Do not answer any questions other than telling the Police your name and address until you have spoken to a lawyer. Before speaking to a lawyer you should obtain as much information from the Police as you can, including:
· the investigating officer’s name and rank
· details of what the allegations being investigated are
· who has made the allegations
· and based on what evidence.
When being interviewed by Police, you only have to tell them your name and address. You do not have to answer any other questions, and it cannot be used against you if you don’t.
This means that the Police cannot say in Court: “If they didn’t do it, why didn’t they answer our questions when we interviewed them?”
You cannot make your position worse by not answering Police questions, but you can definitely make it worse if you do answer their questions. So the starting point is to always make a no comment interview unless you have spoken to a lawyer who told you to answer the Police’s questions.
There are many reasons for this, some of the main ones are:
· Being interviewed by Police is very stressful and sometimes under that pressure people will make mistakes of memory or agree with something the Police put to them which isn’t true. Such mistakes can cause the Police to investigate you further or might lead to them charging you for something you didn’t do.
· If you did commit the crime being investigated, you can make your situation worse and you definitely should not answer any questions before speaking to a lawyer. Even if you intend to plead guilty to what you are being investigated for, what you say in your interview might lead to more, or more serious charges, being filed against you. The key here is not to make your situation worse.
Having said all that, there are also times when answering questions might help your situation by establishing a defence, or showing that you are genuinely remorseful, but the safest thing to do is to speak to a lawyer first.
The Police must give you the chance to speak to a lawyer and you should always use that opportunity.