Arrests can happen at the scene of alleged illegal activity, or following an investigation. If you ever find yourself in this position, there are 5 key things you should remember:
- Avoid resisting or struggling with police when they arrest you. If you resist or struggle with police in the process of an arrest, you could be charged with the offence of Assault on a Public Officer, or Obstructing a Police Officer.
- Only answer questions which you must answer by law. There is no such thing as an ‘off the record’ conversation with police, so avoid engaging in general ‘chit chat’. Anything you say to police may be used as evidence against you in court.
You have a general right to silence and your exercise of this right cannot be used against you. However, there are some exceptions to the right of silence, and these include:
a) the provision of your personal details – your name, current address and date of birth;
b) if you are pulled over when you are driving – the provision of your personal details, the name and address of the person responsible for the vehicle and your driver’s licence; and
c) if drugs are involved – you must answer questions about the manufacture, sale or supply of illegal drugs and plants, and also any questions about property that is related to the manufacturing, sale or supply of illegal drugs and plants.
If you are unsure about whether the question is one which you must answer, ask police whether the law requires you to answer that question.
- Seek legal advice before participating in an interview and before providing a statement to police. Otherwise, you may be running the risk of self-incrimination.
- Know your rights – you have a number of rights as an arrested person and these include the right to:
a) any necessary medical treatment;
b) a reasonable opportunity to communicate, or to attempt to communicate, with a relative or friend to inform that person of your whereabouts. Note, however, that the police can refuse to let you contact a person if they reasonably suspect that the contact will compromise their investigation, such as evidence being destroyed or hidden.
c) assistance from an interpreter if you do not understand or speak English very well;
d) to be informed of the offence for which you have been arrested (if you are arrested under a warrant or on suspicion of having committed an offence) and any other offences that you are suspected of having committed.
- If you are charged, seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
If you are kept in police custody, seek legal advice about whether making a bail application is appropriate in your circumstance.
If you are released on police bail, seek legal advice about the charge(s) against you and your options forward.
If you require legal advice or representation, we have experienced criminal lawyers available to assist you.
Please contact us on (08) 9228 2881.
Disclaimer – The articles provided by Equitas Lawyers are for general information only. While every care has been taken in preparing these articles, they are intended to be a guide only, and no warranty is given as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained in them. The articles are not intended to be, nor should it be, relied upon as a substitute for legal or other professional advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular matters.