When a person is arrested in NSW there are certain procedures that the police must follow. In the event that the police fail to do so, any evidence that they try to bring against you may be disregarded in court. This article will discuss an individual’s rights when arrested in NSW, the length of time the police can hold you after your rest and answering police questions.
Once you have had a chance to speak to your lawyer after an arrest, the lawyer can advise you on your rights and whether the police acted according to the rules or not. In order to take note of any inappropriate police action, below is a brief overview of some of the things the police can and cannot do when they are arresting someone.
Being arrested for no good reason – the police can only arrest you if they catch you in the act of committing an offence or if they have a good reason to believe that you are about to commit an offence. Further, they can arrest you if they have a warrant for your arrest or if they believe that you have breached your bail conditions.
Answering police questions – unless an individual has been arrested for a terrorist related offence, you generally does not have to answer questions. It is best to remain silent until you speak to a lawyer. Because as a result of the confusion and shock of being arrested you may give inaccurate answers or feel pressured to provide a false confession. However, you need to provide your name, address and date of birth. If you are arrested under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, the Traffic Act [ http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/rta2013187/ ] and the Local Government Act you may be required to provide additional information.
Your rights when arrested in NSW – some of your rights when arrested in NSW include the police:
- advising you that you are under arrest and telling you what you are being arrested for
- cautioning you – letting you know that you do not have to say anything and that what you say can be used as evidence against you
- giving you the opportunity to call a relative/friend, a lawyer and if you are a foreign national your embassy or consulate
- allowing you to have a lawyer there during questioning and an interpreter if necessary
- providing you with food, water and access to bathroom facilities
Further, if you are under 18, considered a vulnerable person due to intellectual or physical disability or are a non-English speaker, you are allowed to have a supportive person with you during investigations.
It must be noted, generally, police are only allowed to hold you for up to 4 hours before they either charge you or release you. The four hours do not include time taken to contact legal representation and friends/family or time taken to use the bathroom facilities. If they get a warrant, however, the period can be extended for an extra 8 hours. For a criminal lawyer, Sydney contact a law firm that specialises in criminal law.