With the long weekend coming up, a lot of South Africans are gearing up for a long weekend and having fun with friends and family. If you are planning to spend some time on the road this long weekend, or at any other time of the year, here are 5 things you need to know when you get pulled over in a roadblock.
5 things you need to know when you get pulled over in a roadblock
1. Do I have to stop if get pulled over in a roadblock?
Yes. According to the AA, a UNIFORMED police officer has the right to stop any vehicle at any time. When you are stopped, treat the police officer with respect, be polite and provide your full name. If the police officers ask for any other particulars regarding your identity, provide that too.
If you disrespect the officer and are making it difficult for the officer to do his or her job (racial slurs, swearing, intimidating, ect) you could land in hot water.
Your driver’s licence must be kept on the driver’s person or within the vehicle, according to the National Road Traffic Act. If you are pulled over in a roadblock, show your driver’s licence to the officer immediately.
2. Can I ask the officer for identification?
Yes. The Criminal Procedure Act states that an officer who cannot, or refuses to, provide an appointment certificate on demand, is in violation of the Act and any actions taken by the officer will then be unlawful.
Even if the officer is not in uniform, you may request to see their identification.
3. Can the officer search my vehicle?
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa forbids random search and seizure of your person, your property or possessions.
If you are stopped by an officer, they must have a valid belief that you may have been involved in a crime and a search warrant issued by a Magistrate or a Judge is required should they want to search your vehicle or take possession of your property.
This does not apply to roadblocks where search and seizure are authorised prior to the roadblock being set up.
4. Can they arrest me for outstanding traffic fines?
Only if there is a warrant out for your arrest, can a traffic officer arrest you for an outstanding traffic fine. You can be served with a summons to appear in court for an outstanding traffic fine, provided that the court date is at least 14 working days from the date of issuing.
If the officer wants to arrest you, you cannot resist arrest in any way. It is important to obey the officer at all times.
If your vehicle is unroadworthy, you can be stopped at any time and the officers can refuse you to drive the car any further. In some cases, you might be allowed to drive your vehicle to your destination, if the destination is a short distance away.
5. Can I refuse a breathalyser or blood test?
No. “No person shall refuse that a specimen of blood, or a specimen of breath, be taken of him or her.” Section 65 (9) of the NRTA
Remember, an officer can arrest you if you refuse to take a breathalyser test. If you refuse, you can be arrested, detained and have a blood test done. You can also be arrested if your blood alcohol limit is over 0.05g per 100ml.
If you believe that you have been unlawfully arrested, and you need legal assistance, contact Cavanagh & Richards Attorneys in Gauteng. We are specialised criminal law attorneys and we can help you. We have offices in Centurion, Randburg and Witbank!
All images from Arrive Alive