Traffic offences - what to do if you’re arrested

2015-09-02 06:00
PHOTO: sourced

Do you know what to do if you’re arrested? Knowing what the three primary types of bail are could spare you spending time in a jail cell.

PHOTO: sourced Do you know what to do if you’re arrested? Knowing what the three primary types of bail are could spare you spending time in a jail cell.

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ARRESTS on South Africa’s roads are not only reserved for drunk drivers and/or hijackers.

Reckless driving and speeding can land you in a jail cell.

You could be on the receiving end of a phone call informing you that a friend or family member has been arrested.

Do you know what the legal process is in the event of an arrest? Do you know what options are available after an arrest or even a conviction?

Arrive Alive spoke to Adriaan Janse Van Rensburg from Phatshoane Henney Attorneys for insights into bail applications after an arrest.

The reality is that arrests are much more common than one realises and it doesn’t only happen to violent criminals, says Van Rensburg.

“If you are the arrested, it is always wise not to just make a statement. Often one is under stress and one’s thoughts are not always clear, in which case it is preferable not to make a statement in such circumstances.

“It’s actually advisable in all instances of arrest to acquire the assistance of a criminal law specialist who can help manage the legal process best during this taxing time.

“Our law makes provision for three types of bail - police, prosecutor’s and court.”

Police bail, says Van Rensburg, is usually fixed after hours by the particular police station where the arrested person is detained. Police bail is possible when a person is accused of a “less serious” charge such as common assault or theft.

This type of bail can only be fixed if the applicant has no prior criminal history or pending cases. If police bail cannot be granted, the police may, according to the law, detain you for up to 48 hours.

Prosecutor’s bail is determined by police stations.

This type of bail can be fixed for more serious offences (culpable homicide, assault with the intent of grievous bodily harm, etc). Prosecutor’s bail may not be fixed for offences such as murder or rape.

The process is the same as police bail though a state prosecutor has to be present during bail fixing.

A list of the particular state prosecutors and more specifically which prosecutor is on duty, can be found at your nearest Magistrate’s Court.

“It is important to remember that the investigative officer as well as the prosecutor’s permission is required for this type of bail,” says Van Rensburg

Court bail is fixed in court in respect of any other offence.

In terms of South African law a person has to be brought before court within 48 hours, where the person can then apply for bail. This will be the case where police- or prosecutor’s bail had not been permitted or requested.

“The process followed during court bail is complex, seeing as there are various factors that the court has to take into account when deciding whether to grant bail or not. Factors the court needs to consider include whether the person has a fixed address, any previous offences and whether the person has any pending cases against him or her.”

The state has the right to postpone any bail application for a period not exceeding seven days, which means the accused will be sent to jail until he/she can be brought before court.

The state could request a postponement for a formal bail hearing and given the congestion in SA courts, it could be that the bail application takes place at a later date.

- Wheels24.

If you are the arrested, it is always wise not to just make a statement. Often one is under stress and one’s thoughts are not always clear in which case it is preferable not to make a statement in such circumstances

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