Man charged 34,000 Euros for driving without a license in Zurich

The Local Austria
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Man charged 34,000 Euros for driving without a license in Zurich
Photo: Kecko/Wikimedia

While working in Zurich, Bregenz native Marcel E. was pulled over and charged a hefty fee amounting to upwards of 34,000 Euros thanks to an invalid licence.


Due to the fact that Austrian driver's licenses are no longer regarded as legitimate after 12 months living within Switzerland, it is the responsibility of drivers from abroad to re-register their status upon entering the Swiss Confederacy.

In the case of Marcel E., he was first charged a penalty of 17,120 Swiss Francs and had until November 2016 to pay up. 

On a trip he took to a neighboring country in July, the young Austrian electrician already suffered consequences for not having paid the full amount by being detained for five hours.

At the end of December, he wanted to fly from Zurich to London, but was taken to the commissioner's office while going through passport control. Because the fine had still not entirely been paid, he was slapped with another penalty of 18,600 Swiss Francs that was due immediately lest he be locked up for a period of six months. 

According to the report from news daily Heute, the 25-year old has now decided to hire a lawyer to handle the seemingly extortionate case. "To be charged 34,000 Euros is beyond all good and evil. I may be working, but I'm no millionaire." 

Switzerland introduced in 2015 a draconian new driving law, known as Via secura, which significantly increased penalties for speeding and driving unlicensed.  The controversial law has seen a Swiss man jailed for 18 months and fined 4,000 CHF, plus two year's loss of license, for driving at 149 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.

New measures introduced in 2016 and 2017 include stricter tests for older drivers, compulsory driving courses, "black box" driving recorders and breath-test starting inhibitors for repeat offenders.


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