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Know Your Rights

The Police Station, Arrest & Detention FAQs

Police Station FAQs

Below are some of the more frequently asked questions by clients about the investigation (police station) stages of cases. The answers here do not constitute legal advice and you should contact us to discuss the specific facts of your case with us before making any legal decisions.

  • The police have asked me to attend the police station for a chat. Should I go? What does this mean?

    The first thing you should ask of the police in this situation is whether you are a suspect in a criminal investigation. If you are then the police have to treat you in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. If you receive a phone call inviting you down to the police station for either a chat or an interview contact us immediately.

  • Can the police arrest me without reason?

    No. The police have to have reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are about to commit a criminal offence. Additionally, for your arrest to be lawful it must be necessary as defined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Code G. The police have to inform you of your arrest and tell you why you are being arrested as soon as it is practicable. Challenges to the lawfulness of arrest and detention should be done as soon after the fact of both as possible. This is one of the reasons why you need a lawyer at the police station.

  • Can I have free legal advice at the police station?

    Yes you can have a lawyer and you don’t have to pay. This is a free service where we aim to arrive within 45 minutes of being told by the police that they are ready to interview. We are contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week for Police Station representation and we will gladly represent you. If you have a pre-arranged appointment with the police you can always call us direct beforehand and, despite what the police may say, you do not have to ask for the Duty Solicitor- you can request your own solicitor.

  • Won’t it take longer if I ask for a lawyer?

    As stated above we will seek to arrive within 45 minutes of being requested to attend. In reality when you are first arrested the police are hardly ever in a position to deal with you straight away and interview you immediately. Often we will speak to the police and seek to agree a time when they think they will be ready to deal with you so there can be as little delay as possible. If you are still not convinced, think of it this way: if the time you spent in the police station waiting for a lawyer increased your chances of not being charged, securing a ‘Not Guilty’’ verdict at trial or a lower sentence, wouldn’t it be worth the wait?

  • Doesn’t it make me look guilty if I have a lawyer?

    No. It is your right in law and there is nothing wrong with exercising your legal rights. If there was, you would not have those rights in the first place.

  • Why do I need a lawyer if I am going to tell the truth?

    Whether you are going to tell the truth or not is not the point. In law it is for the Prosecution, comprising usually of the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, to prove your guilt: it is not for you to prove your innocence. This underpins your right to remain silent. Remember you cannot be convicted by your silence alone and once you have said something in evidence e.g. under caution in a police interview, it cannot be unsaid.

  • Can the police interview me if I am unwell?

    No. You have to be fit for interview and this means healthy in body and mind. Therefore if you are physically unwell, in pain or possibly have mental health issues which affect your judgement then you cannot be interviewed under those circumstances. When we arrive at the police station we will ensure your welfare has been taken care of. If an interview does proceed, despite these difficulties you have raised, then there may be legal argument to challenge the admissibility of that interview.

  • If I am not charged and released can I bring an action against the police?

    This depends on a number of factors. In most cases, despite what you may have seen on television, you may not be able to take legal action against the police if they have properly arrested and interviewed you. If they have not then we can discuss if you have a case against the police.

  • What happens after interview?

    There are a number of things that could happen. In many cases charging does not take place straight away. If you are to be charged that day this could still take a number of hours with the police often having to take advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. You could be released on bail with or without conditions, initially for a period of 28 days, to return on another day whilst the police conduct further enquiries. This could include taking further statements from witnesses or forensic analysis of other evidence gathered during the investigation.

    If you are bailed then you may have conditions placed upon you. For example, if your cases is an allegation of domestic assault, you may not be able to contact the partner you are accused of assaulting and would therefore have to find alternative accommodation if you both live together. Bail conditions apply until they are varied or discharged either by the police or by a Magistrates Court.

  • How long can I be kept on bail for?

    The police can, with the authorisation of an Inspector, initially release you on bail for a period up to 28 days. This time is known as the Applicable Bail Period and begins running the day after you are released from custody (the day after you are released from custody is called your ‘Bail Start Date’). After this first 28-day period a police officer of the rank of Superintendent or above can increase your Applicable Bail Period to a total of three months.

    There are exceptional cases (known as Designated Cases) where the police have the power to extend your Applicable Bail Period up to six months if authorised by an Assistant Chief Constable.

    Alternatively, and far more likely, you will be released under investigation (RUI). This means that you are released from police custody but the police will continue to investigate the case. You will have no restrictions placed upon your liberty but you would be well advised to avoid talking to any witnesses in your case or attending the scene of the alleged incident if practicable. If you do either of these things you may find yourself subject to further investigation for offences against justice. If you are currently released under investigation and did not have a lawyer at the police station please contact us as we will help you find out what the status of your case is and at what stage the police investigation is at.

  • What happens if the police cannot extend my bail anymore because the three month or six-month period has run out?

    The police can apply to a Magistrates Court to extend your Applicable Bail Period. The Magistrates Court has the power to extend your Applicable Bail Period by a maximum of six months. Alternatively, the police can release you under investigation meaning your obligations under police bail, including any conditions, cease.

  • I have been released under investigation. How long am I going to be under investigation for?

    This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get from clients. The vast majority of police investigations now feature suspects released under investigation. Some investigations due to their nature take much longer than others. For example, in a complex fraud where there is a lot of documentary evidence and perhaps digital evidence, there is the likelihood that you will be released under investigation for a long period of time.

    Compounding this is the fact that investigations where suspects have been released on bail will inevitably take priority due to the time constraints. At Levales we have a dedicated unit that track the status of all cases at the police station so we are able to keep clients regularly informed. If you are currently released under investigation and do not have a solicitor please contact us so that we may assist you in finding out the status of your case.

  • What happens when the investigation is finished?

    Following the conclusion of the police investigation a decision will be made as to what happens next. You may find that the police take no further action which means, unless further evidence comes to light, that is the end of the matter. In our experience this is highly unusual but you must be aware that this is a possibility.

    Alternatively, for example you may be offered a Caution whether that is a simple caution or one subject to conditions. We will explain the implications of these outcomes, among others, when required.

    Finally, you may find you are charged with one or more offences and be required to attend Court. This can be done by the police who will then bail you to Court or remand you in custody for you to be produced at the next available Magistrates Court sitting. If you have been released under investigation you will likely be sent a Court Summons or Postal Requisition (effectively a charge sheet) via the post requiring you to attend Court on a given date and time.

    If you have received a Postal Requisition or Summons please contact us so that we can advise you of the next steps.