Often when police are investigating an offence, they will make contact with a suspect and ask them to attend a police station for an interview. Alternatively, the police may attend a suspect’s home or work, place the suspect under arrest, and convey them back to a police station for the same purpose.
Most people have never found themselves in this situation before and therefore find it extremely stressful. It is important that you are given, and understand, your rights pursuant to the Criminal Investigation Act 2006 (WA). A lot of people have heard about the right to silence, but might not understand what that means. Read on below to understand this and the other rights you ought to be made aware of.
Firstly, a person who is under arrest is entitled to be informed of the offence for which he or she has been arrested, as well as any other offences that he or she is suspected of having committed.
Before being interviewed by police, you are also entitled to be cautioned. The police caution will generally involve the police informing you that you are not required to answer their questions, and if you do decide to answer their questions, your answers may be used against you as evidence at a later date. There are three questions which you must answer, which is your name, address, and date of birth. We always advise that anything beyond these three questions does not need to be answered. It is important to remember that when you respond to questions from police, you may actually be assisting them in their investigation against you. Even questions that may not seem relevant can be used against you later on. For example, you may be asked what you were up to yesterday. Even simply saying: “I was at the shops” could cause you grief. Whilst this is not an admission to an offence, it may assist police in building a circumstantial case against you, which you may not be aware of.
Importantly, an arrested suspect is entitled to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to communicate with a lawyer. Should you find yourself in this situation, we strongly advise that you do exercise this right to contact a criminal lawyer – this is where we can help you.
We will be able to provide you with critical advice as to how to conduct yourself whilst in police custody. The police will usually ask you if you have the details of a lawyer. If you tell them you want to contact Timpano Legal, they will make attempts to locate our telephone number. If you have been asked to attend a police station, we recommend you phone us on 9221 7777 before attending, so that we can let you know what to expect. We also can be contacted after hours on 0411 128 779.