[ 30. May 2007 ]

Legal information

About demonstrations, ID-check, arrest, detention, repulsion, deportation, expulsion, ban from staying, drugs, squating in Austria.



Things You Should Bring: Number of legal support (0043) 0676-77 46 657 (e.g. on your arm) a valid travelling document.
Things You Should Better Leave At Home: Adress - and notebooks, calenders, photos and suchlike. Weapons (even teargas and pepperspray - both legal in Austria, but not within a demonstration), drugs. Since a few years it is forbidden to be masked during a demonstration.

Behaviour during the Demonstration: Come together with people you know well and you can rely on in case of emergency. Stay together and leave the demonstration together. In the case of loosing each other, arrange a time and place to meet after the demonstration, where everybody gets in touch relyable. That way you can check if someone is missing. It's important that the flow of information inside the demonstration functions. This means that information about people being arrested or injured and similar reach everyone in the demonstration. ( e.g. through loudspeakervan). Be careful that no roumors go around. A demonstration is no party, the police is present. They may influence your reactions and perceptive faculties. That endangers yourself and others.

After the Demonstration: Even after the demonstration the police tries to arrest single persons, to avoid that: leave in groups.

In Case of Injuries: Never leave injured persons on their own. Surround them and, if the injury allows it, isolate them. Inform the first aid attendant. In case of ambulance transport, insist on having a person of confidence on board, (e.g. to call the legal support). Ask for a medical certificate reporting your condition. Attention: the hospital has to report all injuries caused by others to the police. If you explain that police has beaten you, this will produce a report against the police.

The result normally is a counter-report against you. It is better to
declaire in hospital "Fremdverschulden unbekannt" - "the injury was
caused by somebody unknown". In general it is better to mention only the things important for a diagnosis. After talking to a lawyer or the legal support it is still possible to file a report / complaint against the police (e.g. UVS-Beschwerde, or private complaint). If you got in detention: go by Taxi or ambulance directly to hospital, and ask for confirmation about your injuries a bill and confirmation about the way and time of transport. Take photos of the injuries.


Officers are obliged to tell you the reason of their official duty and in consequence tell their official duty number. If you are no austrian citizens, you are always obliged to carry a valid travelling document which fies you. And be able to proof your ability to pay your costs of living. (if you are austrian citizen you have to show a identity card with a photo. Or a friend witnesses your identity by showing her/his. You are not obliged to wear an identiy card, but otherwise police can take you to the office to check your personality there.) At personal check in the street one has to report the registered home address. Ask the officer for the reasons of being stopped and for the officer registration number! If someone checked all pockets must be emptied. Tell people near you who seem to sympathize your name, in case that you are taken into custody friends can be informed about what happened to you. Dont forget: In Austria you are only legal obliged to make statements on your person, which means name, date of birth, adress and show a valid travelling document (if you are under 18 you have to tell them the names of your parents)


Keep calm. Try to tell others who you are:
- Name
- Date of birth
- Adress (citizenship)
- Try to remember details of your arrest.
You can try to ask for the reason of the arrest and ask for the officialduty number of the policeofficers.

DO NOT TESTIFY! In Austria you are only legal obliged to make statements on your person, which means name, date of birth, adress and show a valid travelling document (if you are under 18 you have to tell them the names of your parents). Even the lawyers chamber recommends to say no more. In the past police phoned people privatly or on their mobile phones: ......: hang up immediately! Questionings have to be announced in forms of registered letters. In police custody and detention, you will probably have an ID-check which means your fingerprints and photos are taken. DNA taking is seldom known in relation with demonstrations. The ID-check can be forced by compulsion.
It is up to you how cooperative you are .............


- Don't sign anything! (You don`t have to)
- Refuse any testifies, you are always on the safer side, by doing this.
- Ask for telephone call (you have the right to have two "successful" calls - and everything else you may need).
- Ask for a person of your confidence who later calls the legal support or call the legal support on your own.
You have the right to be questioned in a language you understand (translation of spoken and written words). At any interrogation by police you should only mention your personal details and say nothing else than "I have got the right to refuse any statement! And I will use it!" You have the right to refuse a statement in any situation by police! You should use it, because it is safer for you and others, and it is the best way to give no information to the police. You don't say: "I don`t know this or that." What appears minor to you might be punishable by austrian law. Everything you say can and will be used against you. Testifies are used as the most important evidence in case of trial. Be careful of various strategies of different types of police, e.g. promises, threats or cross-examinations (more than one officer likes to talk to you at the same time). Don`t react on promises like "If you say or sign this you will be released." It is simply not true. Even putative clear evidence should not lead to any testify from you. Only using testifies police can construct a written indictment! Even if they show you fotos, films or other "evidence", don't say anything: Many times it is difficult for police to suceed in case of trial. To silence must not be a disadvantage for you in case of trial.


Fear is a normal reaction, you don't have to be ashamed of it.
Don't let fear get you down!

