Many people who are arrested are exploited by police officers because they do not know their rights. According to Article 49(1) of the constitution, if you are arrested you have certain rights that should be upheld. If these rights are violated, you can make a legal claim against the arresting officers. Here is a look at what your rights are when you get arrested.
First, an arresting police officer should introduce themselves and show their work ID. Also, anyone who is arrested should be informed promptly, in a language that they understand of:
- The reasons for their arrest
- The right to keep silent
- The consequences of not being silent
Secondly, anyone who is arrested has the right to an attorney. One reason for this provision is to avoid self incriminating statements. Additionally, a suspect should not be compelled to make admissions or any confession that can be used in evidence against them.
Anyone who is arrested should also be held separately from other people who are serving a sentence. Furthermore, a suspect should be taken to court as soon as possible so they may be charged or told the reason for their detention. The first court appearance also determines whether the accused will remain in custody or whether they will be released. Therefore, it is the right of the accused to be taken to court twenty four hours after their arrest. If the twenty four hours lapse outside normal court hours or on a day that the court does not open, the accused should be arraigned on the next court day.
Anyone who is arrested also has the right to be released on bail or bond, pending a charge. However, the only exception is when there are compelling reasons for the suspect not to be released on bail. For example, if a suspect is a flight risk, they may be denied bail.
Last but not least, an accused person should not be taken into custody for any offence that is penalized by a fine only. Additionally, they should not serve long sentences if the offense they have committed is punishable by less than six months.
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