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Your Rights on Arrest

Author: Dave Howell - Updated: 27 May 2015 | commentsComment
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]
My son was parked on yellow zigzags and went into the shop he came out of the shop and was approached by the traffic police he took a breathaliser he was 49mg he was took to the police station and they took another breathaliser which was 47mg he cannot remember being asked if he was offered a blood or urine test he was charged at 00.13 with being in charge of a vehicle the police brought him home soon after the copy of his charge was not signed.
buddydan - 27-May-15 @ 7:51 PM
@buddydan - it sounds like he hasn't been charged and might have got away by the skin of his teeth - as between 40-50mg he should have been offered the urine or blood test. He would have had to have signed the charge sheet, if the police were going to press charges. Did the police say anything or just let him go?
Martin - 27-May-15 @ 11:58 AM
My son was arrested last night for being over the driving limit he had 2 breathaliser tests the lowest was 47 he was not offered an alternative blood test or a urine test the charge sheet did not stipulate what time he was arrested and also the charge sheet was not signed by his signature what are his chances?
buddydan - 24-May-15 @ 4:03 PM
My son was arrested for being over the limit he had 2 breath tests his lowest was 47 he was not offered an alternative blood test or a urine test the time of the arrest was not put on the charge sheet and also he was not asked to sign the charge sheet.what are his chances.
buddydan - 24-May-15 @ 3:39 PM
I have been accused of 323 504,3(1)(×) POAof sc st act intentionally by my political rival and high Cort have issued 41A orders I am cooperating with police can I get station bail
shiva - 19-May-15 @ 5:09 PM
@Rudy100000 -The CPS has launched the final guidelines for the Victims' Right to Review Scheme which makes it easier for victims to seek a review of a CPS decision not to bring charges or to terminate all proceedings. See link here. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 14-May-15 @ 12:41 PM
A man attacked my other halves car for no reason, he took exception to his wife giving way and got out of her car and punched my missus bonnet denting in and punched the window where my 4 year old was sitting the punched the roof as my missus drove off, my son won't sleep and is very jumpy now, the police were called and evidence obtained and after denying it he admitted it after the police showed cctv evidence, the police want to caution him and make him pay for my damage but I don't think it's enough, is there anyway I can make it go to court? This has really affected my family Regards
Rudy100000 - 12-May-15 @ 5:19 PM
@Vixen - Police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 if you’re found with cannabis, so he could have been given that instead. I guess if it's illegal to start with, there's not much you can do to complain.
Jack - 8-May-15 @ 2:04 PM
My partner was arrested for 0.17g of cannabis, he was then de-arrested by police. A few weeks later he gets summoned to court for the arrest and they got the amount wrong saying it was 3.4g the magistrates could see this was a cock up and diS's missed the case. But he had to pay £85 court costs!!!! I am completely outraged by the whole thing and don't see why he should have to pay any costs when he was de arrested?!?!?!? This is causing me so much stress... can someone please enlighten me as to whether this is acceptable?
Vixen - 8-May-15 @ 12:09 AM
@robmac - I doubt it! I don't think they run a take-away service, you get what you're given.
Rob - 7-May-15 @ 1:52 PM
Can you get the police to get you take away food while in custody from your own money
robmac - 6-May-15 @ 8:02 PM
@Dolly26 - yes, you still have PR, however, access to your child may be restricted or may have to be supervised, it depends on what course of action your ex may want to take.
CourtroomAdvice - 23-Mar-15 @ 3:07 PM
Hi All, If you have been bailed for assault (didnt happen), do you still have parental control/consent?? Many thanks
Dolly26 - 20-Mar-15 @ 10:20 AM
@Cj - it's pretty standard procedure that you would be charged for this offence. Is there any way your address could have been wrong, or the correspondence may gone somewhere else? I think I would be tempted to ring the police station where you were arrested to find out what is going on, as you don't want to miss a court hearing if it has been issued.
Carrie - 5-Mar-15 @ 10:16 AM
I was arrested for a underage DUI over a month ago and still nothing has come in the mail and I haven't heard from any sort of law enforcement. But my freind that was drunk with me in the car already got his fines and hearing, what am I to think of this???
