Being arrested and taken into police custody can be a terrifying experience. It invariably happens without warning and the deprivation of your liberty is something that is incomprehensible until it happens to you.
Criminal law is, in many ways, indiscriminate. During the initial stages of arrest and detention, you will be given your rights and entitlements by the Custody Sergeant – the most important are;
The right to have someone informed of your arrest (NOT the right to make a phone call – you may have been mislead by TV….)
The right to legal representation.
No matter how courteous and kind the police officer may be, consider your right to representation very carefully. Below are some of the reasons we hear every day when we ask clients why they were interviewed by the police without a solicitor:
1.”The police said I would have to wait ages for a solicitor if I wanted one.”
Not True. Once the police say they are ready for interview we can be at most local stations within 30 minutes – day or night, any day of the year.
2. “The police said that if I just quickly went into interview and admitted it, I would be out quicker”
Really? Have they got enough evidence to charge you, or are you just going to admit it because you want to get out of the police station? Either way, a short wait now may save a lot more time down the line.
“3. I had never been arrested before and I didn’t know who to call. “
If you have to attend a police station to be questioned about an offence (not as a witness), whether you are under arrest or attending voluntarily, you are entitled to ‘free and independent legal advice’.
If you know the name of the firm or individual you use, tell the custody officer. He or She passes the information to a call centre, who then contact the nominated solicitor. If you are unsure, ask for the Duty Solicitor.
The Duty Solicitor Scheme is completely independent from the police. The Rota is drawn from solicitors in the local area who practice criminal law and have a criminal law legal aid contract.
Remember – representation is completely free – any time, any day!
Contact Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle on 01912323048 or out of hours on 07768 376 039