Supervision and Detection
There is a distinction between penal repressive control and administrative supervision.
The police can be charged with both the criminal enforcement of the rule of law and the maintenance of public order. In the case of the Road Traffic Act, the police are charged with both supervising compliance with the provisions of the Act and investigating the offences made punishable by the Act. This means that they have powers of investigation with regard to the question of whether persons have got behind the wheel with too much alcohol. In addition, they have also been granted investigative powers under the Road Traffic Act.
For example, the police may order a breath analysis (or blood test) if they suspect that you are driving a vehicle with an excessive alcohol level. They are not allowed to pick you up without any reason and take you to the station for a breath alcohol test. However, the police are permitted to carry out a preliminary breathalyser test on any vehicle in respect of which they wish to carry out a test. They may also take the driver to another location for this purpose. You must cooperate with this (160 paragraph 4 of the Dutch Road Traffic Act). And if the preliminary test shows that you have drunk too much, then there is a suspicion and a full alcohol test may be ordered.
It is therefore important to check in retrospect whether the correct power was used and whether it was used lawfully. If this is not the case then the investigation may not be used as evidence and this could lead to an acquittal.
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