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What to do when your drivers license gets seized

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If you’re a foreign driver in the Netherlands, it is an extremely dreadful and confusing experience when your drivers license gets seized for whatever reason. This blog will provide you with some clarity about when your drivers license can be confiscated, what procedure follows when that happens and how you can best attempt to get your license back.

What to do when your drivers license gets seized

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When can your drivers license be seized?

There are several situations in which the police may decide to suspend your drivers license. If one of these situations occurs, it is irrelevant if the drivers license is Dutch or foreign. The legal basis for this drastic measure can be found in the Dutch Road Traffic Act.

Being under the influence of alcohol while driving is the first violation which can result in the seizure of a drivers license. The amount of alcohol in the blood for which this can happen depends on the amount of experience of the driver. Driving under the influence of drugs or medicine that have an impact on your ability to safely drive can result in the revocation of your license as well. If you refuse to be tested the police may also decide to seize your license. Next to the seizure, you might be obligated to follow a course about alcohol and traffic too.

Speeding can also result in the police taking your drivers license, but only if you exceed the speed limit by at least 50 kilometres per hour by car, or 30 kilometres per hour by moped. The police will have to prove this violation with speed measurements.

In addition to that, a licence may be taken when the driver is driving in such a way that he or she seriously endangers others while driving or when the police thinks that the driver is not physically or mentally able to safely drive.

In all of these cases it is the police who is competent to take your license, but this can also be done by the Central Judicial Collection Agency (Centraal Justitieel Incassobureau) when someone does not pay traffic fines for example.

Do you suspect that your license has been revoked unlawfully? A Dutch lawyer can assist you in your situation and can help guide you through the procedure that follows.

The procedure after the seizure

The first condition for seizure of a drivers license is that the person in question has to be stopped by the police. When that happens, you immediately can’t drive anymore, so someone else will have to drive or pick you up.

The police will then make a police report, which it sends to the public prosecutor (Officier van Justitie). Thereafter the prosecutor has 10 days to decide if you get your license back. If this term is exceeded, he or she is required to return the drivers license. If you really need your drivers license for work, you can request the prosecutor to give it back.

If, after this request, your drivers license is not returned by the prosecutor, you can request for it to be returned again, but this time in a formal complaint. In this document you clearly motivate why you think your license should be returned. Convincing reasons might be that certain procedures were not correctly followed by government officials. The complaint may also succeed if you convincingly explain why you need your for your profession for example. There are certain formal requirements to this complaint, so it is wise to ask a lawyer for consultation. The complaint eventually needs to be sent to the court.

Next, the court will invite you for to a legal proceeding in which it will decide about your complaint. At this procedure, where the prosecutor is also present, you can further motivate the reasons for why you think your license should be returned to you. The judge will also ask you questions about the situation. In most cases, the judge will decide if, and how long you will lose your license immediately. The length of the confiscation depends on the traffic violation. The decision of the judge is a provisional decision; the decision in the criminal case may be different. Having a lawyer during the court proceedings is absolutely essential. This will significantly increase the chances at getting your license back.

If you don’t agree with the decision of the court, it is possible to appeal to the High Court (Hoge Raad) within 14 days. The High Court will then look if the law has been applied correctly.

How can you try to get your license back?

As stated above, there are two separate moments at which you can ask for the return of the drivers license. It is important to motivate both of these request in as much detail as possible. A lawyer specialised in traffic law knows how to do this best. He or she can aid you in formulating your arguments and writing the formal complaint.

When it comes to an actual legal proceeding, it is essential to be well prepared. A lawyer can guide you through this process as well. This person will also know how to convince a judge of your arguments.

Possible consequences if you drive while your drivers license is seized

It might be tempting to continue driving, even though your license has been revoked. This would not be a smart thing to do, as the consequences of this may be drastic. People that drive while their license is seized risk a fine of 3.800 euros and even a prison sentence of up to 3 months.

How advocaatzoeken.nl can help

When your drivers license is seized, it is in your best interest to get help from a lawyer as soon as possible. Advocaatzoeken.nl can match you with a specialised lawyer that fits your location and situation. If you have any further questions we are happy to assist you as well.

Get in touch and we will provide you with a traffic law lawyer within 4 hours, completely free of charge.

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