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Your Rights on Arrest

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 6 Feb 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Police Custody Police Station Arrested

The police can arrest you for a number of reasons, but when they do arrest you your right to freedom is exchanged for a number of other rights that legally protect you while in custody.

At the Police Station

Once you have been arrested you will be taken to a police station. At the police station you have a number of rights that include:
  • Not to be held for more than 24 hours without being charged. The police can apply for longer periods if they need more time. This can be up to 96 hours if approval from a magistrates’ court is granted
  • Seeing a solicitor who will be provided free of charge
  • Your family or next of kin to be informed of your location
  • The police code of practice to be made available to you

The Caution

After your arrest it is your right to be formally cautioned. The caution gives details of the crime you have been arrested for, and also informs you that if you do not mention something when you are questioned that you later rely on in court this may harm your defence. Also, anything you say to the police can also be given as evidence in court if your case goes to trial.

If the police think that they have a strong case against you and have the evidence they need to prove that case in court, you will be given a formal caution. This reminds you of your rights and how your case will now proceed. This usually means sending your case file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) who will decide if the police’s case is strong enough to go to court.

Your Rights After Arrest

At the police station you will be questioned. If you are under 17 years of age, a parent, guardian or an adult that knows you such as a teacher must be present. At this stage all you have to do is confirm your name and address. You do not have to answer any other questions. However, if you don’t respond to questions this will be noted and if your case goes to court this failure to cooperate could count against you. If your solicitor hasn’t arrived at the police station yet, it is your right to wait for them so you can use their legal knowledge to decide whether you should answer a specific question.

Note however, that the police can delay your meeting with a solicitor if you have been arrested for a serious crime and they think that contact with your solicitor could interfere with the case.

The code of practice that you should have read includes details of how the police should carry out their questioning. You are entitled to regular breaks for food and the toilet. Your rights on arrest also state that the police should not use interview techniques that place unreasonable pressure on you to answer their questions.

Your interview will be tape-recorded, or in some cases written notes will be taken. You may also have your fingerprints taken as well as your photograph.

The Charge

Once your interview is complete the police will then decide whether they want to proceed with your case. If they do not, you will be released without charge. If they do want to proceed, it is your right to be given a charge sheet that will give details of the crime you are accused of, where and when your first court appearance will take place, and what – if any – are your bail conditions.

Your Right to Bail

If the police charge you your rights state that you should normally be given bail. However, the police can argue that you should not have bail if:
  • They think you have given a false name and address
  • They think you are likely to not come to your court hearing
  • They think you may leave the country to avoid prosecution

You will appear before a magistrates’ court that will decide if you can have bail and if so, any condition you must follow. Note that you will not be eligible for bail if you committed a serious offence such as murder.

Read our article Police and Court Bail for more information about what to expect.

