• You have the right to know why you are under arrest;
• You have the right to remain silent;
• You have the right to speak to a lawyer;
• You have the right to speak to a friend or family member before an interview;
• You have a right to an interpreter;
• If you are not an Australian citizen, you have the right to speak to the consulate of your country.
• State your full name and address. Giving a false name and address is a criminal offence.
• Provide your fingerprints at the end of the interview if you are believed to have committed a serious offence and are aged 15 or above (if you are aged between 10 and 14, the police must obtain a court order).
You do not have to:
• Go to a police station unless you have been told that you are under arrest.
• Answer any questions, or make a statement. You can exercise your right to silence or right to give a no comment interview. Exercising this right will not make you look any better or worse when your case comes to court. Remember, don’t selectively answer some questions and not answer others. You either tell the full truth, or exercise your right to silence.
• Participate in an identification parade, otherwise known as an identification line-up.
• Undergo a forensic procedure without a court order. This includes providing a DNA sample by an oral mouth swab or a hair sample.
• Have your photograph taken. While the police may take your photograph for identification purposes, they cannot force you to have your photograph taken if you do not provide your consent.
The right to speak with a lawyer:
Police must always read you your rights before conducting an interview with you, regardless of whether the interview is recorded or not. You should always exercise your right to obtain legal advice from one of our lawyers before saying anything to the police.
Because anything you say to the police can be used against you, and in our experience, most people are convicted as a result of what they have said to police in an interview. It is critical that you seek our advice prior to speaking with the police to avoid the potential of making matters worse – regardless of how big or small you think the issue is.
Keep in mind, there is no such thing as an “off the record” conversation with a police officer.
The right to silence:
Many lawyers tend to advise their clients to give a “no comment” record of interview in every case. While this may be the right advice in some cases, in others, that’s just taking a short-cut.
Sometimes it does benefit you to provide your version of events in a record of interview – but only after you have received proper legal advice. It does not help your case if you selectively answer some questions and not others, so it’s important that you contact us to obtain legal advice before you are interviewed.
If you have been asked to attend a police station for the purpose of being interviewed, or if you have participated in a police record of interview, contact our lawyers today – getting the right legal advice from lawyers who are experienced in criminal law may make all the difference to the outcome of your matter.