How Long Do The Police Have To Charge You With A Crime?
Being arrested and gives rise to a wide variety of questions:
- How long can you be held in custody without being charged?
- Can the police keep you on bail without charge?
- How long can police hold you for assault?
Our actions against the police specialists solicitors will explain what you can expect during custody and what your rights are.
Under what circumstances can the police arrest you?
Many government agencies have the power to arrest you whether or not they have a warrant to do so. You can be arrested if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you’ve been involved in a crime.
How long can you be held in custody without being charged?
You should only be held without charge for a maximum of 24 hours – unless law enforcers are granted extra time to question you. An officer in the position of superintendent or higher can extend your custody period by up to 12 hours more, and a magistrate can permit an additional increase of up to 96 hours provided there are proper grounds to do so.
The only exception to this rule involves those arrested under the Terrorism Act, who can be held for a maximum of 14 days without charge.
How long can the police keep you at the police station?
You can only be held for the lengths of time stated above. You must be released if you have not been charged at the point when the police custody time limits have been reached, otherwise you may be able to sue the police for false imprisonment.
What are your rights on arrest at the police station?
As soon as your arrest occurs, you should be told that you are under arrest and explain why. They should also read you the following caution:
“You do not have to say anything. But, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something, which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
Once in custody, you have:
- The right to free legal advice.
- The right to notify someone of your arrest.
- The right to receive medical treatment if you require it.
- The right to see a written notice of your rights, or an interpreter if you do not speak English.
- The right to see a note of the Codes of Practice that the police must follow.
Failing to be told, or being prevented from exercising your rights may give rise to a claim against the Police
There are several possible outcomes you’ll face after being arrested. You may be:
- Charged with an offence and released on bail
- Charged with an offence and remanded in custody
- Detained for questioning
- Released without charge
Are you entitled to legal advice whilst at the police station?
Yes – and if you request it, the police cannot question you until you have a legal advisor present.
Can you visit someone in police custody?
You are not allowed to pay any visits to a person being held. The only circumstances under which this is permitted are when minors (aged 17 and under) or vulnerable adults are being held. This is because the presence of an appropriate adult is required by law in these cases.
People who have been charged and remanded in custody may be allowed to receive visits from friends and family if the police consider it suitable.
What does police bail mean?
You may be released on bail after you have been charged with a crime or while further investigation takes place. You may be required to adhere to a number of bail conditions, which may include:
- Avoiding contact with certain individuals
- Surrendering your passport
- Checking in in person at the police station at certain points
- Remaining in residence at a particular property
If you fail to stick to these terms, you may lose your bail.
You may be refused bail if:
- The police have reason to believe that you might fail to surrender to custody at the time required
- The crime you have committed was serious – such as murder or aggravated assault – and there is concern for the welfare of the general public if you are released
- You are thought to be liable to commit a further offence while on bail
- It’s considered likely that you will interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the investigation against yourself or another person
- The offence in question was committed at a time when you were already on bail
- The police think that you should be kept in custody for your own protection
How long can police keep you on bail without charge?
According to the Policing and Crime Act 2017, police can only keep you on bail for 28 days before a decision is made regarding your charge. This can be extended by up to three months with the permission of an officer in the position of superintendent or higher, and, after that, by three or six month periods or even longer by a magistrate.
What will happen if the police charge you?
Once you have been charged, you will be given notice of the date of your first court hearing and will either be released with or without conditions to attend it or kept in custody for the next available court to consider your bail.
What Does Charge Mean?
To be charged with a crime means that you have been formally accused by the law, and your case must now be heard to decide upon the penalty you will eventually face.
What To Do if You Are Arrested
If you have been arrested, you must seek legal assistance as soon as you can. Not only will this afford you much needed support during police interviews and the opportunity to build the strongest possible defence should you be charged, but it will also mean you can make doubly sure that the police are following the correct procedure. If you can prove that they have not, you may be able to make a complaint of wrongful arrest, false imprisonment, misfeasance in public office or any number of other offences