Being approached by the police can be an unnerving experience.
If the police contact or approach you claiming they want to ask some questions, you may be unsure about what you should do. It’s important to understand what may be involved in police questioning, and what your rights are, to ensure you don’t find yourself in a more serious situation.
What’s involved with speaking to the police
Police may want to talk to you if you witnessed a crime or if they believe you’re a suspect. If you agree to speak with the police, it’s important to understand what this may involve and your rights.
Unless you’re under arrest, you cannot be forced to go to the police station. If police ask you to come in for voluntary questioning, you are entitled to ask whether you are under arrest. If you are not under arrest, it’s up to you whether you go or not. As soon as you are contacted by police, you should contact Stary Norton Halphen for legal advice. We provide advice 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
When speaking to the police, anything you say is recorded and can be used against you at a later date. You can’t take something back once you’ve said it. Many people can feel nervous when talking with the police which can result in you getting confused or misunderstanding a question. You may trip over your words or provide the wrong information without realising, or you may get caught off guard by some questions.
Right to remain silent
You have the right to remain silent or make no comment in response to questions by police. By exercising this right, you preserve your position.
Remember that there is no such thing as ‘off the record’ and anything you say to the police can be used against you. Even if they say you’re a witness, this could change to you being a suspect if you say something incriminating. You may not even realise you’ve said something incriminating until it’s too late.
There are specific situations where you may want to answer questions by the police and it is in your best interests to do so. This is a very important decision, and one that you should only make if you have spoken to a lawyer.
There are some instances where you may be breaking the law by not answering questions, and you must understand what these are, and be clear about your rights. These may include if the police ask for your name and address, providing information if you’re suspected of breaking traffic laws or being a witness to an accident. The police may ask for your name and address if they believe you have committed an offence, or are about to commit one, but they cannot demand this information without a reason.
If you’re not sure about whether you have to answer questions, it’s best to get legal advice and request to speak to a criminal lawyer in Melbourne before answering any questions
Contact a lawyer
If the police contact you, even ‘just to talk’, it’s important to seek advice from a lawyer first.
During a conversation with the police, you may end up accidentally saying something that could incriminate you. Some people may think if they are innocent, having a lawyer will make them look guilty, however, hiring a lawyer is always in your best interests.
When you engage in police questioning they can often ask the same questions in different ways, and when you’re unprepared this can be confusing and result in you providing answers that are not carefully thought out.
A criminal lawyer will be able to assess why the police want to question you and advise you on the best course of action to protect your interests,
For criminal lawyers in Melbourne, Stary Norton Halphen have extensive experience across a range of criminal offences.