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The importance of seeking criminal law advice prior to being interviewed by the police

By Peter Ward

It is vitally important for people to obtain legal advice prior to being interviewed by police. This is particularly important when people are being interviewed about indictable matters (serious matters).

There are normally two varying circumstances leading up to police interview. In one instance there will be an initial arrest whereby people are detained and taken to a police station. The second situation arises when police leave a card requesting that a person telephone them to discuss the matter.

What to expect and how to act in the case of arrest

Upon arrest, police will usually have a conversation with the accused person and then convey them back to a police station where a taped interview will be recorded.

During that taped interview in relation to serious matters, police are compelled to allow a person facing charges to seek legal advice. In that situation, an accused person should always insist upon making contact with a solicitor in order to acquire competent advice as to how to conduct themselves during the interview.

In situations where a person is arrested and a lawyer is contacted later, it is imperative that the person discuss the matter with the lawyer and listen carefully to their advice. A good interview can have a significant impact on the result of the court case that can follow, so it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer.

What do to in the case of a police telephone interview

In this situation, it is important that the person contact a lawyer and then arrange an appointment with the lawyer to discuss the matter. The individual should leave it to the lawyer to arrange an appointment with the police at a mutually convenient time.

When a card is left and a person is able to contact or make an appointment with an experienced lawyer, it is essential that the lawyer has a detailed and thorough conference with the person who is about to be interviewed. An appointment with a solicitor who is then able to give detailed advice will assist the person who will be the subject of interview.

Outcomes of seeking experienced advice from a criminal law expert before an interview

In certain situations, effective legal advice can assist a person being granted a diversion in a forthcoming court case. If a diversion is granted then the accused person will not only benefit from no conviction being recorded, but will also avoid any recording of the offence. A diversion is granted usually for a first offence and non serious matters.

In relation to more serious offences, a person’s response may have a significant benefit in avoiding a conviction or even a potential prison sentence.

The office of Galbally and O’Bryan has a 24 hour service, whereby a prospective client can have access to legal advice from an accredited criminal specialist. For after-hours advice, please contact Peter Ward on +61 418 395 280.