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CRIMINAL LAW | Have you been arrested or detained?

Updated: Feb 8

If you have ever been charged with a crime you will know that speed to action is critical in all criminal law matters. So the moment you feel like your rights are about to be infringed or your persoanl privicy is about to be violated you must immediately contact your specialist criminal attorney.

You must avoid making any statements regarding the matter to anyone. Anything you say WILL be used against you. Try your best to absorb as much information around you at the time of your detention. For example; what is the name of the investigating officer (IO), what police station are they taking you to, what are you going to be charged with, are there any witnesses on the scene, will you get bail etc.

All of this information is important to asssit in your bail application and for the trial.

Remember the moment you are chareged with a crime you cannot interfere with any state witnesses.


What are my rights when arrested or detained?


When can I be arrested?

A person may be arrested either on the strength of a warrant of arrest or when a police officer witnesses a person committing an offence or has probable cause to believe that a person was involved in the commission of a crime.

When approached by a police officer, one should remain calm. Do not flee or allow your first response to be an aggressive one. Offer your co-operation to the officer, do not resist arrest and never offer to pay a bribe. Should arrest be resisted, then reasonable force may be used by the officer to affect the arrest.

What are my rights when being arrested?

You have the right to be informed of the charges on which you are being arrested. Most importantly you have the right to remain silent, to be informed promptly of such right and the consequences of not remaining silent. Any information uttered or willingly given to an officer may be used against you in court. You may not be compelled to make any confession or admission that could be used in evidence against you. A person further has the right to be brought before a court as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 48 hours after the arrest. If the period of 48 hours expires outside ordinary court hours or on a day which is not an ordinary court day, the accused must be brought before a court not later than the end of the first following court day.

Once arrested you are required to tell the police your home address. A police officer may not request any further information from you including in respect of your activities or organizations you are involved with. What are my rights upon detention?

After an arrest you will, more often than not, be detained at a police station. In detention you may be searched. You may however not be searched without your consent and a person of the same sex should conduct the search. The police have the right to take your fingerprints and take photographs.

You have the right to:

· Be informed promptly of the reason for being detained.

  • The police must inform a detainee of these rights and when informed it must be in a language that the person can understand.

  • Choose to, and consult with an attorney of his/her choice, and should such person not have the means to appoint an attorney of choice, to have a legal practitioner assigned by the state at the state’s expense and to be promptly informed of such rights.

  • Be contained in conditions that are consistent with human dignity, including at least exercise and the provision, at state expense, of adequate accommodation, nutrition, reading material and medical treatment.

  • Communicate with, and be visited by, the person’s spouse or partner, next of kin, chosen religious counselor, and chosen medical practitioner.

  • Be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Police bail and warning

For minor offences ’police bail’ can be granted or the police may release you on a warning. In the case of police bail the investigating officer will propose an amount for bail and an agreement should then be reached on the amount of bail. After payment of this amount the arrested person may be released from custody. There should always be an officer on duty of sufficient rank to make the decision to grant or refuse police bail.


COMNINOS LAW specialises in all criminal law matters. #bail #criminallaw #arrested


FOR MORE INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE

john@comninoslaw.co.za

+27 72 899 8596


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