Netherlands checking violent crime suspects for drug, alcohol use; Higher punishments likely
Police in the Netherlands will begin testing suspects held in violent crimes for drug and alcohol use beginning on Saturday when a new law authorizing the additional testing comes into effect. Before a suspect may be tested, police must already have suspicion that the offense was committed under the influence, the government stated.
Prosecutors will be able to push for stricter punishments against anyone charged with a violent crime who can be proven to have been using drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident. Additional punishments are not limited to only lengthier prison sentences. Additional fines and sentencing to a drug treatment program may also be considered.
The Netherlands claims it is the only country to order higher punishments for a positive drug or alcohol test.
The crimes that will be included in the new testing policy are minor and serious assaults, sex crimes, violence in public, animal cruelty, and also some acts of vandalism. Violent acts when an offender is under the influence also tend to cause more serious injuries.
Lawmakers say that a significant amount of crimes, ranging from 26 to 43 percent of all violent cases, occur in conjunction with alcohol use. Perpetrators using cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines are also more likely to resort to violence, the government stated.
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