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Your Rights on Arrest

Author: Dave Howell - Updated: 1 September 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]
We have had the police around tonight and the arrested and bailed my 16yr old son to appear at the police station on Wednesday. (It is Monday today) They have charged him with having photos on his phone of his girlfriend who is also 16 and threatening to show them on Facebook which he did but only because she said she was going to do it with photos she had of him. He was also arrested for common assault on her over 15 months even though they spent most of there time in our house and she was asked to leave on 2 occasions for hurting my son and he would not defend himself. He suffers from severe social anxiety already and is so worried that people will find out what she is saying and turn against him. They have split up in the past and she told his friends that he raped her and they bullied him for about a month until she actually admitted that she made it up so more people liked her. He also self harmed during this that month and I am really worried for his safety and he also said he wont say anything bad about this girl as he still loves her but I am trying to get through to him that he needs to tell the truth even if it makes her look bad or it could be worse for him. I was told by the police that I could take a solicitor to the police station as it would be quicker for them to interview him than them having to get one but I do not know how to do this as the police said it will be free but I have no idea how to approach one as have never needed to before. We cannot afford a solicitor as both myself and my wife are disabled. Any advice on how to get a solicitor to come to the police station for free would be most appreciated.
hopeless - 1-Sep-15 @ 1:26 AM
Steve- Your Question:
Hi I've been released from prison and I was not on licence but my sentence expire date was the 23/8/15. I committed a drunk and disorderly offence on the 8/8/15 but the police put a different address on my charge papers. I was scared when I saw the police so I put my hands out and they arrested me. I didn't argue with them I just went. I have court on the 7/9/2015. I don't have a solicitor and I would like to know if they can send me to prison. Can you help me please.

Our Response:
I'm afraid we can't advise whether you may receive a prison sentence or not - you would really have to speak to a solicitor or other legal representative who would be able to give an indication of what you might expect.
CourtroomAdvice - 25-Aug-15 @ 2:30 PM
Hi I've been released from prison and I was not on licence but my sentence expire date was the 23/8/15. I committed a drunk and disorderly offence on the 8/8/15 but the police put a different address on my charge papers. I was scared when I saw the police so I put my hands out and they arrested me. I didn't argue with them I just went. I have court on the 7/9/2015. I don't have a solicitor and I would like to know if they can send me to prison. Can you help me please.
Steve - 24-Aug-15 @ 10:15 PM
My husband was involved in a fight he was defending himself against an attack from a couple of men during this a girl was hit, my husband was the only one arrested and accused of hitting her even though she hasn't come forward and police don't know who she is. He was released on pre-charge conditional bail and has to return to the police station two weeks later, solicitor wasn't very helpful and I'm wondering what will happen next as never been in this situation before and do you think it would go to court.
Nanny bitch - 21-Aug-15 @ 8:41 PM
raffertyx - Your Question:
I have been accused of stealing some furniture off a friend, the furniture was given to me 18 months ago because they had nowhere to store it and would have had to throw it out, at the time I did say if they ever wanted it back as all they had to do was ask for it.in the meantime they refused to contribute towards an outstanding utility bill (£600) which had been incurred whilst they were living with me.when they refused to contribute I decided not to peruse it as they had, in effect, just given me some furniture so I put it down to experience.after not having any communication from this friend in 18 months I recently received an email from my friend that was worded in a way that said 'thanks for looking after our furniture but we would like it back now' I realised straight away that there was something fishy going on and emailed back saying that I didn't have it any more and didn't know where it was.i would have preferred a visit or a phone call at least!i then received a recorded letter, a policeman at my door and then arrested by 2 officers early one morning and taken into custody for the day, at which time the furniture was confiscated from my property, and I believe returned to my friend, (i don't have confirmation of this).these friends are saying that I still have a chair of theirs - I don't - therefore I am being charged with 2 counts of theft.one for an armchair and 2 for the sofa and armchair that was confiscated.i now have to go to court. I cannot believe I have been treated like this or that police would even get involved to such a degree, I have never been in any trouble in my life and believe I am a good person, I really do not know why someone would treat anyone like this. i have not sought any legal representation as I never believed this would get to this pointcan someone please tell me what I can expect to happen in court?

