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If you are suspected of a criminal offence

       About this brochure

            This brochure provides information about what to expect if you have been
            arrested for a criminal offence. It explains the role of the various people
            involved in the criminal justice system, how long you can be held in custody or
            on remand, and sets out your rights and responsibilities. It also tells you where
            you can obtain further information at each stage of the procedure. You can also
            contact your own lawyer or the local office of the Juridisch Loket (Legal Advice
            Centre). Details of other brochures and useful addresses are given at the rear
            of this brochure.

       Arrest and questioning

            You have been arrested on suspicion of having committed a criminal offence.
            The police may wish to question you further at the police station. If so, they
            are entitled to hold you for up to six ‘working’ hours. The hours between
            midnight and 9 am do not count towards this period. For example, if you are
            taken to the police station at 9 o’ clock in the evening, the police can detain
            you for questioning until 12 noon the following day.

       Police custody

            Sometimes, six hours will not be enough time for the police to ascertain all the
            facts of the matter. An ‘assistant prosecutor’, usually a senior police officer, can
            authorize an extension of this period to allow further investigations. This
            decision is not taken lightly and he (or she) will interview you before signing the
            necessary order, or ‘warrant’. If the extension is granted, you can be held
            without charge for a further 72 hours (including the nighttime hours). You will
            be given a copy of the warrant. Note that the 72-hour extension period applies
            only in the case of ‘arrestable’ criminal offences for which the law allows
            suspects to held on remand prior to trial, such as theft and possession of drugs
            with intent to supply.

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