- Your right to legal advice
- Your rights relating to fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples
- Your rights to being dealt with out of court
- If you are charged with a crime
If you are arrested and then taken to a police station then the police should inform you of the following rights you have:
- to notify someone of your arrest;
- to request legal advice and assistance; and
- to access and view the Codes of Practice for the police.
A police officer should also advise you, as a suspect of a crime, that your right to legal advice can be exercised at any time during the period of arrest, which is also sometimes referred to as ‘detention’.
The police should provide you with a written notice of your rights while attending a police station and advise you of tyour right to provided with a copy of the custody record upon release from detention.
The custody record contains information such as whether you wish to receive legal advice and this is signed by you at the request of the police.
if you request for someone to be informed of your arrest, the police should grant this request promptly. The only exception to this is if you have been arrested for a certain class of offence and a superintendent (or higher ranking police officer) grants permission for your request to be delayed.
The police officer authorising a delay must have reasonable grounds for believing that informing some other individual of your arrest would, for example, compromise the evidence.
If a delay in meeting your request to inform someone is authorised, the police should then inform you of this and note the reason for the delay on the custody record. The maximum delay is 36 hours and 48 hours in the case of a terrorist offence.
Generally, the police cannot detain you in custody for more than 24 hours without charge or 36 hours when authorised by a superintendent or higher ranking officer. With the permission of the magistrates, the police can hold you in custody for up to a maximum of 96 hours.
However, if you have been arrested on suspicion of committing terrorist offences then, with a judge’s permission, you can be held for up to a maximum of 14 days.
1. Your right to legal advice
You have the right to receive free legal advice from a solicitor, either in person or over the phone, regardless of your financial status.
Upon requesting legal advice, the police must not question you. Consequently, you do not have to respond to any questions from a police officer following your arrest until you have contacted your solicitor.
2. Your rights relating to fingerprints, photographs and DNA samples
The police can take your fingerprints, photographs and a DNA swab from you if you have been:
- received a caution;
- received a warning; or
- or received a reprimand.
As of 31st October 2013, if you have not been convicted of a minor offence, then your fingerprints and DNA must be removed from the National DNA Database once a search has been conducted to discover whether there is a match with any other crimes on the database.
3. Your rights to being dealt with out of court
If the police have sufficient evidence against you, as a suspect of a crime, then you may be charged and prosecuted.
However, the police have powers to deal with suspects out of court, by way of ‘out of court disposals’ where they may issue you with a warning for possession of a small amount of cannabis, for instance. However, you must agree to an out of court disposal.
4. If you are charged with a crime
If you are charged with a crime, the police will provide you with a charge sheet that contains details of the crime they are accusing you of committing. They will then decide whether you should be held in custody until a court hearing or whether you should be released on bail.
Bail set of rules or conditions for the your release. For further information on this, read: What is bail and how does it work?
External link: What are my rights if I am arrested?
Author: FindLaw UK