Have you been arrested?
Being arrested and taken to a police station is an anxious and stressful time, and it is very important that you are aware of your rights. At Qamar Solicitors, our criminal defence solicitors are very experienced in offering our clients swift, expert legal advice at the police station, whatever the offence and whenever you need it.
What happens if you are arrested?
If you are arrested on suspicion of having committed an offence, you would usually be taken to a local police station so that you can be asked some questions. You will be taken into custody in a cell, and held there for a short time until you are brought out for questioning.
Once you have been questioned, you will either be released, or you will be charged with a crime.
All individuals are protected by some important rights when in custody, and these should be carefully explained to you when you arrive at the station by the custody sergeant. These include:
- The right to free legal advice
- The right to inform someone that you have been arrested, and where you are
- The right to be aware of the rules the police are required to follow when dealing with you (the police Codes of Practice)
- The right to medical assistance if you are feeling ill, and
- The right to see a written notice setting out all your rights while in custody, including regular food breaks (and if necessary an interpreter to make sure you understand your rights)
What happens when you are questioned?
There are particular rights you are entitled to while you are being questioned by the police.
At the beginning of the interview, you will be read the police caution which explains the purpose of the interview and how your responses may be used in court if you are charged with the offence. The words of the police caution are:
You do not have to say anything. However, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.
The interview will be recorded to make sure that nothing you say is misrepresented or misunderstood.
Your right to free legal advice
You are entitled to free legal advice before you are questioned at the police station. At Qamar Solicitors we are very experienced in attending police stations to help our clients through the process of being interviewed under caution, and to give expert legal advice.
You will be told about your right to free legal advice when you arrive at the station (the police station will have a â€˜duty solicitorâ€™ available 24 hours a day). Alternatively, you can ask the police to contact a solicitor of your choice. You can be offered legal advice over the phone if you are arrested for a minor offence such as being drunk and disorderly.
It is very important that you are aware that the police cannot question you without offering free legal advice.
When you can be released
The police can only keep you in custody for relatively short periods. You may be held for up to 24 hours before they decide whether to charge you with an offence. For serious crimes such as murder the police may apply to a magistrate for permission to hold you for up to 96 hours. If you are arrested under the Terrorism Act, you may be held without charge for up to 14 days.
How does bail work?
If the police do not have enough evidence to charge you, they may release you on police bail. You donâ€™t have to pay anything to leave custody, but will be obliged to return to the police station for further questioning when asked.
You may be released on conditional bail, which means there may be terms to your release such as a curfew. There are a number of reasons why you may be released on conditional bail, for example if the police believe you may commit another offence or fail to attend court when asked.
Fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples
The police have a right to take photographs of you, and may also take fingerprints and DNA samples, and they can do this without your permission. Â However, if they wish to take a sample of your blood or urine, they will need your permission, as well as the authority of a senior police officer.
If you are concerned that your rights while in custody are not being properly respected, we can act on your behalf.
How can we help?
The expert criminal defence lawyers at Qamar Solicitors are available for immediate advice and representation at the police station and after. Â Contact us as soon as you for legal help.