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[Add a Comment]
I was arrested and taken to police station on a drunk and disorderly charge. I was read my rights and charged but My memory is hazy but I was read my rights and charged as normal. Officers mentioned an assault i was accused of committing but I do not recall if I was read my rights and charged with this. I expect I was but Upon my release I was given my charge sheet which only had the drunk and disorderly charge on it. Why would this be?
jojo - 6-Feb-16 @ 4:08 AM
To anyone who is getting abused eg domestic violence please apply for a non molestation order or restraining order I have had two for my ex partner totalling 8 years. It doesn't solve the problem but my goodness it helps so much to allow you to get on with your life. My ex went on to abuse his new partner and it helped to confirm that it wasn't me. I was married for 21 yearsbut we were together for 23 good luck guys
Anna - 30-Jan-16 @ 11:54 PM
Since splitting up with my husband of 12yrs he treated me and our children badly. Wouldn't let us have any of our belongings or furniture, paid no maintenance, left me in debt and ruined my credit rating. This was three years ago and since then he has repeatedly sent text messages (for the first four months until his new partner removed my number from his phone), facebook messages and letters. This has become such a drain on me and my partner and children that I finally sought advice today from the police. They consider his behaviour to be harassment and have decided to go and arrest him. I am now worried sick at possible reprisals, as this man is a bully and psychological manipulator. The biggest worry is will I have to go to court to give evidence?
maisymog - 29-Jan-16 @ 8:02 PM
I was interviewed by police 2 months ago not charged but they kept my phone. Recently my solicitor rung me to tell me that police found nothing and want a meeting with me and my solicitor to clear my name and give me my phone back. Is this correct cos it seems a bit fishy
Al - 27-Jan-16 @ 6:01 PM
My partner and I had an argument and we're both to blame.I had been drinking alcohol but wouldn't say I was too drunk to recall what happened.A witness called the police and my partner was arrested for domestic violence and is due to appear in court in two weeks time.when giving my statement I felt pressured by the person interviewing me and feel like they might have thought I was too drunk to remember that he assaulted me and they will rather believe two witnesses who supposedly saw my partner beating me.I told them he didn't but they won't take my word for it.Is this normal.Also they have asked my partner to not approach me at all.Am I allowed to talk to him and go to see him without putting him in trouble and is there a way I can help him
Gracey - 26-Jan-16 @ 2:24 PM
My friend was arresting for drugs charges but he wasn't charge he got released & told to go back in January but has now been told it's been moved back to April,why wud this happen?
flower - 22-Jan-16 @ 5:58 PM
I was arrested and bailed to return to the police station without being charged yet, can the police question me further before my return date to the police station?
just - 14-Jan-16 @ 3:58 PM
My partner was arrested at some point last night, he has no way to get home and we dont know anyone who can pick him up. Will he be given a travel warrant or a lift? Its a fair few miles from here as he was taken into custody at another police station and not our local one.
worriedmisses - 14-Jan-16 @ 3:49 PM
Hi my partner was arrested after pushing a girl who was threatening me and her older friend so two on one, they were pushing me and hurling abuse.We have cctv confirming this, is it classed as assault when you are coming to the aid of another person?
Sazzle - 13-Jan-16 @ 12:50 AM
What happens if you get charged with assault and you leaving the county on Thursday ?
Kris - 10-Jan-16 @ 9:26 PM
Confused - Your Question:
I had an argument with my girlfriend over a misunderstanding and we are both to blame. I've tried speaking to her and she ignored me then said I was harassing her then she blocked me and went to the police. I then get a phone call from the police to say she has been in touch with them and a person says if I contact her again I will potentially be arrested. How can I speak or communicate with my girlfriend if I'm being told not to from a phone call ?? I'm at my wits end as to know what to do and don't want to get into trouble the whole thing has got out of control over silliness at a party. Any advice would be appreciated but it's making me worry and I don't know what to do

