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The differing costs of public order offences in Europe

Brits travelling to Europe should be mindful of local law ‘when in Rome’ this summer to avoid the toughest penalties in Europe for public order offences, which can reach up to £8,850. Those en route to Paris for Euro 2016 can be less worried, as the French capital’s common fines come in at just under £300.

Reykjavik certainly won’t max out the credit card as it is named the most lenient city for penalty fines, penalizing only for smoking in a restricted area and urinating in public, totalling £54. The study, from money-saving website and travel comparison website GoEuro, analysed monetary penalties across 18 European cities for offences including drinking alcohol in the street, smoking in a restricted area, being drunk and disorderly, taking public transport without a ticket and urinating in public.

Urinating in public is something Rome takes very seriously with a maximum fine of £7,746; 109% more expensive than the fines for the same act in all the other cities put together (£3,701). Despite such a huge disparity in price, most cities do appear to view urinating in public as the misconduct deserving of the biggest punishment, often with fines a considerable amount more than if caught being drunk and disorderly, although that kind of behaviour might get you some jail time instead.

Reykjavik is also the only city that doesn’t charge a fine for travelling without a ticket on public transport, although if caught, passengers would be asked to leave the vehicle. This is quite different from London where fines could reach up to £1,000 – 385% more expensive than the fine in Lisbon, which is the next highest fine for the same act (£206).

Berlin is most lenient if you get caught short in a public place with a fine of just £16, as well as being one of the most lenient overall with fines totalling £141, just ahead of Helsinki at £109. Seven of the 18 cities in Europe allow people to drink alcohol in the street, and four will just give you a warning for smoking in a restricted area – Copenhagen permits both. Dublin is the place not to get caught smoking somewhere you shouldn’t with a fine of £2,324, the city’s biggest fine which puts it in second place for the most expensive place to misbehave.

Shane Forster, Voucherbox UK County Manager stated, “This study reveals a huge disparity in penalties across Europe. With European cities a popular destination this year for football and festivals, It’s good to make sure you’re aware of the rules beforehand so you don’t get any unexpected surprises – some of which may be more expensive than the cost of your whole trip. Of course the best way to guarantee you don’t slip up is to avoid these acts in the first place.”

Infographic, European fines

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