Frequently asked questions

How long do offences stay on my record?

Should I speak to the police without representation?

Exercising Police Powers: Know Your Rights

When dealing with police questioning, it is crucial to be aware of your rights and safeguards to avoid self-incrimination.

Refusing to answer police questions generally cannot lead to legal consequences.

Rights Before Questioning:

Before questioning, police must inform you that you have the right to remain silent, and anything you say may be used as evidence.

You can contact a friend, relative, or lawyer before the interview proceeds.

Police must allow you reasonable time for these contacts and ensure privacy during discussions with your lawyer.

Duration of Detention:

If arrested, police have a reasonable time for questioning and investigations.

The concept of “reasonable time” varies based on factors like the complexity of the case and the time taken for legal consultations.

Commonwealth law has a specific time limit of four hours for investigations, excluding certain activities.

Offences Related to Answering Questions:

Giving your name and address when asked is mandatory, with a fine of about $700 for non-compliance.

Witness summons related to organized crime offenses under specific laws may require answering questions, with a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.

Generally, for other police questions, exercising the right to silence by saying “no comment” is a legal right.

Decision to Participate in an Interview:

The decision to take part in a police interview involves considering the advantages and disadvantages based on the unique circumstances of each case.

Refusing to answer questions during official questioning cannot result in an unfavourable inference by the court.

Understanding your rights, such as the right to remain silent, consulting with a lawyer, and the right to privacy during legal discussions, is essential when dealing with police questioning. Legal advice is recommended for navigating individual cases effectively.


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