THE festive season is fast approaching.
While many people are looking forward to parties as part of the end-of-year festivities, law enforcement agencies also make it a priority to increase their visibility on the roads.
According to the Ministry of Transport, 845 roadblocks were conducted 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 encourages clients and the general public to know their rights this festive season.
Tertius Bossert, head of FNB’s Law on Call, gives the following tips on your rights when you are stopped at a roadblock.
Cooperate when stopped
“When you are stopped at a roadblock, the law enforcement officer will ask you for your personal details,” says Bossert.
“Of these, you are obliged to give your name and address. Similarly, you are entitled to ask an officer for proof of identity.”
You may not be arrested for outstanding traffic fines if there is no warrant of arrest for the fines.
However, if you have given the officer cause to arrest you, it is not advisable to resist arrest.
Know your rights if 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,” explains Bossert.
Depending on what you are arrested for, you will have the right to apply for bail at the police station.
If “after-hours” bail is not granted to you, you have the right to be brought before a court within 48 hours of your detention.
Study the law
Bossert suggests that you take some time to familiarise yourself with the laws of the country and the bylaws of your own city or town.
This knowledge can be helpful in a range of cases, especially those regarding drinking and driving, unpaid speeding or traffic fines, as well as even smaller matters, such as the use of fireworks in your community.
It is important to always ensure that you enjoy yourself within the limits of these laws.