Being approached by a police officer can often leave anyone feeling like they have a pit in their stomach. Your heart may start to race, and you may be wondering what you did wrong. While you may be fearing a reprimand for your actions, it helps to be educated on what to do when you’re arrested.
With more knowledge of the arrest procedure, you can avoid getting yourself into even more trouble and while being more respectful to the police officer. With sound legal advice, you’ll be more prepared to face procedures such as the arrest process, being held in custody, while understanding the implications of your bail.
The Arrest Process
The first step to being educated about an arrest is knowing how the situation is likely to play out. In Australia, a police officer can arrest you if they suspect you have broken a law, have a warrant for your arrest, or feel that you are a danger to a family member. The police officer should inform you that you are under arrest, but does not have to do so if it would be difficult for them to communicate this message. One example of a situation when police don’t have to communicate your arrest is if you were attempting to run away from them.
Once the police officer tells you that you are under arrest, the law says that you have to go with them. If you are unsure if you are under arrest, you are allowed to ask. If the police officer says that no, you are not under arrest, you are free to leave. This is an important detail to note because if you are in fact, under arrest and do not go with the police officer, you can get into an additional charge for resisting arrest.
If you do attempt to resist arrest, the police officer is allowed to use reasonable force to arrest you. This means that he can use the amount of physical force needed to arrest you, but no more. If you feel that too much force was used, you can file a complaint after the arrest but still need to go with the police officer. One exception to the rule is if you are being taken to the station for a breath or drug test. In this scenario, you are not actually under arrest.
Being Held In Custody
After you are arrested, you’ll be held in custody. This means that you will be taken to the custody area (could be custody centre, police cells at court, or police station) in their police car. You may be handcuffed during this trip. You may be asked a variety of questions while you are in custody. These questions may include personal information about yourself and asking you to make a statement.
A police officer is required to tell you that you do not have to answer any questions about what happened that lead to your arrest. Even if the police officer does not tell you this information, it is important to know that you do not have to provide this information. You are likely also to receive a charge while you are in custody.
You’ll get two phone calls during this time. One of these calls is for a lawyer, and one is for a friend or relative. You may be denied a phone call if you have been brought in for a drink or drug driving. The same can be said if the police believe that a phone call would help someone else involved in the crime getaway or put other people in danger. While in custody, you are entitled to an interpreter and health care while you are at the police station.
The law states that you are only allowed to be held for a “reasonable” amount of time before being charged. But the law does not define what amounts of time fall into the “reasonable” category. This means that the amount of time you spend in custody could depend on the severity of the crime that you commit. If you feel like you have been in custody for too long, you are allowed to ask when they are going to release you, ask to call your lawyer or make a complaint later.
When you are arrested, the police will take any personal belongings that you had with you. They are required to list everything you had on a piece of paper and have you sign it to verify that everything is there. When you are allowed to leave, you will be permitted to take your belongings with you unless they were kept as evidence or destroyed.
Your Bail Options
After your arrest, you may get bail. Bail means that you get to go home, but the police may list some terms you have to agree to in order to go home. You must listen to these terms and incorporate them into your daily life, or you will be arrested again, and the second time will likely hold a heftier charge.
If you get charged, you will be required to appear in court. If you need to appear in court, you will get a Court Attendance Notice which will inform you of the location, date, and time of your court appearance. You will have access to a lawyer in court, and your bail may be posted.
Getting Legal Help
If you’re due to appear in court, it’s best to seek legal advice from a professional. Criminal Lawyer can provide you with sound legal advice, so you’re prepared for your court appearance. A lawyer can advise you on how to conduct yourself in court.
Criminal Lawyers can also advise you on the possible outcomes of your charge. A Lawyer can analyze the conditions of your charges and determine what may be the result of your court ruling. Professional advice from a lawyer also gives you the best chances of building a solid defence for yourself in court, which could help lessen the impact severity of your criminal charge. Contact Stary Norton Halpen to get specialist, professional legal advice for all criminal law matters.