You can still be arrested for Dagga in South Africa.

When arrested, you will be asked to sign several papers. Signing admission of guilt will get you a criminal record, so DON’T (you don’t have to!). If you pay bail however, make sure to sign for that money if you want it back. Make sure to read our FAQ at the bottom of this page and all our blogs about arrests and the SAPS

It is important that you write your arrest story down and report it.

You don’t have to give your name or any info you don’t want to. Please write down your story for us in detail and then send it to us (via the red button below) as well as to the following parties:

www.corruptionwatch.org.za
www.sahrc.org.za
https://www.gov.za/services/victim-empowerment/lodge-complaint-about-police-misconduct
http://www.ipid.gov.za
www.presscouncil.org.za

#StopTheCops (previously Join The Queue)

I WANT TO REPORT A DAGGA ARREST!
Stop the Cops

Help Starts Here

You’ve been arrested. Not much time.

* Comply don’t resist

* Give them info about yourself, address, no obligation to provide extra info about what you do. NEVER SIGN ADMISSION OF GUILT OR PAY A FINE, only sign for BAIL.

* Remain silent. Sometimes the police are not very considerate when searching your premises. They may be intimidating, but just know that with the knowledge gained from our Know Your Rights booklet, you can stand your ground!

If you can, at the arrest, show the cops:
1. THE ARREST CIRCULAR
https://fieldsofgreenforall.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/SAPS-Circular-Arrest-and-detention-19.11-2.pdf

2. THE POLICE DIRECTIVE: https://fieldsofgreenforall.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/SKM_C65819012308440-police-directive-220119.pdf

3. THE PRIVACY JUDGMENT: https://fieldsofgreenforall.org.za/the-constitutional-right-to-privacy/

4. THE 2020 HIGH COURT PRECEDENT about warrants: http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZAWCHC/2020/138.html

Download the Know Your Rights Ebook

Download this free ebook with everything you need to know about your legal rights and Cannabis in South Africa. Please also subscribe to our newsletter.

Know Your Rights in 2021

IMPORTANT DAGGA ARREST INFORMATION FOR EVERYBODY

PLEASE GIVE COPIES OF THIS BOOKLET TO THE POLICE

SOS HELPLINE 063-174-0938

SOS WEBFORM https://podio.com/webforms/17336590/1165744

DOWNLOAD AND PRINT COPIES OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGEMENT HANDED DOWN IN SEPTEMBER 2018 AND THE POLICE DIRECTIVE ISSUED SOON AFTER. KEEP COPIES OF THESE TWO DOCUMENTS AT HOME AND IN YOUR CAR.

This is written for you… policeman, magistrate, dagga user, grower or trader. From the medical patient who depends on the plant for relief to the casual smoker, frail pensioners, gardeners, artists, students, prosecutors, nurses, everyone who uses, cultivates or trades in this plant. Many people from all walks of life are STILL arrested on Cannabis charges every day in South Africa. Don’t think that you’re immune or invincible. Nobody is immune to this pointless arrest fiasco.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS BEFORE IT HAPPENS TO YOU.

FOR THE POLICE:

A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

According to case law, an officer cannot search someone’s person, house or car simply because they believe the person is “suspicious”. This simply will not hold up in court.

The Constitutional Court clarified the legal status of warrantless search and seizures on 27 July 2016 (Minister of Police and Others v Kunjana [2016] ZACC 21) and found that these searches infringe on the right to privacy to a degree that cannot be justified, finding sections 11.1 (a) and (g) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act unconstitutional.

Dealing CANNOT be assumed. The 18 Sept 2018 Constitutional Court ‘Privacy Judgement’ said “there will be cases where it will be difficult to tell whether the possession is for personal consumption or not. In the latter scenario a police officer should not arrest the person because in such a case it would be difficult to show beyond reasonable doubt later in court that that person’s possession of Cannabis was not for personal consumption”. …so the magistrate will throw the case out.

Dealing CANNOT be proved without an undercover operative, marked notes or photographic evidence. Several bags or jars stored together (even near cash!) is NORMAL and still does NOT imply dealing and will NOT hold up in court.