Our Response:
This is a tricky area. Harassment 'warnings' can be issued by the police following an allegation and it means while presently you have not committed a criminal act, as there is not enough evidence to charge you, if repeated you could be charged under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA). Therefore, I would advise that you take heed of the warning and do not contact your ex. If you feel the justification is unfair, your only recourse is to lodge a formal complaint. In the first instance you would need to go through the police station that offered the warning. However, in order to complain you must feel the warning issued is unwarranted.
CourtroomAdvice - 7-Jan-16 @ 9:57 AM
I had an argument with my girlfriend over a misunderstanding and we are both to blame . I've tried speaking to her and she ignored me then said I was harassing her then she blocked me and went to the police. I then get a phone call from the police to say she has been in touch with them and a person says if I contact her again I will potentially be arrested. How can I speak or communicate with my girlfriend if I'm being told not to from a phone call ?? I'm at my wits end as to know what to do and don't want to get into trouble the whole thing has got out of control over silliness at a party .... Any advice would be appreciated but it's making me worry and I don't know what to do
Confused - 6-Jan-16 @ 12:48 AM
Soph - Your Question:
My boyfriend has been arrested and is on bail for possession of class B n intent to sell, if the police rang 3 month before his court date to ask him to come to the station as they want to give him his phone back and said he won't be arrested n the charges will drop to just possession.can they lie to get him down there and then re-arrest him?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot really advise on this as it is beyond our remit.
CourtroomAdvice - 5-Jan-16 @ 12:20 PM
My boyfriend has been arrested and is on bail for possession of class B n intent to sell, if the police rang 3 month before his court date to ask him to come to the station as they want to give him his phone back and said he won't be arrested n the charges will drop to just possession...can they lie to get him down there and then re-arrest him?
Soph - 4-Jan-16 @ 9:51 PM
There is A LOT of history leading up to this matter, however the immediate concern, is that via the limited advice that I have been able to obtain, I believe that I was unlawfully arrested. I shall try to be as brief as possible and avoid digressing from the main subject of this comment. I was arrested earlier this year for more false accusations made by my previous landlord, after an ongoing issue in which I stood up for my legal rights and was subject to constant abuse by the aforementioned for doing so. One morning, I rang their bell, as my previous housemate had informed me that they apparently wished to gain access to my room for a check. This is just a rouse, of which they tried many times. The conversation started off fairly ok with the landlady, however as soon as her husband, the landlord, made his appearance, as usual an arguement ensued. But as always I kept my cool. The landlady had yet again called the police, who I might add at this point, after my repeated compaints of harassment they did NOTHING and I even had one of them try to tell me that harassment was not a criminal offence. Until I put him in his place, of which he did not like and rather quickly retracted his previous statement. Anyway, she closed the door after much insult at which point I tried to call the police, but had no credit on my phone. I had a rather urgent appointment that morning at 10am so left early to make it in time, due to roadworks and the time of day. I called the police from a public telephone at approximately 9:50am, but was put on hold. I had to end the call and make my way to said appointment. It was after this that I once again made a call and finally got to speak to someone, who would not take my statement for harassment. I stated that I would be back shortly and arranged to meet the police there, who did not turn up for a few hours. They came in and I explained what had happened again and they asked if I could come to the station to make a statement, which I obliged and made no contest. After I got in their car, it was then that I was arrested. The officer did not identify himself nor did he explain the reasons why arrest was necessary. He also said arrested for not allegations of. I have been informed that due to not only the nature of the alleged offence, but the fact that I was under false pretences asked to give a statement and subsequently arrested by the unlawful restriction of my person, that this case should be dropped and that action against the police be taken. I am to appear in court next week for this case, which has been ongoing for months now and it is my belief, that I am being maliciously prosecuted. I now have reservations regarding the firm that are "representing" me and I'm leaning towards the fact that they do not have my best interests in hand. Actually I believe serious concerns would be more apt. Namely that I have since the start of this complete nonsense, requested the times of
pissedoff - 29-Dec-15 @ 8:38 PM
The police interviewed my sister 6 weeks ago about an allegation that she assaulted someone at work (a care-receiver as she wants else in a care home). The complaint was made by a co-worker. The police dismissed the charges but she was dismissed from work. Today she ha received a summons to court for assault by beating- how can that happen if the police dropped the charges,
JanetA - 23-Dec-15 @ 2:39 PM
I went to court on drunk disorderly charge plead not guilty now cps have charged me with police assualt 3weeks later but i never got formely charged can that happen??
brian - 13-Dec-15 @ 7:06 PM
My boyfriend handed himself in after an incident and haven't heard from him since 8pm yesterday, as he's girlfriend if I go to the station will I be given any information on him?
Lils - 10-Dec-15 @ 11:22 AM
JanieB - Your Question:
My then 16 yr old Son (now17) was arrested in Sept for an incident in June. for having a plastic toy gun and firing at a bus driver. He was charged in my absence and court date set for Dec. 2 days before trial possession of a firearm was added. In court the assault was dropped pursuing possession of firearm. the plastic toy was never recovered and cctv shows no injury was caused.lads messing around and cannot see what he is holding. Been informed up to 5 years in youth offenders institute. No previous. My only Son and we both distraught.it was a plastic toy. Please help/advise.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot advise on this question as we can only give general advice. This is too specific and is already in legal hands.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Dec-15 @ 9:55 AM
My then 16 yr old Son (now17) was arrested in Sept for an incident in June.. for having a plastic toy gun and firing at a bus driver. He was charged in my absence and court date set for Dec. 2 days before trial possession of a firearm was added. In court the assault was dropped pursuing possession of firearm.. the plastic toy was never recovered and cctv shows no injury was caused..lads messing around and cannot see what he is holding. Been informed up to 5 years in youth offenders institute. No previous. My only Son and we both distraught..it was a plastic toy. Please help/advise.
JanieB - 6-Dec-15 @ 6:15 AM
jjetr - Your Question:
My partner was arrested at home for assault and to make things worse he has lied t the police in his interview about drink driving when he clearly wasnt they charged him he appears at court on the 10 12 15 he was well over the limit is he going to lose his license he just doesnt know what to do

