“I can detain you for 12 hours, so what are you going to do?”

It is a fear many motorists have – being pulled over by a law enforcement officer and threatened with being locked up.

Knowing what you can and cannot be arrested for, however, can prevent motorists from being exploited.

A MyBroadband reader experienced this on the evening of 17 May 2018, while driving along Witkoppen Road, Johannesburg at 19:30.

She was stopped at a roadblock, which she reported was operated by around 15 JMPD officers.

An officer approached her, and requested to see her driver’s licence.

The reader stated that she did not have her driver’s licence on her, having left it at home, and her car had an expired licence disc – which was due to be renewed in March 2018.

I can detain you

When the JMPD officer discovered the lack of driver’s licence, he told the driver he could detain her for 12 hours due to the infringements.

The driver said this is not true from what she knows, and asked which piece of legislation allows this.

The officer then changed his tune, and stated that the fine for the infringements would be R2,500.

He then said, “So what are you going to do?”, which the driver felt had undertones which alluded to a bribe.

The driver said she would pay the fine, and was willing to wait at the roadblock while the officer wrote it up.

When the officer had finished writing the fine, however, it was for R1,125 – not the R2,500 he had claimed earlier.

The MyBroadband reader paid the fine at a JMPD trailer at the roadblock and left, as she wanted the ordeal to be over.

“I am sure many people pay [the R2,500] as they are scared of being detained,” she told MyBroadband.

The JMPD and the City of Joburg were asked for comment on the matter, but failed to answer questions.

Know the law

According to the JPSA, as reported by BusinessTech, the City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane enforce the AARTO Act for traffic offences.

Under the act, there are several traffic offences which can see a driver arrested for on the spot. These are summarised below:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Occupying the the driver’s seat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and the engine is running.
  • Operating a vehicle recklessly.
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 40km/h or more.

Not having your driver’s licence on you, or having an expired car licence disc, is not listed under the offences for which you can be detained.

Now read: Intel’s big self-driving vehicle test

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“I can detain you for 12 hours, so what are you going to do?”