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Retention of driving licence

Verified 26 janvier 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The police took your driver's licence and you wonder when and how you will be able to get it back? When you commit some offences, law enforcement can take your licence. You're not allowed to drive anymore. This page shows you the rules for the retention of driving licences.

The retention of the driving licence shall take place in the following cases:

  • Driving with 0.8 g or more of alcohol per litre of blood
  • Manifest drink driving
  • Refusal to submit to BAC checks
  • Driving under narcotics control
  • Refusal to undergo drug use checks
  • Exceeding 40 km/h or more of the maximum authorised speed established by means of an approved vehicle intercept device
  • In the event of a traffic accident resulting in the death of a person or causing bodily harm, if you are suspected of having contravened the rules of use of the hand-held telephone, speed, crossing, passing, crossing or crossing priority
  • Driving while holding a phone when the driver is at the same time committing certain traffic violations. These offences include: driving rules, vehicle safety distances, crossing and overlapping continuous lines, traffic lights, speed, overtaking, signage requiring stopping or ceding the crossing to an intersection, and pedestrian crossing priorities.
  • Refusal to comply

Retention can occur in the following situations:

  • On the occasion of random roadside checks by law enforcement (police or gendarmes)
  • On the occasion of accident
  • In case speedingmore than 40 km/h found by law enforcement

Law enforcement agencies (police or gendarmerie) take your licence and shall immediately exchange a copy of notice of detention.

If you are unable to submit your licence, you 24 hours to hand it over to the law enforcement agencies that controlled you.

Don't forget to report to law enforcement if the address on your licence has changed.

  Please note : where driving, retention applies to the student driver's attendant's licence if the offence concerns blood alcohol or the use of narcotic drugs.

You're not allowed to drive anymore.

If you drive again, you risk prison sentence up to 2 years and a fine of up to €4,500.

6 points shall be withdrawn from the driving licence.

You may also additional penalties following:

  • Confiscation vehicle
  • Suspension of the licence for a period of up to 3 years.
    This suspension may not be limited to driving outside the professional activity.
  • Penalty work of general interest
  • Penalty for days-fine
  • Prohibition on driving certain vehicles, including vehicles without a licence, for a period not exceeding 5 years
  • Obligation to perform, at your own expense, a road safety awareness training
  • Cancellation of licence and prohibition from applying for a new licence for up to 3 years

The retention of the licence Maximum 72 hours (120 hours after drinking and driving or narcotic).

During this period, the prefect (or the sub-prefect depending on the department) is alerted.

The checks are made concerning your vehicle and yourself.

For example, check your alcoholic state by blood test.

During retention, your vehicle may be locked.

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If the offence is not established

Your driver's licence is available:

  • by the police it is possible to prove immediately that the offence is not established (e.g. with an ethylometer)
  • or after 72 hours (120 hours if checks are required).

After 72 hours or 120 hours, you can get your driving licenceto the address indicated on the retention notice.

Your permit is available within 12 hours of the end of the retention period.

If the detention ends between 6pm and 10pm, you can get your licence back until noon tomorrow.

If you have not recovered your licence by the end of this period or if you request it, your licence will be returned to you by registered letter with AR.

If the infringement is confirmed

Law enforcement inform you of the retention of your driving licence.

The following measures can then be notified :