Know Your Rights When Being Arrested

Police station sign

If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to know that while in police custody, arrested persons are entitled to have a private consultation with a solicitor at any time. It can be done over the phone or in person. As well as this, arrested persons have the right to have a solicitor present when being questioned by the police. 

These rights are vital in securing your right to a fair trial. This is why Neil Kilcoyne Solicitors have put together this guide on knowing your rights when being arrested. 

Charged of Committing a Crime

If a police officer believes that you have a committed a crime, they can arrest you if they think it’s necessary to do so. You must provide them with your name, date of birth, address, and nationality. 

Once taken to the police station, the police decide if no further action will be made against you, if you can go home while the Procurator Fiscal decides whether your case will go to court or if you need to be kept in custody to be questioned. You can be held in police custody for up to 12 hours, however, it can be extended to 24 hours in exceptional circumstances. 

This process can differ if you are under 18: 

  • Under 16 = A parent, guardian, or carer will be told that you are in police custody, and they can visit you. If the police need to question you, you must have a solicitor present.
  • 16 or 17 = You can name a suitable person to be told they can visit you. You can only be questioned without a solicitor present if the suitable person agrees with your decision. 
  • 16 or 17 and cared for by a local social work department = A parent, guardian, or carer will be told that you are in police custody, and they can visit you. If the police need to question you, you must have a solicitor present.

Your Rights in Custody

If you are held in custody at a police station, the officer must explain your rights.

You have the right to: 

  • Know why the police are keeping you at the police station.
  • Ask for someone to be told where you are. 
  • An interpreter if you don’t speak or understand English.
  • Have help with communication, for example, if you are deaf or find it hard to understand what’s happening. 
  • Medical help if you are feeling ill. 
  • A written notice informing you about your rights, such as regular breaks for food or to use the toilet. 

You also have the right to speak to a solicitor at any time while you are in police custody. The advice and attendance of a solicitor is completely free whilst you’re in custody, and it is their job to protect your rights and give you advice about the law. 

Our expert solicitors at Neil Kilcoyne Solicitors can guide you through the process and speaking to use does not make it look like you have done something wrong.

Your Rights When Being Questioned

When you are in police custody, they may question you about the crime you are suspected of. Anything you say will be written down or recorded, and could be used as evidence at a trial if your case goes to court. 

When you are being questioned, you have the following rights: 

  • Not to speak (known as ‘right to remain silent’).
  • Do not have to answer any questions the police ask you.
  • Have a solicitor present in the room while being questioned. The police must wait for the solicitor to arrive before they begin. 

It is vital to seek legal assistance as soon as you have been arrested as getting proper advice at this early stage can make all the difference to how your case progresses and gives us every opportunity to build your defence. 

Your Rights When Being Interviewed Under Caution

There may be circumstances where you have not been arrested but are involved in an interview under caution. It is a common misconception that if you have not been arrested, being accompanied by a solicitor is less important. However, whenever you are interviewed under caution, you should have legal representation, even if you believe you are innocent. 

Neil Kilcoyne Solicitors & Co will send an experienced representative to advise you on your rights and how to respond when questioned. 

Important points to remember are: 

  • You have the right to remain silent and should speak to your solicitor before saying anything. 
  • If the interview takes place at the police station, you are entitled to a solicitor free of charge.

Contact Our Expert Solicitors

Now you are fully aware of your rights when being interviewed under caution or if you have been arrested and are held in custody. 

Get in touch with our expert solicitors at Neil Kilcoyne & Co at the earliest opportunity, so we can understand the charges and build your defence. 


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