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Defendants (criminal proceedings)

Netherlands

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Netherlands

The most common road traffic offences are disposed of by means of an administrative procedure. For drunk driving and exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h, however, you must appear in court and your driving licence may be taken from you and withdrawn. You can be disqualified from driving in the Netherlands. In exceptional cases the Dutch Driving Test Organisation may decide to invalidate your driving licence.

If your driving licence is withdrawn, you should contact a lawyer in your own country to find out what the consequences are in that country.

Drunk driving

The level of alcohol in your breath is established using a breath test or a blood test. You may not refuse such a test, if you do you will be liable to punishment and your driving licence may be withdrawn.

If the level of alcohol in your breath is between 221 and 571 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, you can be fined. If you do not pay the fine, you will receive a summons to appear before the police court.

If the alcohol content of your breath is 571 or more micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, you will have to appear before the police court. In most cases the judge will fine you and impose a driving probationary period or disqualify you from driving in the Netherlands.

If the level of alcohol in your breath is higher than 651 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath, the police can take your driving licence from you. The public prosecutor will decide within ten days whether your driving licence will be kept for a longer period. You can appeal to the district court against this decision. Your appeal will usually be dealt with within two months. You cannot appeal against the district court’s decision.

The rules governing the proceedings before the police court and legal representation by a lawyer are the same as those set out in Factsheet 1, Factsheet 3 and Factsheet 4.

Different rules apply if you have held your driving licence for less than five years. In that case the level of alcohol in your breath may not be higher than 88 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. You will have to appear before the police court if the level of alcohol in your breath is higher than 351 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath and the public prosecutor may keep your driving licence if the level is more than 571 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 km/h

If you exceed the speed limit by 50 km/h or more while driving a car or by 30 km/h or more while riding a moped and you are stopped by the police, your driving licence will be taken from you. If you exceeded the speed limit by 70 km/h while driving a car or if there is a risk you will do it again, the public prosecutor can decide within ten days to keep your driving licence for a longer period.

You can appeal to the district court against the decision to withdraw your driving licence. You cannot appeal against the district court’s decision.

You will receive a summons to appear before the subdistrict judge. In addition to imposing a fine, the judge can also disqualify you from driving for a specified period. You can appeal against this judgment to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court (see Factsheet 4).

You are not normally entitled to free legal aid in these proceedings.

How are other minor offences dealt with?

Other minor traffic offences are subject to an administrative sanction, in other words: a fine.

If you disagree with a fine, you can appeal to the public prosecutor for the area where you committed the offence. You can appeal against his decision to the subdistrict judge.

If the fine is more than €70, you can appeal against the subdistrict court’s decision to Leeuwarden Court of Appeal.

You are not normally entitled to free legal aid in these proceedings.

Will these minor offences go on my criminal record?

Convictions by the courts will go on your criminal record, administrative sanctions will not. These are recorded in the police systems, however.

Related links

Code of Criminal Procedure

Criminal Code

Mulder Act

Road Traffic Act 1994

Road Traffic Act - reference points for sentencing (p. 7 and ff.)

Instructions pursuant to the Traffic Regulations Act (Administrative Enforcement)

Instructions for demanding surrender of driving licence

Information about drunk driving

Last update: 25/04/2016

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