Know your Rights ! Part – 2

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When you are arrested you will usually be taken to a police station where you will be held in a cell in custody pending further investigations.

During this period of detention, you are entitled to legal advice.

 

Legal advice at the police station:

The police station duty solicitor scheme enables a person who is arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence to consult a solicitor, either in person or on the telephone (and frequently both) whilst in police custody. This right is most often taken up when the suspect is to be interviewed concerning their suspected involvement in a crime or criminal matter.

You can also request to see your own solicitor if you prefer.

Police questioning

Whether, you take up the Police Duty Solicitor schemes remains your choice – however, the officer in charge will question you regarding  the crime you’re suspected of – this will be recorded. You don’t have to answer the questions but there could be consequences if you don’t. The police must explain this to you by reading you the following caution:

“You do not have to say anything. However, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

It is worth noting that the police can only hold you for up to 24 hours before they have to charge you with a crime or release you. However, they can apply to hold you for up to 36 or 96 hours if you’re suspected of a serious crime, e.g. murder. You can be held without charge for up to 14 days if you’re arrested under the Terrorism Act.

The police also have the right to take photographs of you. They can also take fingerprints and a DNA sample (e.g. from a mouth swab or head hair root) from you as well as swab the skin surface of your hands and arms. They don’t need your permission to do this. However, the police do need both your permission and the authority of a senior police officer to take samples like blood or urine, or to take dental impressions. This doesn’t apply when they take a blood or urine sample in connection with drink or drug driving.

After questioning, you may be released, bailed pending further investigations or charged with a crime. If you are charged with a crime, you will be given a charge sheet with details of the crime you are accused of committing and the court you must attend.

Legal advice at magistrate’s court

Further support is available through the court duty solicitor scheme which allows a person that has already been charged with an offence to consult with and be represented by a solicitor at the Magistrates’ Court on their first appearance if they do not have, or simply have not contacted, their own solicitor.

The right to see the duty solicitor applies equally to those defendants, who are in custody or on bail. However if the defendant is on bail and charged with an offence that does not carry a sentence of imprisonment the duty solicitor is not permitted to act.

Source : www.gov.uk

Useful resources

The National Statistics release contains figures on Arrests and Detentions, Stops and Searches, Fixed Penalty Notices and Breath Tests.

These statistics show that:

 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-powers-and-procedures-england-and-wales-2010-to-2011-second-edition

Stop and Search App: Know your rights, upload your experience and keep key information close by. Download the app at www.stopandsearch.org

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