If an allegation of criminal conduct has been made about you, even before you are contacted by police you should immediately get legal advice from a criminal lawyer. This is to ensure that you do not say anything to anyone that police may use against you in the future.
If you have been arrested or contacted by the police to attend for an interview in relation to an allegation it is important to you understand your rights, the powers the police have and the steps you can take to ensure your rights are protected.
If after the interview the police charge you then an experienced criminal lawyer in Melbourne will help you in understanding the case against you, what defences are available to you, how to navigate court, what your options are and how to set about achieving the best outcome.
There can be various situations in which you’re required, or requested, to attend a police interview. This may include if you’re a witness to a crime, or if you’re being questioned as a suspect. A witness can be anyone that has seen or has information about an event or issue that the police are investigating whereas a suspect is someone that the police consider may have committed a criminal offence.
Police interviews can be intimidating, and for many people, it’s an unfamiliar process. You want to have a clear understanding of exactly what you’re being questioned about.
If you’re contacted by the police and asked to come in for an interview, contacting a criminal lawyer is critical. On your behalf, a lawyer will ask why you are being requested to speak to police, and whether you are coming in as a witness or a suspect. A lawyer can get an idea of the allegations, and advise you what you should do. Even if you’re being questioned as a witness, it may still be in your best interest to hire a lawyer, as you can answer questions as a witness that incriminate you and possibly result in criminal charges.
An experienced criminal lawyer will explain your rights to you and help you in making the important decision of either providing an account to the police or exercising your right to remain silent. If you choose to give an account, what you say becomes evidence in court. It follows that it is very helpful to you if, before you are interviewed, you know your rights, understand the interview process and have a strategy in place. Once you have a plan in place, you can arrange a date and time to attend the interview.
It is also possible for the police to arrest you to interview you before you have had an opportunity to contact a lawyer which can be a very stressful situation. You always have the right to speak to a lawyer if you are under arrest, and you should do so before you have any formal or informal conversations with police.
If you’re questioned by the police, the police must advise you of your right to remain silent. You do not have to answer any questions, apart from confirming your name and address. If you decide to remain silent or answer ‘no comment’, you should maintain this throughout the whole interview, rather than answering some questions and not others.
A lawyer can liaise with the police on your behalf and give you advice to protect you.
If you attended the interview as a suspect then the police may;
It largely depends on the circumstances as to whether you’re charged immediately following the police interview. If you are charged then your criminal lawyer will work with you to strategise your defence to help you get the best outcome for your case. They will advise you throughout the experience, answering any of your questions to ensure you understand what’s involved with your case and what potential penalties you may be facing if you’ve been charged with a criminal offence. Importantly, having a lawyer engaged means they can prepared for any bail application is one needs to be made.
In many cases, you will be released without being charged following a police interview, and it may be unclear whether you will be charged in the future. In this instance, you should speak to a lawyer to work out the next steps and what you may need to do to prepare in the event you are charged with an offence at a later date.
If you have attended the interview as a witness then the police may ask you to write a statement. However, you cannot be forced to make one. If you do make a statement then the police will ask you to sign it. If the matter goes to court, you could be asked to attend court and provide evidence as part of the court process.
If you’re being interviewed by police concerning a criminal offence, by law the police are required to read you your rights, and this includes your right to a legal defence. Your lawyer can attend your interview with you, and provide legal advice before your interview as well as provide ongoing advice if you are charged with a criminal offence. If you’ve been questioned by the police, or are contacted to attend a police interview, contact the team at Stary Norton Halphen for criminal lawyers experienced in all legal matters.
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Doyle's Guide First Tier Criminal Law firm (2020, 2021 and 2022).