THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
Five Things to Expect From Formal Police Interviews
You have the right to remain silent.
We’ve all heard the phrase, but how much do we really know?
In Australia, we all share the right to remain silent when speaking to the police.
However, some are far too quick to give up this right – for the main reason that they are unaware of their rights in the first place.
When and why you’re required to partake in a police interview
You may be required to partake in a police interview. This is required as part of a formal arrest or if you’re detained for questioning about an indictable offence.
If none of these are the case and you’re asked to accompany the police to the station for an interview, you have the right to refuse.
“The police can’t force you to go to the police station without arresting you. If they insist that you go with them, you can ask if you’re under arrest. If not, (under arrest) you don’t have to go.” (qld.gov.au)
When you’re in either of these situations, ask yourself the question: How well do you know your rights?
The law in Australia
No matter if you have actually committed an offence or are only suspected to have -when brought in for questioning, this common law applies:
As defined by the High Court of Australia, “A person may refuse to answer any question, or to produce any document or thing, if to do so may tend to bring him into the peril and possibility of being convicted as a criminal.”
Five Things to Expect from Formal Police Interviews
Whatever the case may be, it’s strongly advised that you use your right to silence – and seek legal advice before providing any statement to the police. Remember, everything that you say can and be used against you.
1. You’re on tape
Formal police interviews must be recorded electronically. This can be done during any correspondence with the police – from first contact to final questioning. So always be vigilant to what you say to the police.
2. Police must follow laws that protect your rights
The police questioning you should always be following the laws in place to protect your rights. They’ll do this by:
• letting you know that you’re allowed to contact support (friend, lawyer or other); • telling you about your right to remain silent and that you aren’t obligated to answer their questions; • communicating to you in a language you can understand – using interpreters when necessary; • giving you the necessary warnings before questioning you; • recording the warnings and the interview itself; and/or • giving you access to a free copy of the interview tape
3. Where ‘silence’ won’t benefit you
There are questions that you’ll be asked that, by law, you are required to answer. Police have the right to ask you these basic questions, therefore, failure to answer them will be considered as breaking the law.
The basic questions could be regarding: • your name and address; • broken traffic laws or whether you’ve seen an accident; and • your date and place of birth (in drug related incidents); There are also other questions police can ask under special laws. When you’re unsure of what to answer and what not to answer – it’s imperative that you seek the best and result-driven legal support from a law firm to assist you. This coincides with point 4 – your right to ask for support.
4. Your right to ask for support
Before your interview, you’re allowed to contact a support person (friend or relative) and a lawyer. This gives you the chance to arrange for them to be present during your formal interview, providing support and guidance.
However, if your support contact is seen to unreasonably interfere with your interview – they will be excluded. Because of this, any support person should refrain from interrupting the questioning, handing you answers or speaking for you.
To avoid mishaps, it’s advised you have a professional lawyer by your side. Although a support figure is good for the nerves, they’ll never be able to understand the correct ways around police questionings the way a professional lawyer can.
5. The need for a law firm
A key part of police questioning is the ability to access a lawyer.
If there’s anything taken from these five points, let this one be the one to take home: You should not confess or illude to anything without your lawyer present.
Some people may believe that they possess all the knowledge necessary to navigate through the police questioning alone. Even if you are well versed in the world of law, this is never advised. Anyone is susceptible to misspeaking, second-guessing or making mistakes. It’s simply human nature.
To avoid making a life changing mistake – please contact a lawyer to guide you through these police questionings.
Remember your rights
No matter your individual circumstance – it’s important you remember your rights.
With the correct law firm assisting you through your legal proceedings, police interviews and other law-related incidents; the probability of a fault-free future will greatly increase.
The Correct Law Firm for You
It’s important to know that you have a choice to select the best law firm for you. Many people make the mistake of opting out due to fear of costly expense – however, what these individuals later realise is that they would have been better off seeking the advice from accredited law firms instead. Their help always pays off in the end. Compared to a life behind bars – the cost of a lawyer is priceless.
Creevey Russell Lawyers, Brisbane, Toowoomba and Roma
Contact Creevey Russell Lawyers today for the best legal guidance, assistance and representation. You need support from a team of professionals who make your circumstance their main priority – above all else.
We’re here to help you.
Please reach out via phone on 07 3009 655 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org