Our Response:
I'm afraid we can't predict what will happen in court as it depends upon how the court views both your side and their side of the story. If you can prove they owe you money from the utility bill then this will place you in a better position.
CourtroomAdvice - 20-Aug-15 @ 1:49 PM
@Sparky87 - It depends whether he carries out his threat, and whether the police/CPS choose to charge you on the back of it.
Alex - 19-Aug-15 @ 2:48 PM
i have been accused of stealing some furniture off a friend, the furniture was given to me 18 months ago because they had nowhere to store it and would have had to throw it out, at the time i did say if they ever wanted it back as all they had to do was ask for it. in the meantime they refused to contribute towards an outstanding utility bill (£600) which had been incurred whilst they were living with me. when they refused to contribute i decided not to peruse it as they had, in effect, just given me some furniture so i put it down to experience. after not having any communication from this friend in 18 months i recently received an email from my friend that was worded in a way that said 'thanks for looking after our furniture but we would like it back now' i realised straight away that there was something fishy going on and emailed back saying that i didn't have it any more and didn't know where it was. i would have preferred a visit or a phone call at least! i then received a recorded letter, a policeman at my door and then arrested by 2 officers early one morning and taken into custody for the day, at which time the furniture was confiscated from my property, and i believe returned to my friend, (i don't have confirmation of this). these friends are saying that i still have a chair of theirs - i don't - therefore i am being charged with 2 counts of theft. one for an armchair and 2 for the sofa and armchair that was confiscated. i now have to go to court. i cannot believe i have been treated like this or that police would even get involved to such a degree, i have never been in any trouble in my life and believe i am a good person, i really do not know why someone would treat anyone like this. i have not sought any legal representation as i never believed this would get to this point can someone please tell me what i can expect to happen in court?
raffertyx - 19-Aug-15 @ 2:36 PM
Hi, I was released from police cells on Sunday morning after a drunken fight with my partner (now ex) without charge and received a Caugtion. This was due to my ex not wanting to give a statement or press charges as he had caused most of his injuries after falling (there was also a whiteness statement confirming that). He is now saying that he might change his mind and go back to the police and make a statement. I am really worried now. I have never been in trouble before and want some advice.
Sparky87 - 18-Aug-15 @ 10:59 PM
The police knelt on and smashed my son's iPhone 6s can we do anything.He was arrested for being drunk and disorderly
Bixy - 15-Aug-15 @ 8:38 PM
It may be just hat the police want to question you, so therefore they may want you to know as little as possible until they have your statement.
Kel - 14-Aug-15 @ 2:26 PM
Hi my partner has been arrested he has rang me whilst in custody but isn't aloud to to tell me why hes been arrested . He has been arrested before rang me and been able to tell me why hes been arrested, since he is not aloud to tell me this time does this mean that the crime is of any seriousness?? Thanks
jp - 13-Aug-15 @ 10:26 PM
cath - Your Question:
Could you please tell me if you're charged drink driving in other town do you go back to that town for court

Our Response:
Yes, you would normally be tried by a court in the area where the drink driving offence was committed.
CourtroomAdvice - 6-Aug-15 @ 2:37 PM
Could you please tell me if you'recharged drink driving in other town do you go back to that town for court
cath - 6-Aug-15 @ 12:10 AM
Do I have a right to know if partner has been released or interviewed from the police station ??
