What Are My Rights When Arrested?

It can be a daunting process, but one thing that can help is having a clear understanding of your rights when arrested.

We’ve touched on the wide-range of offences that you can be arrested for and what happens when you’re arrested in our crime section, but what about your rights?

In this article, we’ll expand on the arrest process, your rights when being arrested, when in custody and your rights while being questioned too.

Your rights when arrested

Being arrested means you have been detained by the authorities. Subsequently, you may be taken to a police station for questioning.

At the time of your arrest, the arresting officer will read you the following statement:

“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.”

There are several outcomes following your arrest, you may be charged with an offence and bailed, you may be detained for questioning or you may be released without charge.

It’s important to note that while in custody, you are entitled to a number of rights (and it’s worth noting that if you believe the police have breached these in any way, then they may be guilty of misfeasance in public office and in this case, you could be entitled to make a complaint against the police):

  • 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
  • See a note of the Codes of Practice (COP) that the police must follow

It’s important to note that while you are offered free legal advice, you can, in fact, contact your own solicitor to have them present if you’re questioned.

Your rights when being questioned by the police 

You should always make sure a solicitor is present when you are questioned as part of your arrest.

Solicitors are experts in law and will be able to help you decide on the best course of action when you are interviewed.

Remember, free legal advice is one of your rights. If you do not have access to a solicitor, you will be provided with a duty solicitor.

You have a number of options when being questioned, your solicitor may advise you to:

  • Co-operate and answer the interviewing police officer’s questions.
  • Answer “no comment” to any questions asked of you.
  • Submit a written statement.

Your solicitor, be it the duty solicitor (the solicitor provided to you) or a private solicitor, will inform you of the best course of action to take.

Interviews while in custody – what the police can ask?

The police are entitled to follow any line of questioning that they feel is relevant to your arrest, they may ask you your whereabouts, and about the offence in question.

It’s important to have a solicitor present for legal advice, as stated; you are entitled to converse with your solicitor during an interview.

Rights when arrested if you’re under 18

It’s important to note that you have additional rights if you’re under 18 or a deemed vulnerable.

If you’re considered to be a vulnerable adult or a minor, you will have access to an appropriate adult, as well as your solicitor.

Who can qualify as an appropriate adult?

A parent, guardian or carer, a social worker, a family member or friend (18 or over) or a volunteer over the age of 18 can act as your appropriate adult.

You’ll find more useful information in our services section. Alternatively, contact a member of the team to receive professional and helpful legal advice.