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Justice minister rejects driving ban for criminals

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Justice minister rejects driving ban for criminals
09:04 CEST+02:00
Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has dismissed a plan by state counterparts to introduce driving bans for convicted criminals, media reported Wednesday.

State justice ministers have floated the idea of including suspensions of drivers’ licences as punishment alongside fines and prison sentences for people convicted of crimes, irrespective of whether the crime involved a car.

Daily Bild reported that the ministers wanted to discuss a driving ban of up to two years at a meeting in Hamburg on Thursday.

But Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told the paper on Wednesday that such a system would be difficult to enforce and an inconsistent way of meting out punishment.

“It may become very expensive and complicated, in every individual case, to control whether a driving ban is being adhered to,” she said.

She also pointed out that it could affect job prospects for people who had a conviction.

“People who rely on their cars for work would have to fear for their job. They would be affected more severely than someone on a higher income who can afford a taxi,” she said.

Under present laws, a ban on driving can only be imposed as an additional punishment, when a car was involved in the crime, such as being used as a getaway car.

But the states, led by Lower Saxony Justice Minister Bernd Busemann, want to make the licence suspension available to courts as a punishment irrespective of whether a car was involved in the crime.

Bavarian Justice Minister Beate Merk told Bild: “There are criminals, who are barely influenced by fines or custodial sentences. A driving ban is often more effective there.”

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