Know your rights at a roadblock

It’s time you knew the rights you have when stopped at a roadblock.

According to the Ministry of Transport, there were 845 roadblocks across the country over the 2014 festive season, and it can be easy for people to find themselves unintentionally on the wrong side of the law.

FNB’s Law on Call makes your legal affairs a priority all year round, and encourages clients and the general public to know their rights this festive season. Head of FNB’s Law on Call, Tertius Bossert, has a few tips on your rights when you get stopped at a roadblock.

Getting stopped: “The law enforcement officer will ask you for your personal details, of these, you are obliged to give your name and address. Similarly, you are entitled to ask an officer for proof of identity,” said Bossert.

If there is no warrant of arrest for outstanding traffic fines, you may not be arrested for these fines. However, if you have given the officer cause to arrest you, it is not advisable to resist arrest.

If you are arrested: “If the officer arrests you, he is required to read you your rights immediately, and he must take you directly to a police station, nowhere else,” explained Bossert. Applying for bail at the police station will depend on what you are arrested for.

The FNB Law on Call contact centre is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Should you find yourself in a tight situation, they can try to arrange bail telephonically for you, provided that ‘after hours’ bail can be granted for the offence that you have been arrested for.

However, if ‘after-hours’ bail is not granted, you have the right to be brought before a court within 48 hours of your detention.

Bossert also suggested that you familiarise yourself with the laws of the country and the bylaws of your city or town, especially regarding drinking and driving, unpaid speeding or traffic fines and even smaller matters such as the use of fireworks.

Details: The FNB Law on call centre 087 736 7773.

*Article first published December 2015

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