Criminal Law in South Africa
Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, or any other illegal substance, has become a very common problem in our society, especially since the SAPS and Metro have clamped down on weekend drinking and often set up routine road blocks where tens if not hundreds of drivers are arrested at a time.
Having a criminal record for drunk driving can affect one’s job opportunities, travelling prospects as well as one’s personal life and self-confidence. At SDF Attorneys, we specialise in securing our drunken driving clients the most favourable result possible, which for most first time offenders, means that the drunken driving charge will not result in a conviction and will therefore never appear on our clients’ criminal records.
In more serious cases or where the client is a repeat offender, SDF Attorneys work together with our expert criminal counsel to ensure that the best possible sentence is imposed, whether that be community service, a fine or a period of imprisonment (which is hardly ever the case).
Lately there has been an incredibly long delay between the date of arrest and the date of first appearance, some delays even being more than a year in length. In these situations, and where the client cannot afford to have the charge “hanging over their heads” for such a long period of time, SDF Attorneys assist the client by making written representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions to request that the charge be withdrawn pending the outcome of the blood results. This ensures that the charge will not affect any travelling that the client is required to do for business purposes in the interim, for example.
Criminal Record Checks
Should a client be unsure of the status of their criminal record or should any individual simply wish to confirm that they do not have any criminal record, SDF Attorneys are able to perform a criminal record check on such a client, the results of which will be available within 48 hours of such a request being received.
SDF Attorneys charge a once off, all inclusive fee for this service. Such a fee is payable up front and will be refunded if the criminal record check cannot be completed for whatever reason.
Criminal Record Removals
Presidental Pardons – If a client has been convicted of an offence and a period of ten (10) years has not yet elapsed since the date of conviction, SDF Attorneys can assist such an individual with a Presidential Pardon application.
This application is quite in-depth and complex and must include clear and strong motivations to support your application to have your criminal record removed. Such an application takes approximately 2 years to finalise at the Department of Justice as there are many role players involved in the process. Ultimately the application will end up on the President’s desk and will require his approval – this is discretionary and such an application is therefore unfortunately not guaranteed. It is for this reason that it is recommended that a client utilise our services when preparing such an application, as SDF Attorneys know what to include in the application to make the chances of success as high as possible.
Expungements – If a client has been convicted of an offence and a period of ten (10) years has elapsed since the date of conviction, the client did not serve any direct imprisonment and did not pay a fine of more than R20 000 and the offence was not serious, sexually related or politically motivated, then the client will qualify for an expungement. This process takes approximately 4 months to finalise and is guaranteed, if the client meets the requirements listed above as per the Criminal Procedure Act as amended.
SDF Attorneys will assist the client by completing and submitting all of the required documentation on the client’s behalf and will also follow up with our contacts at the Department of Justice regularly to ensure that the application is being given the necessary amount of attention and to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in the obtaining of the expungement.
SDF Attorneys charge a once off, all inclusive fee for this service. Such a fee is payable up front and will be refunded if the expungement cannot be completed for whatever reason.