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Narcotics criminal law

Criminal drug law is regulated in the Narcotics Act (BtMG). Among other things, the possession, sale and trafficking of narcotics is punishable.

Narcotics within the meaning of the BtMG are only those substances that are included in Annexes I to III of the BtMG. Other substances may fall under the New Psychoactive Substances Act (NpSG) or the Medicines Act (AMG). Criminal liability can also arise here.

From April 1, 2024, the possession and consumption of cannabis will be partially legalized. Possession of up to 25 grams of dried cannabis outside of your own home is permitted. You are allowed to possess 50 grams of dried cannabis within the apartment. For more information on this see myBlog.

What is important in drug criminal law is the non-small quantity and the small quantity.


There is onesmall amount before, the proceedings can be discontinued by the public prosecutor's office if there is only personal use. For cocaine, the small amount is 0.3 grams of cocaine preparation.

There is one“normal amount” before, i.e. neither a small nor a not small amount, then the penalty ranges from fine to five years in prison.

At thenot a small amount The minimum prison sentence is one year. This is a crime. The amount, which is not small, is determined by the active ingredient content. In the case of cocaine, there is usually a significant amount of around 5 grams of active ingredient, which corresponds to around 10 grams of cocaine.

If you are accused of committing a drug offense, please contact us immediately and do not provide any information about the matter without legal advice.

In the case of drug offenses, particular attention must be paid to the professional effects, the consequences on your driving license and, if necessary, the consequences for the residence permit.

More information is available here:

Possession of narcotics

Besitz von Betäubungmitteln

Possession of narcotics is understood to mean that one has the actual power of disposal over the narcotics. There must also be an awareness of possession and the will to possess. Mere possession of narcotics is assumed if the investigating authorities cannot provide evidence of the acts of possession (acquisition, obtaining). It is therefore important to make use of the right to remain silent, as it is often not possible to prove possession.

For a "normal quantity" of narcotics, the standard penalty ranges from a fine to five years' imprisonment.

Dealing in narcotics

Handeltreiben mit Betäubungmittel

Any activity aimed at the sale of narcotics constitutes trafficking in narcotics. This includes any self-serving activity aimed at facilitating or promoting the sale of narcotics. Due to the broad scope of the term, the courts often assume that the act is trafficking. It must always be examined whether there is actually trafficking or merely a preparatory act. It must also be examined whether there is actually a perpetration or merely participation.

The penalties range from a fine to five years' imprisonment (Section 29 I BtMG). The minimum prison sentence is increased if the case is particularly serious or if, for example, a gang is involved in trafficking not in small quantities.

The "leniency program" - § 31 BtMG

Die Kronzegenregelug des § 31 BtMG

§ 31 BtMG is also known as the Judas paragraph. The court can apply § 31 BtMG if the "key witness" has made a significant contribution to the discovery of an offense under §§ 29-30a BtMG that is related to his offense by voluntarily disclosing his knowledge (No. 1) or discloses knowledge in good time so that certain serious BtMG offenses can be prevented.

§ 31 BtMG must always be applied before the main hearing. It is up to the court to decide whether to apply § 31 BtMG and mitigate the sentence. Furthermore, the disclosure must be a significant contribution. It should therefore be carefully considered whether to "do § 31" in order to reveal any dangerous backers.

Therapy instead of punishment § 35 BtMG

Therapie statt Strafe

It is possible to work towards therapy instead of a sentence. This is only possible if the convicted person is addicted to narcotics. The offense must have been committed due to the addiction and the sentence imposed may not exceed two years. Therapy instead of punishment is also possible if a sentence of more than two years has been imposed, but the remaining sentence (i.e. the sentence already served) does not exceed two years.

Even in preliminary proceedings, it is possible to work towards "therapy instead of punishment" in accordance with § 37 BtMG, so that no charges are brought.

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