Police Records of Interview – Your Rights
If the police want to speak to you about a matter, the first thing you should do is get advice from one of our lawyers at Ondrik Larsen Lawyers. Why? Because, anything you do say in a police interview can be used against you, and the majority of convictions arise from what has been said in the police record of interview, so it is always important to get legal advice to avoid the potential of making matters worse.
Keep in mind there is no such thing as an “off the record” conversation with a police officer, so be careful what you say.
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 at all if you selectively answer some questions and not others, so it’s important you get legal advice before you participate in a police interview.
At the conclusion of your police interview, you will be given a copy of the recording and it’s crucial that you provide it to our office as soon as possible. Why? Because we can start working on your case immediately, regardless of whether or not you have been charged. If you haven’t been charged yet, we may be able to avoid charges altogether if you act quickly enough. If you have been charged, we can start developing a strategy and begin gathering evidence from the police.
Your rights in a police interview:
- 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.
When you have been asked to participate in a record of interview, 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.
You do have to:
- 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).
After you have been interviewed, the police will either:
a) Release you without charging you;
b) Release you pending summons. This means that they intend on charging you later and you will probably receive your charge and summons in the mail. Alternatively, they will give you a notice to appear;
c) Charge you but either:
– Release you on bail from the police station; or
– Have a bail justice attend the police station to release you on bail.
d) Charge you and bring you to the Magistrates’ Court to make an application to remand you in custody. You will be able to make an application for bail in the Magistrates’ Court for all other charges other than murder and treason which will need to be made in the Supreme Court. For further information on making an application for bail, click here.
You have a right to apply for bail before a Bail Justice at the police station. If the Bail Justice refuses bail, you will be taken to the Magistrates’ Court where the police will make an application to remand you in custody. You will be able to make an application for bail in the Magistrates’ Court.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and not released after a police interview, contact Ondrik Larsen Lawyers immediately. We can see you in custody and get the ball rolling to make an application for bail as quickly as possible. For more information on bail, click here.