Disposal of cases by the Public Prosecution Service (OM): penalties imposed by the OM

In the Netherlands, the Public Prosecution Service has the authority to impose penalties for a number of common criminal offences. The Public Prosecution Service may not impose custodial (i.e. prison) sentences. Municipal authorities and special enforcement officers also have the authority to impose penalties of this kind. They can issue an administrative penalty for antisocial behaviour; for instance, they can fine someone for noise nuisance. They can also issue a ‘police penalty’ for so-called ‘P offences’, which are offences like speeding that used to be punished with on-the-spot fines.

The Public Prosecution Service may impose a range of penalties. Examples include:

  • a fine;
  • an alternative sanction (of up to 180 hours);
  • a driving ban (of up to 6 months);
  • payment of compensation to the victim;
  • an anti-social behaviour or intervention order (such as football banning order or mandatory participation in a drug rehabilitation programme).
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The police can arrest someone who is suspected of committing a criminal offence and question him.


Once the investigation has been concluded, the public prosecutor may decide to prosecute a suspect. In


At the hearing, the court either acquits or convicts the defendant, or discharges him from prosecution


On appeal, a different (higher) court reviews the case. This court may convict or acquit the