Our Response:
You can see the drink driving sentencing guidelines here.
CourtroomAdvice - 2-Dec-15 @ 1:58 PM
Should you receive a charge sheet before you answer your bail?? Iv been on bail for 8weeks but have received no information at all since and my bail finishes tomorrow?
Abs - 2-Dec-15 @ 9:24 AM
my partner was arrested at home for assault and to make things worse he has lied t the police in his interview about drink driving when he clearly wasnt they charged him he appears at court on the 10 12 15 he was well over the limit is he going to lose his license he just doesnt know what to do
jjetr - 1-Dec-15 @ 10:50 PM
My boyfriend has just been arrested for assault(8pm). The person is not giving a statement nor are they pressing charges. But they had to arrest him as it is his mum and is classed as domestic. Can the police tell me if he will be out tonight or tomorrow?
Sophie - 30-Nov-15 @ 9:34 PM
My friend was charged with drink driving. He is due to appear in court in feb. He pleaded guilty at the initial hearing. The problem hehas, is that the time printed on the read out was not the time he took it. There is a difference of about 1 hour. Does he have any way to argue this?
Shan - 30-Nov-15 @ 3:09 PM
Emma - Your Question:
My husband has mental issues and is in medication he was falsely accused of knife threats on a neighbour and arrested and kept for 19 hours on the promise of his medication and interviewed him and charged him and refused to give him is medication, one medication being suboxone which put him into withdrawls, are the police in breach of pace? And if it's her word against his will it really go to crown court, we are worried sick and he can't come home which has put us under immense financial trouble, I would be grateful for a response please?

Our Response:
In general terms the police doctor would have to give permission for the medication to be administered. We can't say whether or not it will go to Crown Court. If you need any further advice you may wish to ask Just Answer online advice, please see link here . I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Nov-15 @ 2:08 PM
Hammy - Your Question:
My boyfriend has been charged with stealing a lot of money and is due to tend court in January for sentencing, will I be investigated I did not know until I found a letter and asked him about it. he lives with me

Our Response:
I'm afraid we can't advise regarding this. However, if he has been charged, the police are likely to have all the evidence they need.
CourtroomAdvice - 30-Nov-15 @ 10:57 AM
My husband has mental issues and is in medication he was falsely accused of knife threats on a neighbour and arrested and kept for 19 hours on the promise of his medication and interviewed him and charged him and refused to give him is medication, one medication being suboxone which put him into withdrawls, are the police in breach of pace? And if it's her word against his will it really go to crown court, we are worried sick and he can't come home which has put us under immense financial trouble, I would be grateful for a response please?
Emma - 29-Nov-15 @ 9:14 PM
my boyfriend has been charged with stealing a lot of money and is due to tend court in January for sentencing, will I be investigated I did not know until I found a letter and asked him about it. he lives with me
Hammy - 29-Nov-15 @ 10:06 AM
Jules- Your Question:
I have been charged for shoplifting never been involved with the police got to go to court does anyone now What will happen

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot predict what a court will decide. It depends on what you have been accused of stealing. Last year the new offence of Low Level Shoplifting was introduced to allow the police to charge the offence. It defines low value shoplifting as a theft from a shop/store/trade by a customer or purported customer of items with retail value of less than £200.The maximum sentence is six months and the minimum a fine. If it falls into this category and as it is your first offence, you will be treated more leniently.
CourtroomAdvice - 24-Nov-15 @ 12:28 PM
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