It is not something that anyone wants to happen to them; whether it is a case of mistaken identity or the result of a misunderstanding, being arrested for criminal activity is not on many people’s bucket lists! Unless you have studied law in the UK, or have been arrested before you are unlikely to be aware of your rights while you are held at the police station for questioning. So, if you find yourself in this situation, what should you do?
When it comes to choosing representation to defend you while you are in custody, make sure that you ask for the advice of a criminal solicitor as opposed to a general one. In the same way you wouldn’t ask your GP to prescribe glasses, hiring a criminal solicitor can save you a great deal of time and stress long-term.
When you have hired a criminal based representative, it is likely you will have some questions. To save you some time, here are some of the answers to the most FAQs revolving around those early stages of being held in police custody.
I didn’t do what I am accused of – why should I hire a solicitor?
For the same reason you should take out insurance on your car; to be on the safe side. Remember, the person who is accusing you of the crime is likely to have a solicitor, so in order to secure your freedom, it is always wise to seek legal advice from a trained professional.
Do I have to pay for the solicitor to represent me in the police interviews
In a word, no. You are permitted to have free legal advice. Almost every criminal solicitor operates on a 24-hour basis, so don’t be concerned about contacting them in the early morning hours. Once at the station, they can sit in with you during police interviews, answer questions tactfully for you and will even be able to liaise with officers about reducing your stay at the station.
How long can the police hold me?
In the UK, the police are able to hold you in custody for up to 24 hours without charging you. If it is likely that your case will end up in Crown Court, they are legally allowed to extend the stay to 96 hours.
The police have charged me, now what do I do?
If you have been formally charged, be sure to contact a solicitor’s team of your choice and ask for legal representation. You will need to provide the firm with the date that you are set to appear in court and organise a meeting with their criminal defence representatives before this date.
Will I need to pay for representation in court?
While you are entitled to have free legal advice in the police station, you may be entitled to legal aid to help pay for your defence solicitor. This will be assessed via your income and will also depend on the seriousness of your alleged offence.