YOU CANNOT ASSUME DEALING JUST BY HOW MUCH DAGGA SOMEONE POSSESSES

Quantity DOES NOT MATTER and is a useless measuring stick. BE AWARE that the law that says more than 115g of Cannabis constitutes dealing has been deemed UNCONSTITUTIONAL in S v Bhulwana; S v Gwadiso 1996 (1) SA 388 (CC).

Read more

Initial FAQ

If you are at home: Be calm.  If they are outside, go the gate, but do not open it.  Ask to see a search warrant. If they do not have a search warrant, they will probably say that they don’t need one “if they have due cause to suspect that there are illegal drugs on the property.” Let them in. If you have an attorney that can come straight away, ask if they would be so kind as to wait for you to call your attorney, and for your attorney to arrive, before entering your property (if no search warrant). Remember that you MUST be present when they search any area of your property so make sure that they do not split up and search areas without you present. Unfortunately it is a sad reality that police have been known to “plant” evidence when you are not looking. Police have also been known to steal victim’s property so BE ALERT!

Very important: Make sure that nobody moves or cleans up anything while you are away from your property. When you get home make sure that you have a witness present and take detailed photographs of anything that the police may have broken or mess that they might have made. Check all your valuables and make a list of anything that is missing. Report this to your attorney or your nearest police station as soon as possible.

If you are not at home and someone lets you know that the police are there, GO HOME STRAIGHT AWAY and follow the steps above.

A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

The police will probably say that they don’t have to have a search warrant if they suspect that there are illegal drugs on the property. When the police do not have a search warrant they usually enter the property anyway by arriving in the middle of the night and gaining access while you are asleep. This is what happened to The Dagga Couple. They lifted the gate off of its rails and woke them up. There is nothing you can do to get rid of them, just allow them to search and the matter will be taken up in court. Be polite and ensure them that you know your rights. For roadblocks read this post.

Complete the section above on this page that asks for your Name & email address (as if you want to download our Know-Your-Rights booklet) After confirming your email address, you will immediately receive a welcome email which lists the arrest sequence, what to expect and what to do. Forward this email reply to whoever is coming to your rescue, perhaps to two or three people, just to be sure. The best thing to do is Know Your Rights BEFORE you are arrested! Why not download the booklet now and read the Arrest Sequence? You can also phone our Emergency Helpline on 063 174 0938. The person you speak to will also be able to assist you with what to say to the magistrate when you appear in court.

Yes you can BUT only if you don’t have any previous convictions (they check), and only after they have confirmed your address.

BAIL will only apply if there is clear evidence of dealing, otherwise you cannot be put in the cells.

This is entirely at the discretion of the investigating officer if you are asking for police bail. Most of the time it happens that the investigating officer goes home at the end of the day and you are left in the police cells. When you get to court on the next working day all you have to do is ask the judge for bail so that you can get legal advice. This will be granted if you do not have any previous convictions and if there are no other complicating factors such as firearms or large amounts of cash found in your possession. You do not need an attorney if there are no complicating factors but contact us if you are unsure.

NO!! Always ask to see a Law Association membership card. “Bail touts” trawl the police cells looking for vulnerable people and you will never see the money you pay them again! NEVER TRUST LAWYERS THE POLICE RECOMMEND. RATHER ASK YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS TO RECOMMEND ONE. The police often have criminal relations with lawyers and magistrates whereby they abuse the public so it is best to use outside help to avoid these corporate circles of corruption. Don’t TRUST THE AUTHORITIES WITH ANYTHING. SOUTH AFRICA HAS HIGH LEVELS OF CORRUPTION AND YOU NEED TO STAND YOUR OWN GROUND AS A CITIZEN AGAINST A CORRUPT SYSTEM.

You can take warm clothes, and shoes without laces, but most stations won’t allow food or drink into the cells. Cigarettes are usually confiscated. Try popping a box into a jacket pocket.

You won’t be released until bail is paid.

NO! The police make it sound very tempting: “Just sign here and you can go.” You WILL end up with a criminal record. If you have done this without knowing the consequences you will have 3 weeks to contest it. If you sign admission of guilt, you will need to hire an attorney to remove your record and it’s an expensive process that could cost you as much as R10 000. Know Your Rights! Unless you were clearly dealing, the police must give you a court date and HAVE TO LET YOU GO and you cannot be held in the cells. 

