Should you have a lawyer if you have been charged or are at risk of being charged with a criminal offence?
The short answer is yes. We strongly recommend that if you are contacted by the Police Service that you speak with a lawyer before answering any questions.
If you are approached by a police officer in a public setting, you are only required to provide them with your name and current address. If you are
pulled over whilst driving by a police officer, you must produce your driver’s license.
Police will often ask if you wish to participate in an electronic record of interview. The police must inform you of your right to telephone a friend
or lawyer to seek advice or have someone present during the police interview, before you begin being questioned. You should always exercise your
right to telephone a lawyer as anything that you say in that interview can be used against you as evidence in future proceedings.
If your lawyer cannot immediately be present, the police must delay the interview for a reasonable period of time. You are not required to answer any
questions asked of you, other than providing your name and address as mentioned above. Providing the police with more information without first
obtaining advice can be detrimental to your case.
The police might tell you that you don’t need a lawyer, or that the result of you pleading guilty to the charge will result in a certain penalty. The
role of the police is to prosecute you. They are not trained lawyers and are not there to provide you with legal advice to protect your interests.
Before speaking to police, or if you have been charged with a criminal offence, you should always seek advice from an experienced criminal lawyer.
Failing to do so, could have dire consequences for you.