What are your rights when dealing with the police?
If you are questioned by the police, you will need to be aware of what your rights are:-
- You do not have to answer any questions, although, police can request that you give your name and address if they have a reasonable belief that you have committed an offence or are about to commit an offence. You may also ask for the name of the police officer who is asking you the questions;
- You do not have to accompany police to the police station unless you are arrested and been told what the charges are. A common example of this may be when you are taken by police to the police station for a breath test (ie. a DUI).
- You do not have to make a statement, you are entitled to remain silent.
- You have the right to refuse to participate in an identification parade (ie. a line-up).
- You can also refuse a forensic procedure (or body sample) without a Court order.
- You have the right, if arrested, to make phone call to a friend or family member and to a lawyer.
Police, however, do have the right to use force to take your fingerprints, if they believe you have committed an offence and you are aged 15 years or over. If between the ages of 15 and 17 the police officer must have a parent, guardian or independent person present. If between the ages of 10 and 14 and you and your parent or guardian do not agree to having your fingerprints taken, the police will need a Court order.
Many people are convicted as a result of admissions they make during their discussions and interviews with the police and therefore it is important that you know some of your basic rights when dealing with the police.
Police officers have a right to search you if they either have a warrant or they have arrested you. All searches must be recorded in writing and if you have been searched, you should consider asking for a copy of the record. There are limited circumstances where a police officer may search you if you are not under arrest or if there is a warrant and these include: if you have consented to the search or if they suspect you have committed a particular offence in a public place.
We can assist you with all aspects of any involvement you have the police either at the interview/questioning stage or if you are charged. For more information on litigation and criminal law click here.