Man penalized for farting at police in Vienna

This document is the Austrian equivalent of the German Strafbefehl. It is part of the Austrian Mandatsverfahren (German Strafbefehlsverfahren).

Mandatsverfahren: Muhr/Peinhopf Wörterbuch rechtsterminologischer Unterschiede Österreich-Deutschland offer the translation mandating procedure.

That is a weird translation.

The story came to my attention because it was widely reported, originally in Österreich, then in Der Standard, in a joky way, and thereafter in the New York Times and The Guardian.

Sie haben den öffentlichen Anstand verletzt, indem Sie vor Polizeibeamten laut einen Darmwind haben entweichen lassen.

You offended public decency by loudly breaking wind in the presence of police officers.

The newspaper articles are classic examples of wordplay. Wikpedia too has articles on Blähung and Flatulence, and on Blowing a raspberry – apparently the latter went into US usage despite their lack of rhyming slang.

Der Standard:

Ein Wiener muss für einen “lauten Darmwind” vor einem Polizisten 500 Euro Strafe zahlen. Wie die Tageszeitung “Österreich” online berichtet, soll sich der Vorfall in der Nacht des 5. Juni in Wien-Josefstadt zugetragen haben. Die Polizei sprach auf Twitter von “voller Absicht”. “Und anfurzen lassen sich die Kollegen dann doch eher ungern.”

The Guardian:

A man in Vienna has been fined €500 (£447) for breaking wind loudly in front of police in a move the Austrian capital’s police force was at pains to defend.

The Österreich newspaper reported that the penalty stemmed from an incident on 5 June and that the offender was fined for offending public decency.

City police wrote on Twitter that “of course no one is reported for accidentally letting one go”.

It seems there have been earlier cases, sometimes with a fine of 50 euros. In this case, the fart was only one part of wider conduct, and is described as fully intentional. (ORF) The man can appeal, but would probably be safer not to.

3 thoughts on “Man penalized for farting at police in Vienna

  1. No, it isn’t my name blanked out in the Strafverfügung – Mandatsverfahren being more like a summary, non-arrestable fining-only offence process – AmE: a non-indictable misdemeanor procedure > § 491 Austrian Criminal Code / StrafGB.

    What neither the Austrian, nor the UK reporting makes clear is that what, as in English law constitutes a nuisance on Belgrave Square / in upmarket, so up-the-fine Josefstadt around the Volksoper, might not necessarily be one at Bermondsey Street Market / Favoriten Flea Market where ‘es gibt keine geschriebenen Gesetze, weil niemand dort lesen kann’ – there are no written laws, as no one there in the 10th District can read..

  2. Hi Adrian,
    I thought you might feel this impinged on your territory. I write as someone who has not publicly urinated in either district.
    The Mandatsverfahren sounds just like German Strafbefehlsverfahren, which I must have written about before.

  3. The power of habit… I read “den Abstand” verletzt and thought he didn’t keep 2 meters’ distance. Perhaps that would have been a tad cheaper.

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