What to do if you’ve been Arrested

If the police say ‘You’re under arrest’ then you have to go with the police.  Stay calm and don’t argue or fight and don’t run away.  And always be polite and courteous to the police and anyone else that you encounter.

If you become aggressive or hostile it may work against you and if you lash out or become violent it could result in further charges being brought against you.

The very first thing you should do is to ask to make a phone call or ask the police officer to call someone on your behalf in order. Keep in mind you are typically only able to make one or a limited number of calls so make sure that you choose wisely whom you wish to contact.

Find out as much as possible about the case being alleged against you.  If you are informed regarding your matter you will also be able to provide clear and informed advice to your lawyer (if you decide to engage one) which will save you time and money in legal fees.

Information which you should request includes:

  • What exactly the police are alleging that you have done;
  • Will the police be charging you and what with;
  • Will they be granting you bail; and
  • Who is the officer in charge of your matter?

Getting Bail

You have the right to talk to a lawyer. You can ask the police to phone your lawyer on your behalf.

It is common for the police to request that you take part in a video recorded interview during which they will ask you a series of questions to help them determine whether to charge you.

It is very important to remember that you have the right to remain silent and you are not required to respond to their questions, other than to provide your name, address and date of birth.

We recommend that you do not participate in the interview unless you have a very good alibi and it is an obvious misunderstanding, such as you were interstate at the time of the alleged crime.

This interview is often used as a way for the police to strengthen their case and to determine whether there is enough evidence to charge you. Any admission that you make in this interview will be recorded and could potentially be used against you in court.

Your Legal Rights

The Police will decide if you will get bail. Bail means you can go home but the police might write down some ‘bail conditions’. Bail conditions are things you promise to do and or not to do. You have to stick to bail conditions or the police will arrest you again.  This can exacerbate your situation.

If the police refuse to grant you bail, your lawyer can make an application to the court. In most cases, bail is granted by the court.

Seeking legal advice

Once you have been charged and released on bail it is important to seek legal advice on your matter. You should take as much information with you when you see your lawyer including:

  • The statement of material facts;
  • The prosecution notice;
  • A copy of your video recorded interview;
  • Anything else provided to you by the police; and
  • Anything else that may assist you in your matter.

Remember when speaking to your lawyer that you will be protected by client privilege.  Anything you say will be treated confidentially so ensure that you are completely honest with your lawyer.  This way you can get the best defence possible with no surprises halfway through a matter.

This fact sheet is for information only. It is recommended that you get legal advice about your situation.