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Is it legal for a business owner to to shred a government issued ID card such as a driver's license that has been forgotten and left in their establishment? If so, is there a minimum time they should hold onto it before shredding? Or are they required to turn them in to the police or another agency such as the post office?

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    Please add a tag for the jurisdiction.
    – Barmar
    Mar 4 at 22:12

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Is it legal for a business owner to to shred a government issued ID card such as a driver's license that has been forgotten and left in their establishment?

No, since it is not their property.

They would be required to return the property to the owner (if possible with reasonable effort) or give the property over to a competent authority

  • lost and found office
  • police
  • authority that issued the document

otherwise can be charged with Misappropriation §246 (1) StGB.


§965 - Duty of the finder to notify BGB

  • (1) A person who finds a lost thing and takes possession of it is to notify, without undue delay, the loser or the owner or some other rightful recipient.
  • (2) If the finder does not know the rightful recipient or does not know their whereabouts, the finder is to notify, without undue delay, the competent authority of the finding and the circumstances that may be material to determine the rightful recipient. If the thing is not worth more than 10 euros, no notification is required.

§246 Misappropriation StGB

  • (1) Whoever unlawfully appropriates movable property belonging to another for themselves or a third party incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine, unless the offence is subject to a more severe penalty under other provisions.
  • (2) If, in the cases under subsection (1), the property was entrusted to the offender, the penalty is imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.
  • (3) The attempt is punishable.

Sources:

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  • Not just a question of property, but also of value. The card can be presumed to be worth more than €10.
    – o.m.
    Mar 5 at 5:15
  • @o.m. Property fits better to §246(1) than value. Mar 5 at 7:09
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    Since in Germany, a drivers license isn't really an "ID card", as you cannot identify yourself using it, if it happens to be a "Personal-Ausweis", destroying it would be §303 Sachbeschädigung. It is owned by the government (§4.2 PAuswG). Link to a case: saechsische.de/ausweis-zerstoert-geldstrafe-3986892.html
    – nvoigt
    Mar 5 at 8:04

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