If the police suspect that you have committed an offence, are involved in an offence or have knowledge of an offence, they may approach you for questioning. Police questioning can be formal or informal. It can take place in a public setting or at the police station after you have been arrested.
Whatever the situation, before the police ask you any questions, it is important to understand your rights. We asked a criminal lawyer in Brisbane to explain your rights when being questioned by police.
The Right to Remain Silent
Under the Police Powers and Responsibility Act 2000 (Qld) you have the right to remain silent. This right exists whether you have been stopped in the street, are in your own home or are being arrested. What this means is that you have the right not to answer questions of police. However, if the police ask the following questions, you are required to answer.
- Full name and address;
- Date of birth;
- Questions regarding broken traffic laws or whether you’ve seen an accident.
If the police attempt to ask further questions you have the right to remain silent. You also have the right to answer questions if you wish to do so. If you wish to answer questions of the police, you do so of your own accord and any answers you provide can later be used as evidence against you.
Formal Interview at a Police Station
According to our criminal lawyer in Brisbane, if the police ask you to accompany them to the station for further questioning, or a formal interview, you have no obligation to go unless you are under arrest. If you are under arrest for a criminal offence the police will either take you to the police station immediately or arrange an interview by appointment.
When a formal interview is conducted, the police must video or audio record it in its entirety. If you say something, it will be recorded and form part of the brief of evidence.
As stated above, you have the right to remain silent. What that means is that you have the right to refuse to participate in a formal record of interview. Your refusal will also be video or audio recorded. At the beginning of the recording the police will ask you whether you want to participate in an interview. At this time, you can advise them you do not want to. The interview and recording will then conclude.
If you choose to participate in a record of interview, any answers you provide can later be used as evidence against you.
You also have the right legal advice before taking part in any formal questioning. If you would like a criminal lawyer present, ask the police and they will give you a chance to call a lawyer.
Questioning People with Specific Needs
If you are under 18, you have the right to ask for an adult to be present during a police interview. They can be a parent, guardian or an independent person.
If English is not your native language, you also have the right to be assisted by an interpreter.
For any persons with impaired capacity to speak, police must suspend the questioning and provide a support person.
The police must also refrain from questioning a person who is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Get Legal Advice from a Criminal Lawyer in Brisbane
Police questioning can be an overwhelming experience. Legal advice from a criminal lawyer in Brisbane is recommended if you are required for any form of police questioning. Guest Lawyers act for all persons charged with a criminal offence. To speak with on our Solicitors please get in touch with us either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007. We offer 24-hour service.