Know Your Rights at a Roadblock


The festive season is around the corner and many people are looking forward to the end of year parties. During this time, police visibility is also beefed up. It is easy for people to find themselves unintentionally on the wrong side of the law.  Do you know your rights if you’re stopped at the road block?

FNB head of law Tertius Bossert gives the following 3 tips on your rights when you get stopped at a roadblock.

1. 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,” says 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.

2. 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,” 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.

3. Familiarise yourself with the laws

Bossert also advises that you take some time to familiarise yourself with the laws of the country and that 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.