traffic, justifies such. As long as this is not an exhaustive data collection and clearly visible to the public, you will have to live with it.

This police instrument does not aim at just anybody but only such drivers who give reason to have their picture taken because they are suspected of a traffic offence. §100h StPO sufficiently protects constitutional rights consensual informing and data protection.

Considering the intended protection of the public against hazardous dangers to life and limb no constitutional concerns are found against the reasonability of such measures.


Darn it! Now I do have to take due care to prevent them from taking mug shots of me.


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