Your Rights When You Are Arrested By The Police
Although many people will go into a blind panic if they are arrested by the police for the first time ever, any of the best criminal lawyers will tell you, if you know your rights in advance, it should not prove to be too scary.
Incidentally, we write this with no thought whatsoever as to anyone’s guilt or innocence, so whether you did or not commit the crime, the process, and your rights with regards to being arrested, are exactly the same.
We’ll start by outlining under what circumstances the police have right to arrest you. They are, 1) They reasonably suspect that you have committed, or are about to commit, a crime, 2) They have a warrant for your arrest, and, 3) They believe you to be a risk to a member of your family.
When they arrest you, you must not refuse to go with the police officer. That means if you try to resist, even if you are innocent of the crime they suspect you of, you are now committing an offence. Bear in mind the police can use reasonable force if you resist arrest
It is perfectly understandable that people might panic if they are arrested for the first time ever, and they know, or at least believe, they have committed no offence. The key is to remain calm and cooperate with the police no matter how unjustified you believe your arrest to be.
When arrested you are under no obligation to say anything to the police other than to provide them with your name and address. You should also tell the police if you are under 18 as the laws relating to being held in police custody differ. In this case, you must have a parent, guardian, or another adult with you when being questioned.
For an adult, you have the right to call a family member or friend before the police question you, as well as obviously being able to contact your legal representative, which is likely to be a criminal lawyer.
For those who do not speak English, they have the right to have an interpreter present, and you can also refuse to take part in any line-up or have your photograph taken.
With regards to the police requesting fingerprints you cannot refuse, and if need be, they can take them using reasonable force, however, body samples do require a court order if you refuse permission for them to be taken.
If you have been arrested and the police wish to question you, they can hold you for up to 8 hours, but only for 4 of those 8 hours are they allowed to question you.
If the police wish to extend the time period, they must apply to a justice of the peace or a magistrate, who may grant that they are allowed to hold you up to 12 hours. Beyond 12 hours can only be sanctioned by a magistrate.
Bear in mind, whether it’s 4, 8, 12 hours, or longer, at no point are you obliged to say anything to the police, and the right to remain silent applies throughout.
Once they have finished questioning you, there are several possibilities. The police could release you without charge, or they may charge you and give you bail, meaning you are released until your court date. If they wish to keep you in custody, they will take you to court, where you are entitled to apply for bail.