October 18, 2017

Under Arrest: Do You Know Your Rights If You End Up At The Police Station?

The police are there to serve and protect the wider population. Their job is to enforce the law and dispel any trouble caused by criminals. For the most part, the citizens of a country will follow the laws of the land and stay out of trouble.

But, there are a few rogue elements that will get involved in criminal activities. Sometimes, people could even get arrested just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time! If the latter has happened to you, the experience won’t have been a pleasant one.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

You might not think it, but many people don’t know their rights when they get arrested or what to expect. If you ever find yourself getting arrested, it’s crucial you know your rights. Here’s what to do if you find yourself behind bars at your local police station:

What happens when you get arrested

The arresting officer will usually read you some of your rights. They will say that you have the right to remain silent. But, anything that gets said can get used as evidence against you.

When you arrive at the police station, the custody officer then expands on those rights.

What are your rights?

Sometimes, you might not be aware of what your “full” rights are. In general, the following will apply to you:

  • You’re allowed to have free legal advice. Most citizens can seek legal representation funded by the state. Otherwise, you can have your solicitors represent you at the police station;
  • You’re allowed to make a phone call. The police realize that people under arrest need to tell a loved one what happened to them. You have the right to phone someone after you get processed at the police station;
  • You can seek medical help. The police have a duty of care for all people in their custody. If you’re feeling unwell, or have a medical condition, you’re allowed to seek help.

It’s important to bear in mind you can ask to see a written notice telling you of your rights. If you get held overnight or for a few days, you should get told when you can expect to eat and have toilet breaks.

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Source: Flickr

Young and vulnerable adults

People from all walks of life get arrested each day. That includes teenagers and vulnerable adults. Do you fall into either category? If so, the police must contact your parent, guardian or carer to let them know what happened to you.

They must be present when you get questioned and searched at the police station. An “appropriate adult” such as a social worker or family member can also be present instead of a parent.

Do you have any rights when you get questioned?

The short answer is yes. You’ve perhaps seen in movies where some arrested individuals respond with “no comment.” That’s because they have the right to remain silent.

The police cannot force you to answer their questions. Of course, there could be consequences for you if you remain silent. You could get charged for a crime you didn’t commit if you’re “covering” for someone else. As you can imagine, that’s not a good idea!

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