What to do when you are arrested and/or questioned by the police

What to do when you are arrested and/or questioned by the police
Don't talk to police without your lawyer in the room. Photo: Kzenon, Bigstock

If you are arrested in connection with a crime, there is a good chance that the police will interview/question you to ensure that they know the full story. In some cases – particularly for crimes that are not particularly complicated – they will feel confident that they have enough evidence already, but often they will need to get details from you. So what do you do in this situation?

Call a lawyer

You shouldn’t say anything to the police without a legal representative present. This is especially true when you are a suspect in a criminal investigation or are being interviewed in connection to a crime. You can roll the dice with legal aid, but it’s better to have the number of a proven criminal defence lawyer like Michael Moussa from National Criminal Lawyers.

Your lawyer will make sure that your rights are respected throughout the interrogation, and that you aren’t tricked into giving the police incriminating evidence against you. They will also advise you about the best course of action to take, whether that is pleading guilty, accepting a plea deal to a lesser charge or fighting the accusation in open court.

Get bail (if you are charged)

If you are charged you will need to apply for bail in order to continue your normal life until your court date. Without bail you will be imprisoned until you see the judge – which could take months. For relatively minor crimes the process is pretty much automatic, but for charges like sexual assault and murder you will often need to apply to a judge.

The right lawyer will be able to help you get out of prison by presenting reasons to the judge that you are not a danger to the community. You may also have to submit to certain conditions like surrendering your passport or reporting to a police station regularly. Often a bail bond is also required, which is where you give the court a certain amount of money which is returned to you when you turn up for your trial.

Prepare for your trial/hearing

So you’ve been questioned (with your lawyer present), charged and made bail. The next step is to get ready for your trial (if you pled not guilty) or your sentencing hearing. Your lawyer will, again, be a big help with this, as they will have experience with the court system and will give you great advice about your best step.

To prepare you will need to work out your best strategy and, if you are fighting the charges, carefully examine all of the evidence against you. If you are going to a sentencing hearing you will need to find mitigating factors that might persuade your judge to reduce your sentence and recruit people to give you character statements.

The thing that all of these steps have in common is that it’s a lot easier on you to have a lawyer to help you through it, so call one as soon as the police want to interview you over any charge from drink driving to murder!