The Festive Season is approaching fast. The legal alcohol blood limit in South Africa is a mere 0.05g of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In reality, the current alcohol limit means you cannot drink one drink and drive as you are over the legal limit after one drink. The amount of road blocks also tends to increase over the Festive Season, which means your chances of being pulled over and tested for your blood-alcohol level are good.
What happens if you get pulled over, get tested for alcohol and get arrested for being over the blood-alcohol limit?
Once you arrive at a police station after being arrested, there is usually the possibility of applying for police bail. In other words, you are usually able to pay a bail amount at the particular police station. Usually you can phone a family member to bring the appropriate bail amount to the police station. You can pay the bail then and there and sleep at home until your first court appearance.
In other instances however, especially if your blood-alcohol level is considered high, you are not able to qualify for police bail. This means you must sleep in the police cells until your first court appearance.
The issue with having to remain in custody until your first court appearance is that in some instances your constitutional rights are still not upheld or there are many public holidays in a particular week causing a longer stay in the police cells.
You must appear in a court of law within 48 hours of being arrested, excluding public holidays and weekends. This means if you are arrested on 24 December you will probably only appear in a court on 28 December because 25 and 26 December as public holidays and therefore do not count as part of the 48-hour rule.
It would be best to contact an attorney if you are arrested during the Festive Season as an attorney may be able to negotiate and pay police bail on your behalf. This may prevent you from sleeping in the police cells for days on end before appearing in a court for the first time.
Our office is available to assist with bail applications this Festive Season. We are open and at your service throughout December 2020.