Mike - 30-Jul-15 @ 12:31 AM
My son's phone was taken by the police and found to have pornographic images on it (it was taken over another totally different crime which he is now doing time for).It was 2nd hand and I was interviewed about this also as I had bought it for him.The images were dated over 5 years ago and he only had the phone for a fortnight.They told us both (separately) the next time they visited it would be to charge and arrest.This was about 15 months ago and neither of us have heard anything.Should I contact them about it?Should I ask for the phone to be returned?I told them where I had bought the phone and I had believed it would be wiped of any previous material eg, photos, personal details, etc, when I bought it.Is this the case? Would appreciate any advice as I don't feel the police or even the solicitor are to be trusted at the moment.
doolally - 27-Jul-15 @ 12:12 PM
@Spuggs - According to the CPS, Section 10 of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, occasionally there are special reasons why the prosecution service will overturn a decision not to prosecute. You can find out more about its reasoning behind making such a decision via the 'Reconsidering a Prosecution Decision' link here. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 14-Jul-15 @ 10:03 AM
I was held at police station for 4 hours and told I now have a criminal record however I was not given a charge sheet. What does this mean?
Suzie - 12-Jul-15 @ 10:39 AM
Someone I know is going to court charged with theft of over £5000 from an elderly relative. She is going to plead guilty. Will this have to go to crown court because of the amount or would it be dealt with by magistrates?
William - 11-Jul-15 @ 10:49 AM
If police issued a letter to say not being charged as they had insufficient evidence then why would CPS still go ahead and take someone to court?
Spuggs - 11-Jul-15 @ 1:50 AM
I phoned the police on my ex for drink driving, he wasn't seen driving, the police just saw me chasing him down the road. He was then arrested and now going to court because of what I said even though the police didn't witness his driving. What will happen to him.?
Amanda - 8-Jul-15 @ 5:35 PM
@Dave - People can press charges after an assault by filing them with their local police departments, so you may want to follow it up. I have included a gov.uk link 'after a crime - you rights', link here which should answer your questions.
CourtroomAdvice - 29-Jun-15 @ 12:15 PM
I have been told that someone has pressed charges against me for assault for giving someone a black eye. However I haven't heard anything I.e phone call or letter from court/police and it happened a month ago.
Dave - 26-Jun-15 @ 11:28 AM
@Jasper - yes, he has foundation. You cannot remove money from his account if he has left you, as it is considered theft. You would have to have written proof that he consented to your actions. The fact that he is taking you to court should give you the indication that he is not happy about what you are doing. At the same time, he is silly for not changing his passwords in order to stop you gaining access to his accounts.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Jun-15 @ 2:12 PM
@wendywoo - please see article: How to Complain About the Courts and Police, link here which should give you more information. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Jun-15 @ 12:31 PM
Basic advise require. I was with partner for 7 years split 3 years ago, we have a 5 year old boy. I controlled finances due to his poor history of debt and removed various amounts from his account leaving him with £600 cash to spend a month with absolutely no bills. The money along with my own were for mortgage, bills, utilities insurance, food holidays clothing, nursery. Since his departure 3 years ago he constantly accuses me of theft and will be taking me to court to reclaim monies i remove. He is a policeman in the met and has since got himself into £30k debt . I have access to his on line account via a password etc and he consented to it. His accusations are unfounded. He earned £2100 per month so I removed £1500 ...has he any foundation ...i am sick with worry re his veiled threats to arrest me for theft
Jasper - 17-Jun-15 @ 3:27 PM
My 15 yr old son was arrested he was taken to police station and held for 18 hours and I was not informed until midday the following day they were rough with him and rude to my son and me they are trying to get him for theft of a moped which my son was not involed with he just stopped to look what was going on he was on the opposite side were the police were how do I go about putting a complaint in
wendywoo - 17-Jun-15 @ 11:41 AM
@mizz - I'm afraid we couldn't comment upon this, as we have no idea which course the police may take. However, it is unlikely they would stop you travelling if you are going away on holiday.
CourtroomAdvice - 8-Jun-15 @ 3:01 PM
I need a bit of advice my ex husband took me to the police station with aligation that I used his details in buying catalog things in my house without him being aware of it , he's doing all this becacuse he want to come back and i said no,we have kids together everything I bout he was aware of he even gave me his details but i dont have proff of it .i've been ask to come over to the sation what could be the worse that can happen. Because am travelling soon would they ask me to stop going I don't know what to do
mizz - 6-Jun-15 @ 6:01 AM
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
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