Home » You DO have the right to remain silent

Written by: Braden Milburn, Criminal Law Solicitor

You have the right to silence. No, this is not a line from a cop film. Rather, this is your legal right to decline being questioned by Police if you are a Defendant who has been alleged to have committed a crime.


It is a common misconception that a person is inherently obliged to speak to Police when alleged to have committed a crime. If you are approached by Police for questioning of any kind, it can certainly be tempting to give your version of events. After all, you want to avoid being charged or worse having to attend Court.


What is on the record?

This need not be a formal interview at the Police station, any questioning conducted by Police is considered “on record” and therefore can be relied upon as evidence thanks to Body Worn Cameras and other recording devices which all form part of the case against you.

The reality is that everything you say to Police can (and likely will) be used against you in Court. Generally, the goal by Police is not to absolve you of guilt but rather to gain more evidence against you. If you are going to be charged, you will be charged regardless of whether you answer Police questions or not.

Once “on record”, it can be difficult to dispute certain facts of the allegations against you, particularly if you have inadvertently admitted to having done part of all of what Police allege that you have done.


Why get legal assistance first?

Speaking with Police without first receiving legal advice can also harm your defence.

You might say something intended to mean one thing, but it can be heard an entirely different way. It is indeed possible, and it does indeed happen. You can avoid this risk by simply declining to answer any questions Police may ask you, you are not obliged to say anything.


Complying with Police directions

This is different from complying with a direction given by Police, such as providing your name or date of birth, which are legal obligations that you must follow.

There are some instances where your participation in an interview with Police can be of great assistance, particularly when you wish to plead guilty. However, you should always obtain legal advice before deciding if this is the best decision for you.


What now?

If you are involved in Police questions, you have the right to remain silent and get legal assistance first. Contact Greenhalgh Pickard for professional legal advice and assistance relating to traffic and criminal law matters.


The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of a professional. This information does not consider your personal circumstances and may not reflect the most current legal developments. Should you need advice, please contact our firm for targeted information relating to personal your situation. 

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