Dealing with the Police 2019-03-20T13:34:17+12:00

Dealing with the police

The Main Rule: Don’t make any statements to the police … Ever!

“Any lawyer worth his salt will tell the suspect in no uncertain terms to make no statement to police under any circumstances” said Justice Robert Jackson (in Watts v Indiana – an important U.S. Supreme Court decision).  Justice Jackson is worth listening to, once being the lawyer in charge of all American federal prosecutions in the United States and later gaining international fame as the Chief U.S. Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials.  If you think we are overstating our advice then please click on this American link to hear more on why you should exercise your right to silence (known in the U.S. as ‘taking the 5th Amendment’)

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What it helps to know

  1. Supply your name, address, occupation and any licence you must carry.
  2. You do not have to go with a police officer, or answer further questions unless you have been arrested for an offence (except when required to accompany under the Land Transport Act 1998).
  3. A police officer can only search you after he has arrested you, unless he has reasonable grounds to suspect an offence under the Arms Act 1983; that you are loitering around wharves; that you may be carrying an offensive weapon; or under the Customs Act 1966; or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
  4. The general rule regarding a search of premises is – no warrant, no search. A warrant is required with respect to suspected offences under the Summary Proceedings Act 1957; Indecent Publications Act 1963; Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977. No warrant is required in respect of suspected offences under the Arms Act 1983; Misuse of Drugs Act 1975; Sale of Liquor Act 1962; Massage Parlours Act 1978.
  5. If arrested/questioned say: “I wish to remain silent, I will make no statement or answer further questions. I demand to phone my lawyer.” Make no deals, and remember that you may be convicted as a direct result of anything you say to the police.

Printable wallet card

So that you have this information when you need it, click on the image below. And remember the main rule: Don’t make any statements! (By the way – everything except your name, address, occupation and date of birth is a statement).

The image links to a PDF document. Click the image, save the document to your computer, and then print out the wallet card.
Keep your wallet card with you for when you need it.

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