Remember: this will pass by. A public prosecuter will decide if it's worth accusing you and a judge will declare your case worth starting a trial. IF it comes to a trial AT ALL depends on the public persecutor who has to ask for legal proceedings. Therefore it makes no sense at all to talk to the police(wo)men. At the end of the questioning you get the record saying ".... denies statement". You don't have to sign it. Smalltalk with the police in the hallways or anywhere else won't be mentioned in the record, but may appear again as a memorandum in the case, or later be used, as e.g. a personal official perceptive, as part of the indictment against you. It will be better to think of an defense together with your lawyer and companeras, without pressure.

Even if you are sure the things you are accused of, have nothing to do with you,: - Don't say anthing - It may incriminate others.

Phonecall to the Legal Support:
1. Who and where are you
2. Are there other people arrested? Names?
3. Is there anyone we should inform?

If your are released, inform the legal support and leave your report there.

Accusations/Indictments/Files: In general you can be accused because of an administrative misdemeanour or an criminal offense. An administrative misdemeanour, e.g. "unauthorized entry" to Austria, can be ordered by any police officers. It is normally charged by a fine of some hundred euros (but it can lead to detention). You can appeal against it!!!
What will lead to a trial, but in case of getting "expulsion" or "ban from staying", an ("Ausweisungsbescheid" or "Aufenthaltsverbot") for the most people it has no suspensive effects on a deportation.

Being charged because of a criminal offence is also a reason do be deported.

Duration of detention Arrest by Police may last: Maximum 24 hours, if you are suspected of an administrative misdemeanour. (e.g. arrest because of not allowed stay). Maximum 48 hours, if you are suspected of a criminal offence (e.g. property damage). Additional another 24 hours in problems of non-local-courts, or longer by detention pending investigation. Detention pending deportation should not last more than 2 months but can be expanded up to six months if there are reasons for not deport you. Normally you have to be released after 48 hours or brought to the investigation judge (in case of weekend: brought to the judge on duty), who decides if you will be detained longer. Even at the investigation judge, or judge of duty: no statement without your lawyer!!!!

If You are Released: Report at the legal support and/or your lawyer. Record of Your Memories on the Police Attack and type down your memories as soon, as possible, because you may forget important details quickly. Bring it to the legal support. The records of your memories on police attacks are for eventual witness in the court. For this, do not put them in the internet or send them by e-mail. Content: a short report about your arrest, how and where and what led to your arrest, and details about the situation of your arrest. Details about conversations you heard, clothes, place/location, time, photographers, witnesses, police troups, officialduty numbers of the officiers.


If you are suspected to try to enter Austria illegally, or if you are suspected to be against the interests of public order you can be repulsed at the border. The repulsion can be forced by police violence.


Deportation is used to execute expulsion or a ban from staying. If departure doesn't happen "on time", or if the possibility of not departure exists, deportation can be forced. A deportation without travelling documents is not possible. In that case the responsible embassy is asked for a "Heimreisezertrifikat" (homeward journey certrificate), to make deportation possible.


Expulsion is a decision made by the immigration department, where a person is asked to leave a federal territority immediately or within a certain time. If the person does not follow that order it's an administrative misdemeanour and therefore a reason to be put in detention pending deportation. In 2000 8.983 human beings got an expulsion decision. Foreigners can be expelled, if they are not legally within the territory. They "can be" expelled, they don't have to, the decision is made by the foreigners office.

Reasons for being expelled within the first month:
* catched in the act of an international crime
* a reliable hint of guilt of a crime (without conviction)
* not able to earn his/her living
* watched at illegalized working
* entered by passing border checks


A ban of staying doesn't only mean that you have to leave the country, furthermore you are not allowed to re-enter or stay (for a period or forever). The decision has to be made by the foreigner's office, regarding the right of privacy and family life.

The duration is valueable between 5 to 10 years, or forever. You can appeal within two weeks. This has suspensive effects, unless there is danger ahead and the immediate departure is in public interest.

Reasons for a ban of staying (residence prohibition):
- disturbance of public silance, order, saftey
- endangering public interests
- Criminal conviction to prison of more than three month (suspended sentences of more than six month) e.g. for serious bodily injury or
- at least two conviction for the same or similar crimes repeated
penatlties for the violation of certain administrative regulations, e.g. traffic ordinance, also of the violations of the law on Aliens (e.g. illegal residance).
- sentenced for a financial offence
- accused of being a pimp
- schlepperei (trafficing in migrants)
- not able to earn the costs of living


The posession of marijuhana in even small amounts is illegal in Austria. The consumption of marijuhana is not.


Squatting of empty buildings is not illegal in Austria. The owner of a squatted building has the right to beg you to leave the building. If you don't do so, the police is allowed to end the squatting and arrest you. The police is not allowed to enter a private building without the agreement of the owner. So, if they can't find him/her they can't do anything. Dont forget, just the squatting of a house is not illegal, the damage of private property (e.g. if you break a door or window to enter an empty house) is.

Rechtshilfe/Legal Support Team