What should I do if I am arrested by the police?

Being arrested by the police is always a difficult and emotional situation. Changes in legislation can mean that it is now in a client’s interests if her/his solicitor does not turn up at the police station. For that reason it is important to remember some key things if you are arrested:

  • Try to stay calm throughout the process. Being abusive or obstructive will only hinder the process and you could face additional charges, which carry severe penalties.
  • Give police your name and address when asked.
  • Ask why you have been arrested.
  • Ask to speak to a lawyer and call the Federation to get some over-the-phone advice. Recent changes to legislation mean that if your solicitor is with you at the police station, the police can give you a different caution, which allows your silence to later be used against you in court. It is therefore our usual practice to not attend police stations in criminal matters.
  • Do not under any circumstances answer any questions. Simply state “I refuse to answer” should they need you to record your answers on tape.
  • Be particularly careful with idle chitchat at the police station. Officers are trained to try to get information out of you under the guise of harmless conversation.
  • You should not sign anything or provide any written statement.
  • Do not admit guilt to any offence. Each offence is made up of several elements and you might not understand what you are admitting to.
  • If the police have asked you to come into the station to avoid being arrested, you should do so. Make sure you take as few possessions inside with you. In particular, it is advisable not to take your mobile phone. If you do use your mobile phone in front of police (they will sometimes hand it to you to look up a number or make a call) make sure that you re-lock it before handing it back.
  • If you are charged, make sure you understand what you are being charged with, and your bail conditions and court date.

As soon as you have left the station, call the Federation to arrange to get advice from our solicitors. about what you should do next.

NEW Law is the firm appointed by the AEU-NSW Teachers Federation Branch to support and assist the union and its members. NEW Law’s services are also available to union members and their families for private legal matters at union rates.

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