You only have to give your name and address, and state whether you have previous convictions/outstanding warrants for your arrest / cases pending against you.  Tell the truth. For the rest, simply state “I will make my statement in court”. Unless you were clearly dealing, the police must give you a court date and HAVE TO LET YOU GO and you cannot be held in the cells.

If the police arrest you at your home and there are children under the age of 18 present, they will usually let you make arrangements for a family member / friend to come and take the children into their care until you are released. If they do not do this, you are allowed 1 phone call and you MUST arrange for an attorney to come to the police cells. You can also phone our helpline 063 174 0938.

If there are young people over the age of 18 they will probably be arrested with you. The police usually arrest all people on the property if they find any Cannabis so Know Your Rights!

BE AWARE THAT SINCE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUDGEMENT OF 18 SEPTEMBER 2018, THE POLICE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LOCK YOU UP IN A CELL UNTIL YOUR COURT APPEARANCE. INSTEAD THEY HAVE TO GIVE YOU A SUMMONS WITH A COURT DATE AND LET YOU GO. You can only be held in the cells if the police have CLEAR EVIDENCE that you were caught dealing. Dealing CANNOT be proved without an undercover operative, marked notes or photographic evidence. 

A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

According to case law, an officer cannot search someone’s person, house or car simply because they believe the person is “suspicious”. This simply will not hold up in court.

Can I ask them to secure the perimeter and we get a 3rd party onto the property to search? This is very wishful thinking! If the police want to search it is best to allow them to do so. Objecting to the police searching your property / person means that it is you against the police and that is a very bad idea. You MUST be present when they search so take note if the various officers split up and search areas where you are not present. Be calm and observe what is happening very carefully. You are allowed to film the police. Tell the police that you know your rights but DO NOT speak to them more than you absolutely have to.

Something to think about: “You are the company that you keep.” Are you hanging around with dodgy characters who might lead the police to your property?!

You have to apply via a Police Station, details at link below

http://www.saps.gov.za/services/applying_clearence_certificate.php

Most records can only be removed with help from a lawyer, but there is a free way worth a try http://www.justice.gov.za/expungements.html

How Does This Affect My Life?

Charges will not show up in a criminal record search until you have signed and admitted guilt.  Travel or emigration plans should not be negatively affected. Our legal team or your attorney will be able to advise you in more detail.

When children are involved in an arrest the police have to work closely with the Dept of Social Services, who are charged with protecting the interests of the child. Matters involving children MUST be dealt with through an attorney to ensure that all procedures are followed correctly.

There is usually and attorney involved in every adoption / foster care process so you would be advised to inform that attorney immediately you are arrested on a Cannabis charge. Our legal team is also available to advise on the specifics of your case as it relates to adoption and foster care.

How do I protect my children?

The law treats citizens over the age of 18 as adults. You can protect your children of all ages by being open and honest about your Cannabis use. Sometimes this is difficult to explain to very young children but teenagers MUST know their rights as well as you know yours.

They can’t arrest them too, can they?

The police can arrest whoever they want to and they usually arrest all the people on the property. It is not advisable to try to talk them out of doing this as you want to have as little to say to the police as possible. Each case is different so be sure to know your rights so that you can help all involved to do the right thing. Contact us on 063 174 0938.

Only if you tell him / her, or the fact that you have been arrested comes out due to your absence from work. Remember to always tell the truth if you are asked but each case / employer is different so be sure to ask for legal advice on employment matters every step of the way. Bear in mind that you will need to be taking time off work for court appearances as well as various other case-related tasks.

Only if you tell them. You might use this as an opportunity to enlighten them about the latest scientific, medical and legal developments on the Cannabis front. Being open and honest about your Cannabis use is vital for a good relationship with your parents.

Police Procedure/Can We Get The Case Thrown Out?

We strongly recommend that you engage the services of an attorney to help you in this regard.

Officially, the people who you would turn to in the event of rape or assault by a police officer: http://www.icd.gov.za/lodge_complaint/lodge_complaint.asp

A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

According to case law, an officer cannot search someone’s person, house or car simply because they believe the person is “suspicious”. This simply will not hold up in court.

BE WARNED: Sometimes the court will say that the case is “struck off the roll” or “provisionally withdrawn”. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT EVERYTHING HAS GONE AWAY! Unless you have it IN WRITING that all charges have been dropped, the police can reinstate charges at any time. We have known of cases where the police came back with “new evidence” 3 years later!

