Germany Classification of crimes
Criminal offenses can be categorized as Verbrechen, crimes or felonies, and Vergehen, misdemeanors.
A Verbrechen is an act which is punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 1 year.
A Vergehen is punishable by a sentence of less than one year or a fine.
Verbrechen comprise serious crimes involving severe injury or extensive property damage or loss (for instance, homicide, rape, robbery, arson) while Vergehen are offenses such as simple assault, theft, vandalism.
Less serious offenses are classified as Ordnungswidrigkeiten, regulatory or administrative offenses.
Ordnungswidrigkeiten include disturbing the peace, illegal practice of prostitution, illegal assembly, possession of materials to make and distribute forged documents or money.
Courts in Germany that deal with criminal matters are the local court (Amtsgerichte), competent in all criminal matters (Vergehen); and regional courts (Landgerichte), for more serious matters (Verbrechen).
Both Amtsgerichte and Landgerichte are courts of first instance.
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