What can I do if I disagree with the results of a breath analysis or blood test after a violent offence?

If you are arrested by the police for a violent offence, they may have cause to think you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If they have a reason to suspect this, then you must submit to a breath test and breath analysis (for alcohol), a saliva test and blood test (for drugs), or a breath test, saliva test and blood test (for combined use of alcohol and drugs). If you disagree with the results of the breath test or blood test, then you can have a counter-test done. You will have to arrange and pay for the counter-test yourself.

Breath test and breath analysis for violence under the influence of alcohol

Does the police have cause to think you are under the influence of alcohol? Then you must submit to a breath test and breath analysis. The police will use specialised equipment to measure how much alcohol you have consumed. Instead of a breath test, the police can also do a psychomotor test (PMT). This test looks at external characteristics such as visual and speaking ability to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol.

Saliva test or blood test for violence under the influence of drugs

If the police have cause to think you are under the influence of drugs, you must submit to a saliva test and a blood test. Instead of a saliva test, the police can also do a psychomotor test (PMT). This test looks at external characteristics such as visual and speaking ability to determine if you are under the influence of drugs.

Blood test for combined use of alcohol and drugs

The police may have cause to think you are under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. In that case, you must submit to a breath test and a saliva test and then to a blood test.

Right to a counter-test

If a breath analysis or blood test shows that you are over the alcohol limit, the drug limit or both, then you have the right to have a counter-test done.

  • For alcohol, the police will tell you this immediately after the results of the breath analysis. If you want to have a counter-test done, you must request it straight away.
  • For drugs, or drugs and alcohol combined, the police will tell you that you have the right to a counter-test when taking the blood sample. The result of the blood test for drug use or combined drug and alcohol use will be sent to you by letter. This letter also explains where to find information about your right to a counter-test.

Blood sample for counter-testing

Counter-tests always require a blood sample.

  • If the test is for drugs, or drugs and alcohol combined, then the laboratory will use the second tube of blood collected during the blood test.
  • If the test is for alcohol, then a blood sample will be taken as quickly as possible.

Laboratory requirements for blood testing

You can choose a laboratory to do the counter-test yourself. This has to be an accredited laboratory and must be qualified to perform bioanalyses. You can find information about this in the Substance Examination Decree (Besluit middelenonderzoek bij geweldplegers, in Dutch).

Laboratories that are accredited, have expertise in conducting bioanalyses as stipulated in the Decree and work according to a validated and legally compliant method include the Dutch Forensic Institute, the hospital pharmacy of the University Medical Center Groningen  and MVZ Dr. Stein + Kollegen GbR in Mönchengladbach, Germany (with the exception of the counter-test for alcohol), among others. You have to choose and contact a laboratory yourself. The laboratory will tell you if it can do a counter-test and what it will cost.

Certain requirements also apply to the laboratory blood testing procedures. You can find these requirements in the appendix to the Substance Examination Regulations (Regeling middelenonderzoek bij geweldplegers, in Dutch).

Costs of a blood test counter-test

You have to pay for the counter-test yourself. This includes the costs of:

  • for alcohol, taking a blood sample. You pay the police when they take the sample. You do not have to pay for a blood sample to test for drugs or drugs and alcohol combined, as 2 tubes of blood will have been collected already: 1 to test for the drug concentration and 1 for possible counter-testing;
  • sending the tube of blood to the laboratory you choose to do the counter-test;
  • the blood analysis at the laboratory.

You can find current price information in the Substance Examination Regulations (Regeling middelenonderzoek bij geweldplegers, in Dutch). There is no fixed price for blood analysis. The price is determined by the laboratory that does the counter-testing.

Counter-testing conditional on payment

If you want a counter-test done, you have to pay the laboratory no more than 2 weeks after receiving your blood test result from the police. The laboratory will do the counter-test only if it receives payment within this 2-week period.

Requesting a counter-test

When requesting a counter-test, you must provide:

  • your name;
  • sex;
  • date of birth;
  • citizen service number (BSN);
  • trace identification number (SIN), which is stated on the blood test result.

Bring the blood test result to court

The laboratory will only send the result of the counter-test to you. You have to take the counter-test result to the court hearing yourself.

Refund of counter-testing costs

If the counter-test shows that you had an alcohol and/or drug concentration under the legal limit, then you can claim a refund of the costs of the counter-test. If the counter-testing laboratory or procedures do not meet the requirements, you will not be refunded. You can claim a refund of the costs of the counter-test from the acting Public Prosecutor's office.

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