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Who to call when your are arrested by the police

Being arrested can be very daunting. Understandably your first reaction is to panic, which can make it difficult to make the right choices. To make matters worse, the average person is not familiar with the law which can lead to mistakes or accidental waiving of rights.

Of course, when you feel endangered it can be hard to keep a level head. That’s where criminal lawyers come in. We are here to help when legal situations go beyond your control.

Firstly, stay calm and don’t get angry or abusive.

After an arrest, the police must inform you that you are under arrest and provide a reason for your arrest. Whether you’re right or wrong in the situation, it’s important to remain calm and not resist arrest.

The police will take you into custody after your arrest and may:

  • *  Ask for your name and address

  • *  Interview you

  • *  Fingerprint you

  • *  Search you

  • *  Ask to photograph you

  • *  Charge you

Before interviewing you, the police officer must inform you of your rights, this is called a caution. These rights are there to protect you. If you do not understand your rights ask the police officer to repeat them or explain them in more detail.

Once the police officer has informed you of your rights ask to speak to a lawyer. You have the right to contact your lawyer in private where the police cannot hear you.

During the police interview you will again be cautioned and asked a series of questions about the allegations you are facing. Other than giving the police your name and address you are not required to answer any other questions. In fact, you have a right not to answer them. That right can be exercised by answering ‘no comment’ to each question you are asked.

It is generally advisable to respond ‘no comment’ to a police officer’s questions, particularly if you are nervous or unsure or have not been able to speak with a lawyer to obtain legal advice. Importantly, you should never answer the questions you find easy to answer and respond ‘no comment’ to the questions you find challenging or you think will incriminate you. To be clear, exercising your rights and answering ‘no comment’ means answering no comment to every question you are asked by the police.

Where possible seek legal advice before you are interviewed. However, if you are arrested before that happens remember you still have a right to be given an opportunity to speak with a lawyer. Use that right to determine what the best course of action is for you.

If you are charged with an indictable offence the interview must be recorded if the police want to rely on it in court. The police officer must give you a copy of the interview, this will be important for your lawyer.

You will be requested to provide your fingerprints. You must comply with this request otherwise the police can use reasonable force to obtain your fingerprints.

You may be requested to provide a DNA sample. You can refuse to do this requiring the police to attend Court to seek permission to obtain it from. If they get that permission they are then able to use reasonable force to obtain your DNA.

You are under no obligation to submit to your photo being taken by police.

If you are under the age of 18, tell the police officer immediately. Minors have the right to a parent, guardian or Independent Person (an adult) present when questioned.

The legal system is complex and it’s highly likely you have other rights due to your specific circumstance. We recommend seeking legal advice as soon as possible to find out what your rights are.