Cj - 5-Mar-15 @ 6:18 AM
@poppyflower - I don't think they need to be re-arrested as it happened at the time, so any evidence will have been taken down then.
Beth - 2-Mar-15 @ 11:23 AM
Hi my cousin was originally arrested for drunken disorderly but they dropped it because they were drunk in their own home. So now they want to charge with racial remarks towards the arresting police officer do they have to rearrest for that or can my cousin be charged without being rearrested because she was already in custody for the drunken disorderly charge?
poppyflower - 26-Feb-15 @ 5:57 PM
@Nil - it sounds like you did the right thing. People can't take the law into their own hands.He may be a thief but the law should give him the right sentence, not the mob.
Kat - 20-Feb-15 @ 2:21 PM
Sir/Madam l would like to know whether l was wrong by saving the thief while community beat him (mobb justice). l did save the guy and let someone to call the police, when the suspect recovered from hospital open the case and point those hesaw them they beat him. My question is that what to do when you saw community beating suspect to death? Thank you for your responce Regards Clement
Nil - 19-Feb-15 @ 7:11 PM
@Shifty - I'm afraid we can't advise as it sounds like this might be U.S, law and we are UK-based, but someone else on the site may be able to.
CourtroomAdvice - 18-Feb-15 @ 12:32 PM
@chantelle -Justification for use of handcuffs by the police force is achieved through establishing not only a legal right to use handcuffs, but also good objective grounds for doing so in order to show that what the officer or member of police staff did was a reasonable, necessary and proportionate use of force. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 17-Feb-15 @ 11:51 AM
Hey my partners just been arrested for theft as he took a tv home that was at the dump. I think this is ridiculous and a waste of everyone's time. However im concerned if he gets charged he may have go to court over such a minor mistake has anyone ever been in this scenario ?
Shifty - 16-Feb-15 @ 6:29 PM
My partner was arrested for celling class a drugs and tge police came to my house and arredted me for not letting them in as they never showen me a warent i was undressed and there was 2 male officers i have brueses and a cyt where tgey put the handcuffs on me they put my dressing gown on me wile i was only in underwair. They forced me to stand facing the wall and was making my handcuffs tighter. Is that allowed and how long could my bf get in prison?
chantelle - 15-Feb-15 @ 5:25 AM
@Candrade- currently, you can only give the truth to the police and wait to see if they decide to call you in for a more formal chat.
Ollie - 12-Feb-15 @ 2:50 PM
My boyfriend has place an allegation of fraud on me at the police station. Police called me for chat. What can I do
Candrade - 11-Feb-15 @ 11:27 PM
@Aw - yes you definitely do as if you haven't informed them then obviously any correspondence will go to your former address and it could land you in even more trouble!
Georgie - 11-Feb-15 @ 1:52 PM
I was charged with sexual assault 15 weeks ago. I was released the next day and told I would receive a court summons through the post if the PF was bringing charges. I have now moved house, is it usual to take so long without anything received , I don't even have a charge sheet or incident number, do I need to contact the PF to tell them I have moved address?
Aw - 11-Feb-15 @ 3:24 AM
i am on Bail at with conditions were i am was told it will be 2-3 weeks that was ok at the time now not going tell 27/4/15 so they can not keep me at the address till then can i move bail address how do i go abount it
o - 5-Feb-15 @ 3:40 PM
I was liberated from custody one year ago for an incident but the police still hold all my possessions, I have called them on a few occassions about my belongings and keep being palmed off with "its still under investigation" I have heard nothing about my things or the alledged offence in this whole time. Somethings not right with this picture?
scotty - 4-Feb-15 @ 7:33 PM
I was released without charge for accusations of assault when kn fact I was assaulted I have to return station with bail solicitor says dont go address and says I will probably get off ,,,,as I aint guilty anyway she is she is an abhsive dictacting eoman whk will bleed you dryvwithout comsequence or thought and will control you and make yoir life in a poilce cell hell as lomg as her kids are protected socical servives poilce all init tovethrr all on the womans side its an absolut joke that men get treated the way they absolutly discusting and I will be writi ng to my mp!!
aaronG30 - 31-Jan-15 @ 11:34 PM
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