Being Interviewed by the Police? Why you need a Criminal Solicitor In The Police Station
In this post we will tell you why you need a criminal solicitor in the police station if you are arrested in England or Wales. We will also tell you what a criminal solicitor's function is., why the police don't want you to have one and whether or not you'll have to pay for it yourself.
We'll also explain what the duty solicitor is, who they are and what their function is.
What is a Criminal Solicitors Function?
A Criminal Solicitor's function is to represent persons accused of criminal offenses.
Their role is to "protect and advance the legal rights of the person accused and to ensure that the police deal with the accused properly and fairly."
If you are arrested by the police in England or Wales, you have q right to have a criminal solicitor with you in the police station for any police interview and legal advice at any time if you require it. Legal advice can be given in person or by telephone. All criminal solicitors are independent of the police and must put their clients interests first. Criminal solicitors can provide invaluable support during Police Station Interviews and can ensure that your rights are protected. They can also advise on whether or not to answer any questions in interview posed by the police and will try and find out from the police what evidence they actually hold with regard to the criminal offence they are actually investigating,
In England & Wales, the police have an obligation under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to ensure that those who are arrested or who consent to a voluntary interview by the police understand that they have a right to free independent legal advice from a solicitor of their choice if they so wish.
If the person concerned who is to be interviewed does not know a criminal solicitor who can act for them they have the right to free independent legal advice from a Duty Solicitor. A duty solicitor is a criminal solicitor who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to those who have been arrested and do not have their own criminal solicitor. Most criminal solicitor firms have one or more duty solicitors. These are solicitors who will hold additional criminal law qualifications so that they can advise people arrested at police stations or members of the public at court who face criminal charges. These charges can be any criminal offence.
Why the police do not want you to have a criminal solicitor in interview?
The role of the police is to prevent crimes and protect civilians from harm. The function of the police is threefold: (1) Law enforcement, i.e., ensuring that laws are obeyed; (2) Crime prevention, i.e. to stop crime and (3) Collecting evidence for Criminal Prosecution.
The last function that do by investigative interviewing i.e. interviewing suspects. There job is to, within legal guidelines, and where the evidence points prove a case against a suspect. They do that by means of a police interview, done voluntarily or when the suspect is under arrest. Despite what most police officers will say and tell you in interview they are not necessarily impartial. Neither are they often aware of what is and what is not permissible in court. Many officers will, if you request legal advice, seek to drive a wedge between you and your legal adviser in interview. They will say things like "This is your opportunity to give your side of the story", "Your solicitor will not be in Court, you will be." and " If you say 'No comment' the court will think that your lying'. Often police officers will use Psychological tactics to get you to answer their questions. Some will do so by trying to convince you that they are your best friend. Others by saying its your opportunity to get things cleared up and it could be a relief. The police see Criminal solicitors as making their job ( of gaining a successful admission to a offence from a suspect and hence a guilty plea at court) much more difficult As such some police officers will use tactics such as "Having a solicitor in interview will make things longer", "lets just get this over with and you can go free" in order that they gain an admission and for them a successful outcome.
Whether or not you have to pay for a Criminal Solicitor in a police interview or in Court?
In England and Wales if you are arrested or interviewed voluntarily by the police you do not have to pay for legal advice at the police station unless you want to i.e. you instruct your own solicitor privately. You can opt for a police station duty solicitor instead. He or she will be free not matter what the offence. A duty solicitor is a criminal solicitor who is paid by the Legal Aid Agency to provide free legal representation on behalf of his or her own firm at a particular police station during a rota period i.e 24 hours. A police station duty solicitor can advise you on your rights and on your options. Police station duty solicitors are not Police Officers, are completely independent and not employed by the police. Their overriding duty is to give you free confidential legal advice and act in your interests during the interview making sure that the police apply the law properly and fairly.
Magistrates Court duty solicitors in England and Wales provide legal advice to people who are appearing before magistrates. They are free and can represent people at their first appearance in court provided that they have not been represented before and are at risk of custody. i.e. where they are pleading guilty and facing a custodial sentence. They will not however represent people at trials (thought legal aid is available for this) or where the offence is not imprisonable.
If you are being interviewed by the police, it is in your best interests to have a criminal solicitor present with you for either an interview which occurs voluntarily or one under arrest.
It is always important that you take any conversation with the police or any legal authority seriously so as not to jeopardise your future employment opportunities or reputation. C
Contact us today on 07897 020130 if you need legal representation in Kent or South East London or even further afield (for further afield cases we would have to charge you private rates)
We offer free advice consultations where we can meet remotely online via video chat, give advice on what steps you should take if you are to be interview and provide guidance on how to answer questions from the police during interview, We can represent you free or privately in the police station In Kent or South East London area when you are interviewed and have 25 years experience in all criminal cases.