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Home » Document » Criminal Law – Dealing with the Police officers – Some Tips (Vic.)

Criminal Law – Dealing with the Police officers – Some Tips (Vic.)

Police officers are like every other section of our community.  Likewise is not always possible to distinguish the good from the bad.  Therefore it is an advantage to know what to do when you have to encounter one or more police officers.

  1. Always be calm and do not upset them. You do not have to get down on bended knees but in order to avoid trouble be polite.
  2. If a police officer asks you for your name and address you do not need to give the details to them straightaway.  You should ask for their name, rank, badge, identification number, which unit they are attached to, and the grounds for asking for your details.  Apart from a few exceptions a police officer must tell you why they want your name and address.  The following reasons are legitimate:
    1. you have committed an offence;
    2. you are about to commit an offence; or
    3. you may be able to help the police with information regarding a serious offence.
    4. One exception is if you are the driver of a vehicle.
  3. Do not get tricked into providing information to the police “off the record”. The “off the record” protocol does not apply to the police as potentially everything you say to the police can be used in a court of competent jurisdiction against you.
  4. The police cannot ask or force you to go anywhere unless they arrest you and they can only arrest you if they think you have committed an offence or have a warrant.  Hence, when you are being asked to go with the police, always ask them “are you arresting me?”.  If so “why?”  If they do not answer you or do not tell you the reason you do not have to go with them.
  5. If you are arrested, stay calm.  The police can only hold you in custody for a reasonable time.  The length of time depends on whether they arrest you for a simple offence like providing a false name or for a serious offence like murder.  The police may do the following:
    1. questioning;
    2. formal interviewing;
    3. fingerprinting;
    4. requesting body samples;
    5. charging: and
    6. granting bail.
  6. It is important to note that there are strict rules to which the police must adhere.  The rules are stricter if you are a minor, an Aborigine or Torres Strait Islander, a migrant with poor English or are mentally-impaired.
  7. Further you do not have to participate in any interview with the police.  In fact often defense lawyers advise their clients not to participate in an interview or to make a statement even if they have not done anything illegal.  There are good reasons for such advice.
  8. If you are charged the police must either release you with or without bail, or keep you in custody but must take you to court within a reasonable time.  If the police keep you in custody illegally, you may take action and seek compensation for unlawful imprisonment.

Finally if you are charged, call LAC Lawyers for competent legal advice.

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