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Your Rights on Arrest

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 15 May 2017 | 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 got arrested 8 weeks ago, policeman said because i handed myself in they would be more lenient, i got questioned but haven't received a court letter yet, does anyone think i would have received it by now?
John - 12-May-17 @ 7:41 PM
My son first offence charged violent disorder gbh intent he goes crown court will he go prison? He's doing an apprentice electictrition and never a bad boy
Sha - 2-May-17 @ 8:11 PM
My dad has assaulted me and the police say they don't have to arrest him?? Why is this?? If it was the other way round I'd be arrested n thrown in a cell? I don't understand how a man has hit a woman and is sat at home laughing about it and not locked in a cell all night. I was promised ud not let me down again an now I feel you have
Caz - 2-May-17 @ 12:40 AM
I was arrested for something I had no idea was stolen and out of 4 I the things I had only 2 where found atolen now the next day the police come back to my house and tell me another came back and they want me to give it to them and nothing will happen to me but while I was in jail they told me 2 of them where good and clean but now they want one back and said there won't be any charges filed but the person that brought it to me came and got it can I be arrested if I'm not in possession of it anymore and they already told me it was clean and now it's not
Shames - 11-Feb-17 @ 10:14 AM
Can anyone help I have been trying to find out what the term refused charges means when coming from the cps
Dizzy - 9-Feb-17 @ 10:59 PM
Could the police lie to accused members family/friends etc and say the victim has dropped the charges before the trail if they fear there may be repercussions to the victim if they haven't dropped them?
HHH - 9-Feb-17 @ 2:28 PM
I got a harassment order after admitting me and my son had a chat for 3 days at the school after he was taken from me from my partner I gave a voluntary taping and alot of dates I could and had proof after these dates after the 3 days so many datesthat I've been accused of talking and shouting at him at the school then I get a summons through the door and the police have rang me a week after saying I've got to voluntary go give dna fingerprints and photoor I will have a warrant out for my arrest can they do this as I've not been charged they r just accusations y should I give that when I have evidence that I was not even anywhere near there or my home
Top - 5-Feb-17 @ 7:41 PM
Karen - Your Question:
I was arrested for assault on my 16 year old daughter (scratch to her face), I was kept for 16 hours and then released without charge as my daughter did not want to press charges, she is now staying at her Granny's house. However, me and my daughter are in touch every day and we are trying to fix our relationship. What's happened now is the Police are saying that I am harassing my daughter and Grandparents, and making false allegations against the Grandparents, this has not happened, and that I was being very aggressive towards the Police Call Handlers, this was untrue too. At the end of my police interview, I was informed no charges would be pressed against me, but today it has come to my attention the Police have informed my workplace as I work for Social Services, why have they done this, I understand I am in a position of trust, but they did inform me nothing would be happening. My home address come under a different Council, where my daughter is known to social services, and I work for a different Council, I feel this has been done maliciously, as I am a private person and do not want my work colleagues knowing my situation.Any advice on this matter would be helpful.

Our Response:
If you work with children and vulnerable adults, then the police will see informing social services of the matter as being relevant to the employment role you are in, regardless of whether you have been charged or not. You may wish to look at your employment contract to see how being arrested will affect your job.
CourtroomAdvice - 18-Jan-17 @ 11:50 AM
I was arrested for assault on my 16 year old daughter (scratch to her face), I was kept for 16 hours and then released without charge as my daughter did not want to press charges, she is now staying at her Granny's house.However, me and my daughter are in touch every day and we are trying to fix our relationship.What's happened now is the Police are saying that I am harassing my daughter and Grandparents, and making false allegations against the Grandparents, this has not happened, and that I was being very aggressive towards the Police Call Handlers, this was untrue too. At the end of my police interview, I was informed no charges would be pressed against me, but today it has come to my attention the Police have informed my workplace as I work for Social Services, why have they done this, I understand I am in a position of trust, but they did inform me nothing would be happening. My home address come under a different Council, where my daughter is known to social services, and I work for a different Council, I feel this has been done maliciously, as I am a private person and do not want my work colleagues knowing my situation. Any advice on this matter would be helpful.
Karen - 17-Jan-17 @ 6:01 PM
Can a police officer stop me from visiting my ex in prison? We have a baby together, I agree that my son shouldn't go there but why would I be stopped? He's being accused of violence(not to me or my son)
Stacy - 31-Dec-16 @ 5:33 AM
@Maz - if it is being used as evidence they can keep it as they might need it for the court case. Perry
Pez - 14-Dec-16 @ 11:00 AM
Hey, my friend was arrested in August on motoring charges, he had my phone with him at that time I had loaned to him for roughly a month and now I need it back desperately, I have been chasing after the phone since September. I finally got a phone call regarding it and they have said that phone is not currently in storage and it was taken out by an officer but not returned and also that they won't be giving it back because he didn't go to his bail, and also that the phone had some sort of evident on it that they need. I haven't spoken to this friends since his arrest and after speaking to him his excuse was that he was late and no one was there. I don't know what to do or how to get my phone back?! Do they have a right to keep the device even if it doesn't belong to him and I have receipts and a contract to prove that it's mine?
