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Here’s What NOT to Say in A Police Statement

If you are pulled over on suspicion of breaking a traffic law, the police are allowed to ask for your name, your address, and for your licence.

Whenever you have an unexpected interaction with a police officer, it is natural to be nervous. However, don’t let your nerves control your mouth, as it could land you in hot water. Instead, reach out to one of our lawyers for a legal consultation. Below, we share what NOT to say in a police statement in both verbal and written statements, in various situations.

Driving Related Instances

When you are driving a vehicle or motorcycle, there are three instances in which the Queensland police may wish to speak to you: either if you have broken a traffic law, witnessed an accident, or been in an accident. Generally, what not to say in a police statement for traffic-related incidents includes anything that could incriminate you or be seen as hostile or aggressive to the officer conversing with you. Doing either of those things can make you seem uncooperative when the officers are only looking to understand the circumstances of the situation.

If you are pulled over on suspicion of breaking a traffic law, the police are allowed to ask for your name, your address, and for your licence. In situations like this, the number one rule on what not to say in your police statement is: don’t say “no” in response to being asked to provide your name and address without a good reason. Refusing to provide this information can be considered a criminal offence. However, you are allowed to politely decline to answer any other questions and ask the reasoning behind any question being asked. Being cooperative and polite to a police officer who pulled you over is the best way to reduce the possibility of any further traffic violations or charges made against you.

Section 287 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management—Road Rules) Regulation 2009 states that if you are involved in a car accident, you are legally required to report it to police if:

  • The accident results in either a death or an injury requiring medical attention.
  • There is a hazardous environment (ex. road blockage) caused by the accident.
  • One of the driver(s) involved refuses or fails to provide required details to the other driver(s) involved.
  • One of the vehicle(s) impacted by the accident is not drivable, meaning it was towed.

Once police arrive on the scene of the accident, information you must provide them with is as follows:

  • Your name (or the vehicle owner’s name)
  • Your address (or the vehicle owner’s address)
  • The vehicle registration number
  • Any other relevant information for vehicle identification

Deciding not to give any of this information to the police or lying about this information is a criminal offence. For situation-specific information, you can read Queensland Police’s
“Traffic Crash FAQs.”

If you witness a car accident, it is important to understand that you are not legally obligated to report the accident to the Queensland police and you do not have to say anything to the police. However, if you wish, you may stay at the scene of the accident and provide police with any details that may help officers understand what happened. When thinking about what not to say in a police statement, it is illegal to falsify a statement given to the police.

When Arrested

Being arrested is an unnerving experience, as you are uncertain about what is to come. One thing you do know is that the police will likely ask you some questions. We recommend that you do not make any statements without speaking to a lawyer first.

However, the police do have the power to ask you basic questions and in some situations, you may be breaking the law if you refuse to answer.

These questions include:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Incident-related questions to clarify the events leading up to the supposed crime, about the supposed crime, after the supposed crime, and your whereabouts during the supposed crime
  • Your place and date of birth if the incident involves drugs

If you do not wish to answer questions, or you are not sure if you need to answer them, please seek legal advice.

One fundamental right you have as an Australian or individual being questioned by the Queensland police is the right to remain silent. This means that you have the right to choose to say nothing at all or wait until a legal representative is present before discussing anything related to the supposed crime. Remaining calm and cooperative in police custody will help your case. Making rude or disrespectful remarks in the interrogation room may make things worse – even if you believe you have done nothing wrong.

How Guest Lawyers Can Assist You

Whether you are behind the wheel of a vehicle or detained in a police station, what not to say in a police statement is anything derogatory, untrue, unnecessary extra details, admissions of guilt, interrupting the officer, or jokes. If you are worried about incriminating yourself, it is best to exercise your right to remain silent. If you find yourself being asked to communicate with the Queensland police, you can contact us at Guest Lawyers, as we offer 24-hour services. Our lawyers are available via phone (07) 3211 3007 or by email at info@guestlawyers.com.au. Please get in touch with us today.