As part of general Police investigations into criminal offences, they will want to interview a number of people about the matter. This could include witnesses, experts and suspects. If you think you are a suspect, and Police want to interview you, it’s important to know your rights.
Do I have to answer any questions put to me by the Police?
At this initial stage of a Police investigation, you cannot be compelled to answer any questions beyond your name, address and your birthday.
Answering any other questions is something you shouldn’t do until you’ve spoken to a solicitor and received expert advice about your options.
Likewise, unless you’re arrested, you can’t be compelled to accompany police to the Police station. You can simply ask if you have been arrested to determine if you must attend the Police station.
Protecting your rights when being spoken to by Police
If Police come to your home or when you are at work or in a public place, it’s important to note that they often have “field recorders” running while questioning you. You can use this fact to your advantage by asking if the field recorder is running and asking for the interviewing officer’s identification and badge number. It is a requirement of Police to provide identification if asked to do so.
Being aware of these facts will help focus your attention on your “right to silence” and using that right to give you time to speak with a solicitor or advocate
Remember though, if you do speak with Police prior to receiving legal advice and assistance, Police can use any information you provide them with, in any future case they may take against you. We always strongly recommend you seek experienced and expert legal advice prior to speaking with Police where you are a suspect in any criminal investigation.
Do Police have to advise me of my rights?
In America, (and an American TV shows broadcast in Australia), we often hear about the “Miranda”, or someone’s ‘Miranda rights’. In Australia the same type of right exists. When Police question you in Queensland, under the law, you must be warned in a certain way. Queensland law says:
A police officer must caution a relevant person about the person’s right to silence in a way substantially complying with the following:
‘Before I ask you any questions I must tell you that you have the right to remain silent. This means you do not have to say anything, answer any question or make any statement unless you wish to do so. However, if you do say something or make a statement, it may later be used as evidence
If you’re being investigated for a criminal offence or you’ve been charged with a criminal offence and you are seeking legal representation, please contact today’s blog writer, Solicitor in Criminal Law, Jamie Byrne.