Dealing with the police
Many people aren’t aware of their rights in dealing with a police officer. If you suspect that the police have breached any of your rights or their rules that we outline below, then we can help. Contact us now!
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 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. If you think we are overstating our advice then please click on this link to hear more on why you should exercise your right to silence (known in the U.S. as ‘taking the Fifth Amendment’)
What it helps to know
When asked by a police officer, you will need to supply your name, address, occupation and any licence you must carry.
You do not have to go with a police officer unless you have been arrested for an offence (except when required to accompany under the Land Transport Act 1998).
An office can only search you after they have arrested you, unless they have reasonable grounds to suspect that:
- You have evidence relating to a serious offence (punishable by 14 years or more in prison)
- You have illegal drugs on your person
- You are unlawfully in possession of an offensive weapon; or
- You are carrying firearms when you shouldn’t
When searching you, a police officer also has the right to search any bags or containers that you may be carrying at the time.
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; the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975; and the Sale of Liquor Act 1962.
Police have what is called an ‘implied licence’ to come onto your property, but unless they have a reasonable suspicion as mentioned above, you can ask them to leave and they will have tom comply with your request.
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.
Again 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).