Maz - 13-Dec-16 @ 1:46 PM
If arrested at home & taken to police station. On release is there any onus on police to get you back home ? I was taken 40 miles to police stn. On release, they said they'd get me home via another stn 32 miles from home. They took me there and abandoned me - so I had to walk / thumb a lift. Can they just abandon ppl like this ?
Mike - 10-Dec-16 @ 1:00 PM
Darren- Your Question:
I've been been to the police station 3 times now on the date and time given to answer bail. But every time I attend I just get given another bail letter with another date and time on it And I just get told to attend on that date. Surely I can use this to support my case if I do end up going to court. Please help

Our Response:
As commented on further down the page; currently, there is no limit to the length of time someone can be on precharge bail and there is no limit on the number of times a suspect can be re-bailed. While the government wishes to change this, is has not yet been decided upon. However, it will really make no difference to your case, your case is a completely separate matter.
CourtroomAdvice - 9-Dec-16 @ 10:18 AM
I got stopped by the police while coming from a party at around midnight sometimes in July. I've had a bit to smoke and drink, and I was driving on a provisional driver's licence (2 offence). I admitted having a spliff. They took the road side saliva test which tested positive to cannabis. I was taken to the station where my blood test was taken and got locked up in a cell. The following morning I was released on bail and was asked to come back to the station at a later date. I assumed they would have had my blood test result back by then, I turned up at the station on the date I was meant to return, I waited at the reception while they process my case, In less than 10 minutes, a police came to me with a note which says I'm been released from bail, pending the time my blood test will come back. So I didn't actually go inside the station. Its December and I've not heard anything from the police. Since the incident happened I've been in touch with a solicitor who thinks I've gotten away with it. He said they should have released me ON bail again, not FROM bail, pending the blood test result. My partner's parent works for the policewho as well think I've gotten away with it. As it is my first offence with the police, I just want to ask you guys how long do I have to wait for before I can safely assume that my case has been dropped. Thanks.
Fiz - 8-Dec-16 @ 9:32 PM
I've been been to the police station 3 times now on the date and time given to answer bail. But every time I attend I just get given another bail letter with another date and time on it And I just get told to attend on that date.Surely I can use this to support my case if I do end up going to court. Please help
Darren - 8-Dec-16 @ 2:47 PM
My son was arrested and put in a cell he clothes were taken from him.He was then in a cell for 8 hours completely naked before a senior officer came on duty and he was given shorts and a top to wear.During his time without clothes he was moved about within the building a couple of times. Is this legal?
Kk - 2-Dec-16 @ 9:48 AM
I was arrested when drunk bit not charged ..I work in a care home and am registered with the sssc ..will this show up on my pvg check .and will my employer be told about my arrest
Maryboll - 1-Dec-16 @ 6:14 PM
My teenage daughter lately has had some attitude and walk around with a massive chip on her shoulder. Any I got SS involved beacuse of this as it's destroying our family. In April My daughter raised her hands to me and looked as if she would again. I therefore restrained her. 2 weeks later SS Child Protect turn up saying I couldn't be alone with them, thankfully hubby home. Was asked to into station under voluntary IUC. In the end nothing done. Last wed my teenager upset crying about maths test. Went to her 3 tme to give advaice, got shouted at. Last time in her romm, I put my arms around her to comfort her as she was sobbing. Get off me etc your chocking me, so I left. Police turn up hour later, kids went to grandpartents as OH away wroking. Turn out she was on face time by phone ner friend called police said I had attacked her. Got told by SS no further action. Yesterday, police turn up, taken to station said I was detained. Got interviewed. My daughte has said I grabbed her arm, her friend saying diff and also me saying diff. Got charged its no sent to proc fiscal. No charge sheet given o conditions etc........ What now, as I have no idea, my daughter doesn't understand the severity of this. She is going to be telling her SS worker that I never attacked her etc but can't see that helping now................... Any ideas, advice ??? TY
Miss N - 30-Nov-16 @ 2:05 PM
my boyfriendwas arested test drivinghis cleant s car the cops said it was a stolenvieacle andthey didnt changehim butkeephimin cell for 3 dsysnow the case theyaccusedhimfor it was foundthatit nota stolenviacle butsome1 boughta phone pay it EFTwhen he got the phone he revesed the moneyback was drivingthe car butthe case wasclosedbeforeevenhisclaent boughtthecarnowtheystillkeeping himin cells WHATDO YOU CALLTHISIS What mustwe do
iyk - 30-Nov-16 @ 8:45 AM
@Gunny - Yes if further evidence is found that implicates you. Ben
BJ12 - 28-Nov-16 @ 11:29 AM
Hi I was arrested for burglary and was nfa'd I was wondering if I can be re-arrested for it again?
