When a person is arrested, they are immediately taken to the nearest police station for detainment. Upon arrival, they are informed of their rights, including their right to apply for bail in accordance with Section 35(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. All persons who are arrested must appear in court within 48 hours unless their arrest falls over a weekend or on public holidays. Failure to do so is a violation of human rights. During this appearance, the court may grant bail should the applicant meet the criteria set forth.
However, for more minor offences, there such a thing as “Police Bail” – when the accused need not appear in court in order to be granted bail. Here the investigating officer may propose a bail amount and once this is paid, the arrested individual may be released. However 24-hour bail applications like this only apply if the accused has no prior arrests. Police bail is covered by section 59(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977.
Aside from police bail under section 59, there is also “Prosecutor’s Bail”, in which case a prosecutor who has been authorised by the Director of Public Prosecutions is allowed to grant bail for more serious offences.
Where possible it is always best to have a criminal attorney handle your bail applications, as they know and understand the processes involved and are able to argue for police bail or 24-hour bail should the offence be deemed minor enough by the legislature.
Should you have any questions or queries regarding bail at police stations, do not hesitate to contact us and we will put you in touch with a criminal lawyer who can provide expert advice.
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