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Being pulled over at a roadblock can be intimidating and you may be unsure of your rights. Scorpion breaks down 5 things officers may not do at a roadblock.
You should never approach an officer doing their job aggressively or arrogantly, but it is important to know your rights. Here are 5 things officers may NOT do at a roadblock:
They may not threaten to arrest you for not paying outstanding fines or for having an unroadworthy vehicle or in pursuit of a bribe. Unless the officer reasonably suspects you of being involved in a crime, there is a warrant of arrest out for you, or the officer sees you commit a crime, they may not arrest you and they may not threaten to do so. You can ask to see proof of a warrant of arrest if the officer claims one exists.
This is blatantly illegal – there is no situation where an officer may verbally or physically abuse a citizen, but it has happened. Report the incident, with as much evidence as possible, at your nearest police or traffic station. If the police or traffic department is unwilling to help you, you can report the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). They specifically investigate things like crimes committed by police officers. Lastly, you can get a lawyer and sue.
Officers are allowed to inform you of any outstanding fines against your name, but no law authorises police officers to demand payment of fines on the spot, whether in cash or electronically. If they try to force you into paying, they will be acting illegally and may be liable to prosecution for extortion under section 134 of the Criminal Law Code.
Searches may not be conducted to threaten or scare citizens. The officer must have reasonable grounds to search you and/or your vehicle.
There must be a reason for impounding your car, for example, if it is unroadworthy, has missing or false number plates, or is massively overloaded. Officers may not impound your car for “talking back” to them or to scare you. If a traffic officer impounds a car that has passengers who would be stranded at the scene, the officers must arrange the necessary transport to get those people to a safe location.
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 20 April 2022
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