Confusion over social distancing laws: you will have a criminal record in the event of a fine

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Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

Police and guards have imposed nearly 10,000 fines for breaking social distancing and other coronavirus rules, but many people are unaware they could end up with a criminal record, a website Nu.nl reported Thursday afternoon.

Technically, fines are a legal sanction that has been imposed without the intervention of the courts. And any sanction greater than € 100 is noted on the criminal record, Jeroen Soeteman, of the Dutch association of criminal lawyers, told the site.

“Minors are fined € 95, so that’s not a problem,” he said. “If you are an adult, you will have a criminal record that will remain in place for five years. The fine for breaking the rules of the coronavirus is 390 €.

Having a record means you may not be able to get a Certificate of Good Conduct (VOG) which is needed for many jobs, such as nursing or the police, he points out. “The government should better inform people of the consequences,” he said.

Dozens of people have already registered to formally protest the fines, a lawyer telling the Volkskrant he has at least 80 cases in his books.

Meanwhile, the Volkskrant says there is a lot of confusion about what really constitutes a rule violation and how the rules are applied differently.

For example, five friends who met in a parking lot, each in their own car, were fined for breaking the ban on holding events. Students who share a kitchen and bathroom were fined for eating together outside, although inside it wouldn’t be a problem.

Other cases reported by the newspaper include that of a 15-year-old girl who was fined after meeting two friends in a park and sitting on a bench for a chat. Still, a group of 200 protesting farmers were not fined because they obeyed the 1.5-meter rule, the newspaper said.

And as of Monday, groups of adults have been allowed to practice outdoor sports, as long as they adhere to the 1.5-meter rule, which further adds to the confusion.

Warning

“The police have a discretionary right, but in principle we warn first, then we are fine,” police spokeswoman Wendy Gehrmann said. NOS diffuser.

In addition, the legal basis for social distancing laws is in doubt, according to constitutional experts. The rules were introduced under emergency powers, but the eight-week duration has no legal basis, Groningen University professor Jan Brouwer told Volkskrant.

The government is currently working on legislation that would entrench the measures more firmly in law.

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