Gunny - 27-Nov-16 @ 10:18 AM
Can you help me get my boyfriends bail dropped so he can come home and get in contact with me
Mary - 24-Nov-16 @ 2:49 PM
I was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life im on bail but im wondering will my solicitor get every bit of info and witness statements and show me before trial???
Kirstyy - 13-Nov-16 @ 7:15 PM
@123omg - let this be a lesson to you pal.....don't get in trouble with the police.... I hope your fear will stop you from messing about like this again...but I don't think they're gonna throw you in prison and throw away the key....just yet! Tho they wont be as kind on your second offence..Dan.
meforpresident - 9-Nov-16 @ 2:09 PM
I shot fireworks in the air in a public place and threw one near the police , im only 15 and im out on bail , what do you think is going to happen to me , im really upset with myself , also ive never been arrested before ... Pls reply asap , im scared and dont want to get charged , pls reply asapp !!
123omg - 9-Nov-16 @ 4:27 AM
Hi, police asked to come out and see me get time wise it was quicker for me to go them, when I said the they mentioned interview under caution. I got a Solicitor who when at the police station said it was alleged text and email harrassment against my exs new bloke who I've never met or got phn number etc. Police said they had no evidence linking me to allegation. I told them this bloke was doing that as revenge because Social Services are checking his background due to fact he's not allowed to see his children. To my Solicitors surprise they didn't do interview under caution, said they'd call me back if needed. Why no interview under caution?Solicitor thinks police haven't got budget to pay to check ips etc. When should I hear anything?Thank you
Dave - 5-Nov-16 @ 12:16 PM
I am a Canadian who was charged with what you Brits call "drink driving." Rather than plead guilty, I hired a Calgary, Alberta lawyer who advertises himself as being one of the best with nothing but 5-star ratings on Facebook (I later surmised that he apparently deletes any negative ratings). Anyway, my lawyer told me I had a reasonably strong case and so I went to trial before a judge (in Canada, we can only get a jury trial if the charges are extremely serious). I was found guilty and given a somewhat higher fine than if I had admitted my guilt and not insisted on a trial. I guess that's fair enough as I had decided to roll the dice (although, strictly speaking, in Canada, defendants are not supposed to get a tougher penalty for insisting on a trial). There is no “trial tax,” in theory. Unfortunately, my lawyer told me DURING THE TRIAL that the judge was writing out his decision BEFORE the defence had presented ANY evidence (he told me he had seen this particular judge do this before). In other words, the judge was hell-bent on convicting me before he had even heard from the defence. I never stood a chance! In a previous non-alcohol driving case, another lawyer had explained to me how he could often get a trial deferred to get a better judge, on a later date, if a particularly bad judge came up. That lawyer got my previous charge dropped down to a non-criminal traffic ticket (the judge who came up for that trial happened to be a middle-of-the-road, fair arbiter of justice). The lawyer, in my second case, went through the motions, but he certainly didn't seem to care that much if I won or lost. Though he charged a lot, the bald-headed, bespectacled fellow looked down his nose at me (obviously, regardly me as a lowly criminal). For the record, while nothing to be proud of, my case did not involve any harm to person or property. In any case, I can't identify the convict-'em-all, don’t-bother-me-with-any-evidence-from-the-defence judge in my second case. I can only say that he regularly appears in provincial court in Airdrie and Canmore, Alberta, Canada. In summary, the only conclusions I can draw from this experience are: never commit a crime; beware that defence lawyers will tell you that you have a good chance of winning at trial even if you may not; and, an experienced defence attorney and facts on your side will not matter one little bit if you get the wrong judge.
Charles Williams - 1-Nov-16 @ 3:31 AM
I was arrested for affray and realeased on bail iv never been arrested for anything before I'm so worried about what is gonna happen when I have to go back basically there was a fight involving a group of people and I was accused of punching someone in the face I don't think there is any witnesses and the police did not come to my house to arrest me until the next day can you be charged just from someone acousing without a witness ?
Lee - 24-Oct-16 @ 8:02 PM
My cruel father killed by mother and surrenderto the police i and my 2 brothers are opposedto bail him .we dont want that he shouldget realeased.what should we have to do??how we can stop him to be bailed ?? We are in criticalsituationwithout anyone'ssupport what shouldwe have to do??plz reply me soon
Abc - 23-Oct-16 @ 4:01 AM
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