Right to Silence

If the police suspect that you may have committed or been involved in the commission of an offence, they can require you to give them your identifying particulars including your name, address and date of birth. It is an offence to refuse such a request or to give false details.

Apart from those details, you usually (see the exceptions below) have the right to remain silent.

Exceptions to the Right to Silence

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident the police can require you to tell them the names of the parties involved if they are known to you. You must supply all of the above information or you may be committing an offence.

In some cases, the police can require you to provide information about property that is, or suspected to have been:

  • Derived directly or indirectly from the commission of a crime;
  • Acquired by a person involved in criminal activity;
  • Used in or in connection with the commission of a crime;
  • Unexplained wealth.

In such a case, the police will make it clear to you that the usual right to silence does not apply and that you are legally required to provide this information. Failure to provide any such information that is within your knowledge is a serious offence.

Participating in Recorded Interviews

Do not participate in any recorded interview until you have spoken to a lawyer. You may feel like you need to tell your side of the story, however, this is a very risky thing to do if you haven’t had proper legal advice first. These interviews are rarely a chance for you talk your way out of being charged. They are an evidence exercise. If you say something to incriminate yourself: it can be (and frequently is) used against you in court and can rarely be taken back later on. As a general rule: the more you say, the less your lawyer has to work with.

If there’s something that the police need to know about this can be done through your lawyer. Your lawyer will carefully consider if this can be done in such a way as to avoid self-incrimination.

At the start of any recorded interview, the police will advise you of your rights. These include:

  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer;
  • You have the right to contact a relative or friend to inform them of your whereabouts;
  • If you are unable to sufficiently communicate in spoken English: to have an interpreter present during the interview;
  • You have the right to remain silent and you are not obliged to say anything unless you wish do so.

You should not participate in any interview, answer any questions or make any statement until you have properly exercised these rights.

Rights of Arrested Person and Arrested Suspects

The law affords certain rights to people who have been arrested by the police and the police are required to inform an arrested person or arrested suspect of these rights when they are arrested. These rights include:

  • You have the right to speak to a lawyer;
  • You have the right to contact a relative or friend to inform them of your whereabouts;
  • If you are unable to sufficiently communicate in spoken English to have an interpreter present;
  • You have the right to receive any necessary medical treatment;
  • You have a right to a reasonable degree of privacy from the mass media;
  • You have a right to be informed of the offence for which you have been arrested and any other offences that you are suspected of having committed;

Entry Without a Search Warrant

Police do not always require a search warrant to enter private property. There are many circumstances where Police do not require a search warrant when they enter private property including:

  • To prevent violence;
  • To arrest a suspect;
  • That a serious offence has been or is being committed;
  • If evidence relating to a serious offence is likely to be concealed or disturbed;
  • To attend to a dead or seriously ill or injured person or someone who is in danger;
  • Where there is a fire, an explosion, or the presence of any article, substance or gas, that is likely to endanger the safety of people or cause serious damage to property;
  • To disperse an out-of-control gathering;
  • Where the occupier giver their informed consent.

If the police have the right to enter private property without a search warrant, you may be committing an offence if you try to stop them or hinder them.

If you wish to speak to a criminal lawyer at this time, please call our 24 hour advice line on 0401295851.