What is a criminal record?

What is a criminal record?

Have you broken the corona rules and been fined? Then, until recently, you ran the risk of having a criminal record. The corona fines continue to exist, but there is no longer a note on the criminal record. Why have criminal records been such a thorn in the side of the House of Representatives and have they chosen to abolish this measure?

What is a criminal record?

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If you break the law, you can get a criminal record. A criminal record is also called an ‘extract of judicial documentation’. It is an overview of the registered offences in the Judicial Documentation System. The difference between crimes and offences is important here. If you have committed a crime it will always be on your criminal record. If you have committed an offence, this is also possible, but it does not always have to be the case. Offences are minor offences. Offences can be recorded when they are punished by a sentence of more than EUR 100, a dismissal or a fine of more than EUR 100. Crimes are more serious offences, such as theft, murder and rape. Corona fines are also punitive decisions exceeding EUR 100. Until now, therefore, a note was made in the judicial documentation when a corona fine was imposed. In July, the number of fines was more than 15 000. Minister Grapperhaus of the Ministry of Justice and Security insisted on this, after he himself received a fine and therefore a criminal record for failing to comply with the corona rules at his own wedding.


Criminal records can have a major impact on the offenders. When you apply for a job, a VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct) is sometimes applied for. This is a declaration which shows that your behaviour does not constitute an objection to the performance of a certain task or position in society. A criminal record may mean that you do not receive a VOG. In that case you are no longer allowed to practice some profession, such as solicitor, teacher or bailiff. Sometimes a visa or residence permit may be refused. An insurance company can also ask you if you have a criminal record when you apply for insurance. In that case you are obliged to tell the truth. Because of the criminal record you may not get an insurance.

Access to and storage of criminal data

Do you not know if you have a criminal record? You can access your criminal record by sending a letter or e-mail to the Judicial Information Service (Justid). The Justid is part of the Ministry of Justice and Security. If you disagree with what is on your criminal record, you can apply for a change. This is called a request for correction. This request must be submitted to the Front Office of the Justid. You will receive a written decision on the request within four weeks. Certain retention periods apply to the judicial data of the offences on the criminal record. The law determines how long this information must remain in existence. These periods are shorter for offences than for crimes. In the case of a criminal decision, for example in the case of the corona fine, the data will be deleted 5 years after full payment of the fine.

Contact a lawyer

Because a criminal record has such major consequences, it is sensible to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if, for example, you have received a coronafine or have committed an offence. There may, in fact, be a certain period of time within which opposition must be lodged with the public prosecutor. Sometimes it may seem easier to simply pay a fine or comply with community service, for example in the case of a criminal decision. Nevertheless, it is better to have the situation assessed by a lawyer. After all, the public prosecutor can also make mistakes or establish wrongful guilt. In addition, the public prosecutor or the judge may sometimes be more lenient than the official who imposed the fine or recorded the offence. A lawyer can check whether the fine is justified and can let you know if it is a good decision to appeal. The lawyer can write the notice of opposition and assist the judge if necessary.

Do you have any questions about the above subject or would you like to know what we can do for you? Please feel free to contact the lawyers at Law & More for more information. Even if you are not sure whether you need a lawyer. Our expert and specialised lawyers in the field of criminal law will be happy to assist you.

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