Can the case be withdrawn based on this? Probably not, because police theft is a separate issue from Cannabis arrest.

If you have been arrested on a Cannabis charge and taken away from your property, make sure that nobody moves anything while you are away. When you get home, take detailed photographs (with a witness present) of any mess that the police may have made / things they may have broken. Also check all of your valuables and make a list of anything that is missing. You might have to prove that you owned them by producing “proof of purchase” (like you have to for insurance). When cases are complicated by police misconduct, we strongly advise you to employ the services of a trusted attorney who has experience in these matters.

It is very common for there to be no food available in police cells. Sorry if you were hungry but there is nothing worth doing about this once you have been released. You are, however, entitled BY LAW to make one phone call. Denying you this amounts to police misconduct and our office and / or your attorney can advise you on how to deal with this.

Previous Conviction Questions

Instructions to check your criminal record can be found here:
http://www.saps.gov.za/services/applying_clearence_certifiate.php

It could be costly to remove a record, but here is a free way that is worth trying http://www.justice.gov.za/expungements.html

If you have a record, contact us. We can help.

It will affect whether you can be released on Police Bail. You might not be granted Police Bail if you have any previous convictions. This will also mean that you will need to have an attorney present to represent you in court. We have negotiated a maximum fee from our team of attorneys for this purpose so contact us for help.

If the Admission of Guilt was signed less than 3 weeks ago and it can be proven to the Magistrate that you signed under duress, or the consequences weren’t explained then you can apply to have the Magistrate rescind (withdraw) the Admission of Guilt. If it was longer than  3 weeks ago you’ll have to wait 10 years in order to apply to have your criminal record expunged (cleared).  These can both be costly, lengthy processes. In some cases it can be done for free. Here is how http://www.justice.gov.za/expungements.html Also contact us if you have a record. We can help. Check if you have one at http://www.mie.co.za/services/criminal-record-check

General Questions

One word. NO. Unfortunately that would be up to the mood of the arresting officer and your initial reaction to him, so be polite. You cannot be arrested and/ or held in the cells for possession any longer. A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

Dealing CANNOT be proved without an undercover operative, marked notes or photographic evidence. Several bags or jars stored together (even near cash!) is NORMAL and still does NOT imply dealing and will NOT hold up in court.

YOU CANNOT ASSUME DEALING JUST BY HOW MUCH DAGGA SOMEONE POSSESSES

Quantity DOES NOT MATTER and is a useless measuring stick. BE AWARE that the law that says more than 115g of Cannabis constitutes dealing has been deemed UNCONSTITUTIONAL in S v Bhulwana; S v Gwadiso 1996 (1) SA 388 (CC).

Yes you can and we strongly advice you to go this route as soon as possible! You will most probably need the services of one of our experienced legal teams, especially if there is asset forfeiture, children, firearms or previous convictions involved. This can be costly but our legal team are experienced and we have negotiated appropriate fees with them for all the JoinTheQueue cases.

Yes they can. Sometimes the police will only arrest the person who is carrying the weed but if it is found in the car they will probably arrest everyone. Good friends will let you know if there is weed around. Be careful of the company you keep, don’t hang around with dodgy people! A person’s vehicle, home, bag and pockets are private spaces and cannot be searched without an original signed warrant shown beforehand.

The police do this in order to gather evidence in the case against you. Always be careful about what you store on electronic devices. Our legal team will assist you with chasing this up, but usually it’s a bit of a waiting game. Very important: Make sure that both you and the police have signed that they have the items. Ask for a copy of the receipt that is both signed and stamped.

There are various ways in which you can do this and thank you in advance for your support! The first step is to become a member of The Green Network and, in return for a monthly donation, you will be at the forefront of the campaign and be the first to know about further legal involvement. Contribute by joining the The Green Network as part of Fields of Green for ALL, our non-profit company; or make a once-off payment using the methods below. Put a coin in a Dagga Couple tin, smoke a little less primo this month & a little more shwag… donate the difference to do your bit. You owe it to the plant if you’re a user…

Read more: https://daggacouple.co.za/how-you-help-cannabis-activism/

Then the State has to dig out all of our files, find all the evidence (that hasn’t been sold or smoked) and go through the process of reinstating all of the JoinTheQueue cases.