Arrive Alive

Road Traffic Offences and Bail Applications

Introduction:

On the Arrive Alive website we share information with road users enabling them to make informed decisions and to be safer on the roads. Unfortunately not all road users make these decisions and some have to deal with the wrath of the law!

On this platform we also wish to provide some clarity with regards to the legal processes in the event of an arrest and some of the options available after arrest and even conviction. Arrests on the road are not merely for drunk driving but can also be for other instances of reckless driving such as excessive speeding.

In this section we would like to share, with the kind assistance of Adriaan Janse Van Rensburg from Phatshoane Henney Attorneys, some insights to bail applications after an arrest:

My son has been arrested... what now?

“I recently heard from a friend that her son had been arrested for drunk driving and that it had been quite a traumatic experience for the family to get their son released on bail. I have to admit I know nothing about bail and I am worried that I won’t know what to do to help my own child should he or she be arrested one day. How does bail work and what should I know? ”

The reality is that arrest is much more common than one realises, and it doesn’t necessarily only happen to violent criminals. It is therefore important that one knows the basics of how the process works and what has to happen to get released on bail.

Firstly, it is important to be aware of the different types of bail. Our law makes provision for three types, namely police bail, prosecutor’s bail, as well as court bail.

Police bail

Police bail:

Police bail is usually fixed after hours by the particular police station where the arrested person is detained, and is only possible when a person is accused of a ‘less serious’ charge, for example drunk driving, common assault or store theft.

To have someone release on police bail, it is firstly important to determine where the person is being detained. It will ordinarily be the police station nearest to where the incident took place. Take proof with of where the person lives and works.

As soon as you know where the person is detained, you can approach the relevant police office in command of that station and ask if the person has already been charged. If the person has been charged, the police docket will have a ‘CAS’ number and be allocated to an investigative officer. Ask who the investigative officer is and enquire from him/her if he/she will be willing to fix bail - and if yes, on what basis.

Important to remember is that police bail can only be fixed if a person has a clean criminal record – thus no former offences or pending cases against their name. If police bail cannot be granted, the police may, according to the law, detain a person for 48 hours before the person is brought before court.

Prosecutor’s bail:

Prosecutor’s bail is commonly determined after hours by the particular police station. This type of bail can be fixed for more serious offences, such as for example culpable homicide, assault with the intent of grievous bodily harm, housebreak and theft where the alleged stolen goods don’t exceed R20,000. Prosecutor’s bail may not be fixed for offences such as, for example, murder or rape.

The same process that’s followed with police bail, can be followed here. What differs from police bail however, is that a state prosecutor has to be present during bail fixing. A list of the particular state prosecutors and more specifically which prosecutor is on duty, can be found at your nearest Magistrate’s Court.

It is important to remember that the investigative officer as well as the prosecutor’s permission is required for this type of bail. The state prosecutor may also link any reasonable conditions to the bail, such as that the accused may not contact the complainant, etc.

Court bail

Court bail:

Court bail is fixed in court in respect of any other offence. In terms of our law a person has to be brought before court within 48 hours, where the person can then apply for bail. This will be the case where police- or prosecutor’s bail had not been permitted or requested.

The process followed during court bail is complex, seeing as there are various factors that the court has to take into account when deciding whether to grant bail or not. Factors the court needs to consider include whether the person has a fixed address, any previous offences and whether the person has any pending cases against him/her.

Important to remember is that the State has the right to postpone any bail application for a period not exceeding seven days, which means the accused will be sent to jail until he/she can be brought before court again. The State may then once again request a postponement for a formal bail hearing.  With the congestion in our courts it can happen that that bail application only takes place in two weeks’ time. To assist with managing the complex process of court bail, and to prevent a person from having to wait for two weeks for a bail application it’s important to acquire the assistance of a criminal law specialist. 

If you are the arrested, it is always wise not to just make a statement. Often one is under strain and one’s thoughts are not always clear, in which case it is preferable not to make a statement in such circumstances.  Therefore it is actually advisable in all instances of arrest to acquire the assistance of a criminal law specialist that can help manage the legal process best during this taxing time.

[A word of appreciation to Adriaan Janse Van Rensburg from Phatshoane Henney Attorneys]

Also view:

Rules of the Road and Road Safety

Drunk Driving and Road Safety

NICRO and the Road Offences Panel Programme

Loading...

Search Road Safety Articles

Latest Pages

Vehicle Recovery and Road Safety

Vehicle Recovery and Road Safety

Recovery of Vehicles after an Accident / Dealing with Tow Truck Operators Background Information Tow truck operators provide a valuable service to the motoring public. They are quite often the first to arrive at the scene of an accident and have been known on many occasions to provide assistance

Read More

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Road Safety Tips for the Festive Season from ArriveAlive.co.za

Obey the rules of the road and carry your driver’s license with you. Plan the route to your holiday destination and allow yourself enough time to reach the destination Make sure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before departure. All lights and indicators, windscreens, windscreen

Read More

Texting and Distracted Driving

Texting and Distracted Driving

Introduction and Background Distracted driving is described as an epidemic sweeping our roads. This topic is receiving much attention internationally and we would like to discuss in this section of the Arrive Alive website the global impact and the risks of texting and driving! It has been revealed

Read More

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

The Basic Steering and Suspension Layouts

Steering Rack / Rack & Pinion The Steering Rack is the assembly in a vehicle which turns the vehicle’s wheels from side to side in response to when the driver turns the steering wheel. The Steering Rack is what helps you steer when you drive. Common Rack & Pinion Steering Problems: Very

Read More

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Child Restraints and Road Safety

Introduction to Child Restraints and Road Safety Increasing motorization worldwide has brought more crashes and injuries to vehicle occupants, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. One of the most effective measures to protect occupants from injury in the event of a crash is the fitment

Read More

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Car Seats for Children and Road Safety in South Africa

Introduction: New legislation in South Africa is addressing a void which has for a number of years frustrated all those so deeply concerned with the safety of our children on the roads. The void referred to was specifically with regards to child passengers [infants] younger than 3 years old. Although

Read More

Load More Pages

Partners

View All