“You’re innocent until proven guilty” is a saying that’s often bandied, but have you ever actually wondered how much proving your innocence could cost?
Recently, that question became a reality for one of our policyholders after he was arrested*. Just that very act of being incarcerated is one of the most stressful and traumatic things you can experience, but that is just the beginning of the nightmare. As you fear for what’s come, you feel increasingly powerless and unsure. Not to mention, you are now faced with finding and paying for legal representation.Luckily, as a LAW FOR ALL client, the policyholder could phone the emergency bail line and receive assistance right from the start of his case. As a member of the LAW FOR ALL family, you have access to expert legal professionals who will attend to your bail and even pay up to R10 000 at your bail hearing.
Our client was innocent and pleaded not guilty to the charge, but, unfortunately, the law is not so simple. It took our policyholder and our team of legal professionals, which consisted of mediators, attorneys, and advocates, two years to prove his innocence. During that period, accounts piled up as the cost of having a matter draw out in the High Court and making use of an attorney and advocate can be very high. By the end of the case, the fees had exceeded R200 000. However, with LAW FOR ALL’s annual cover of R200 000, all of our policyholder’s fees were covered.
“You don’t know how important legal cover is until you need it,” said our policyholder. “LAW FOR ALL was also able to explain the complicated legal system to me as my case dragged on. I had someone to turn to continuously for guidance and clarity, but most importantly, I had someone to cover my legal costs. In return for my small monthly premium, I received R200 000’s worth of legal cover.”
Truth is, being arrested or sued can happen to anyone. The law is there to protect us, but sometimes we need protection to prove our innocence. The cost of proving that innocence can sometimes be unaffordable for many.
In the event of being arrested, it’s important to REMEMBER YOUR RIGHTS:
THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
The police cannot force you to talk or incriminate yourself. Any information given to an officer can be used against you in court. You cannot be forced to make a confession. You must provide your physical address. The SAPS must inform you of your rights in a language you understand.
THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO BE SEARCHED
You have the right to say “NO” if the police ask permission to search you or your things. It doesn’t mean you are hiding something if you refuse.?If you provide consent, a person of the same sex must conduct the search. Your fingerprints and photos may be taken by the SAPS. It is also important that you are informed of all charges against you.
THE RIGHT TO A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE
You have the right to speak to your lawyer as soon as possible, even if you cannot afford one; in which case, the State will appoint one at its own expense.
THE RIGHT TO APPEAR BEFORE COURT WITHIN 48 HOURS OF ARREST
If the 48 hours expires outside of regular court hours or on a day that is not a normal court day, you may be brought before court on the next court day.
THE RIGHT TO HUMAN DIGNITY
You must be provided with adequate accommodation, food, and medical treatment. Your human dignity must be respected at all times. You may also be visited by a spouse, next of kin, religious counselor or medical practitioner.
THE RIGHT TO BE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
The State will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are guilty.
Make sure you have protection when you need it most. For more info, be sure to check out pocket-friendly policies.
*Due to client confidentiality, we cannot share details of the case or the policyholder’s name.