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Know your rights at a roadblock

What to do when stopped at a roadblock.

The festive season is here and while many people are looking forward to the end of year parties, law enforcement agencies also make it a priority to increase their visibility on the roads.

According to the Ministry of Transport, there were 845 roadblocks across the country over the previous 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 gives the following tips on your rights when you getare stopped at a roadblock.

Getting stopped at a roadblock:

“When you are stopped at a roadblock, 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.

You may not be arrested for any 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.

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.

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.

Bossert also suggested that you take some time to familiarise yourself with the laws of the country and the by-laws of your own city or town, especially regarding drinking and driving, unpaid speeding or traffic fines and even smaller matters like the use of fireworks in your community, and ensure that you enjoy yourself within the limits of these laws.

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