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Road blocks: These are your rights

2004-03-31 05:59

Sonja Carstens

These are the views of legal experts after Beeld was inundated by calls from motorists who complain they don't know what to do if they're stopped at road blocks.

"Motorists are intimidated and treated rudely while waiting for hours to see if a warrant is issued," one reader complained.

A legal expert said a person may only be arrested without a warrant if the person committed a crime in his/her presence.

A person may also be arrested if there is reasonably suspicion that the person has committed a serious offence such as pre-meditated murder, rape or armed robbery.

A policeman or traffic cop may not prevent a motorist from proceeding with his/ her journey while he/she tries to determine whether the motorist might have trespassed in the past. The motorist is regarded innocent until proven guilty.

The law does not make provision for a policeman/traffic cop to prevent a motorist from leaving until the officer has established whether the motorist had committed a crime in the past. The motorist is considered innocent until proven guilty.

It's also the national prosecuting authority's policy that traffic departments countrywide have to issue traffic summonses for contraventions captured on camera within 30 calendar days, otherwise they become invalid.

The prosecuting authority recently warned several offices of the directors of public prosecutions to stick to these regulations carefully following complaints from the public to the contrary.

These summonses are only applicable to traffic summonses posted to motorists and not summonses served on motorists.

The experts say a motorist may also ask to see the appointment certificate of the messenger of the court serving the summons.

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