What should you do if you don’t agree with the results of a breath analysis or blood test?

What happens if you’re stopped by the police because they suspect you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol? In the case of alcohol you have to undergo a breath test and a breath analysis. In the case of drugs you must undergo a saliva test and/or observation and blood testing. If you don’t agree with the results of the breath analysis or blood test, you can get a second opinion. But you have to arrange and pay for it yourself.

Right to a second opinion

If the breath analysis shows that you’ve drunk too much, or the blood test shows that you’ve taken too many drugs, possibly in combination with alcohol, you have the right to get a second opinion. 

  • If you test positive for alcohol, the police will give you the results of the breath analysis straight away. You must then tell them whether you want to get a second opinion.
  • If you test positive for drugs (possibly in combination with alcohol), the police will tell you that you have the right to get a second opinion on your blood sample. The letter giving you the test results also tells you where you can find more information on getting a second opinion.

Blood sample for a second opinion

The second opinion is always based on the results of a blood test. 

  • When you are tested for drugs (or for a combination of alcohol and drugs), your blood sample is divided over two test tubes. The laboratory that you choose for the second opinion will use the sample in the second tube. 
  • If you want a second opinion test for alcohol, someone will collect a blood sample from you as soon as possible.

Requirements to be met by second-opinion laboratories

It is up to you to choose a laboratory to carry out the second opinion test. The laboratory must be accredited and specialise in bioanalysis. For more information see the Alcohol and Drug Testing (Traffic) Decree (Besluit alcohol, drugs en geneesmiddelen in het verkeer). You can find a list of accredited laboratories on the website of the Dutch Accreditation Council, which you can call for more information (tel.: 030 239 4500). It is up to you to contact the laboratory of your choice to find out whether they can do a second opinion test and what it will cost.

Blood samples must be tested using a method that satisfies the requirements set out in annexes 1 and 2 of the Alcohol and Drug Testing (Traffic) Order (Regeling alcohol, drugs en geneesmiddelen in het verkeer).

Costs of a second opinion

You have to pay the costs of a second opinion yourself. The laboratory will not carry out the test until it has received your payment. You will be charged for:

  • collection of a blood sample for alcohol testing. You must pay these costs directly to the police. You do not have to pay for the collection of a blood sample for drug testing or drug and alcohol testing;
  • sending the blood sample to the laboratory that will perform the second opinion test; 
  • the blood analysis performed by the laboratory.

The current fee for sending the blood sample to the laboratory is listed in the ministerial order. It is up to you to choose the laboratory for the second opinion test and to find out what they will charge you. You must pay the laboratory within two weeks of being told the results of the blood test.

Your application for a second opinion must state your name, sex, date of birth, citizen service number (BSN) and the evidence identification number (SIN). 

In the case of a drugs test, the laboratory doing the second opinion test will ask the laboratory that did the first blood test to send them the blood sample after they have received your payment within the time set. You need to bring the results of the second opinion test with you when you appear in court.

Compensation for the costs of the second opinion

If the second opinion shows that the alcohol and/or drug levels in your blood were below the legal limit, the court may decide that you are entitled to compensation for the costs of the second opinion. You will not receive any compensation if the laboratory or the way it carried out the second opinion test did not meet the requirements. 

You can submit a claim for compensation for the costs of the second opinion to the public prosecutor dealing with your case.

Ministry responsible