Imagine you have just been arrested… and the police want to interview you.
You are scared, confused, and you do not know what to do or what to say, you do not even know what your rights are.
If you are under arrest and charged with an offence, the arresting officer should state the following:
- You are under arrest or similar words;
- The reason for the arrest.
You can comply with the request and accompany the police officer to the police station, or you will be physically restrained. Please note that resisting arrest is against the law.
Generally, you have the right to remain silent; however, certain legislation allows police to ask some questions which must be answered. Also, the police in Queensland do not have to caution you about your right to silence. So, it is always advisable if uncertain to ask “Am I legally required to answer that question, or do I have the right to remain silent?”
Once you are arrested, you will be taken to the police station or watch-house for processing.
While In custody, police have the power to search you and your belongings, take your property (which they will provide a receipt for) and take your identifying particulars e.g. finger prints, palms prints, photos of tattoos etc.
Don’t panic – ask to speak with a lawyer. The police will delay the interview process for a reasonable time until you get legal advice.
Whether you participate in a recorded interview will depend on a case by case basis; therefore, it’s paramount you get the right advice. When considering whether to participate in a recorded interview, remember the following:
- What you say will be recorded and can be used against you in court;
- The objective of the police interview is to gather more evidence, obtain an admission of guilt, or obtain a version of events favourable to the police;
- Sometimes, what you say can lead to further charges that police were not aware of, or even worse, you can implicate others;
- Police officers are experienced in conducting interviews.
If you intend to participate in a recorded interview with your lawyer present, you can do so. You can also participate with a “no comment” interview. This is essentially where you only state your name and address as required during the interview and a “no comment” to any other question. If you do decide to do a “no comment” interview, it is important that you do not partially answer questions as that can be used against you in court.
Once the interview process is concluded, you will either be released or kept in custody depending on a number of factors. The police might keep you overnight and then release you on bail, keep you in custody depending on the strength of evidence or If you confess, or simply release you without charge.
Whatever the charge, whatever the circumstances – always seek legal advice before speaking with the police. This will ensure that you get the right advice from someone who has experience and knowledge of the law for the best possible outcome.
Asmir Kospic is a placement student at Stephens & Tozer Solicitors, undertaking work across an extensive range of legal practice areas. Should you have any questions or concerns in relation to a criminal law matter, please contact our team at Stephens & Tozer.
4 December 2017