LEGAL EAGLE: The police want to interview me; do I need to take a solicitor with me?
The police have asked me to go to the police station for an interview. Should I take a solicitor with me if I haven’t been arrested? I’m not sure I can afford it. I work full time but can I still get help with the cost?
Yes, you have the right to free and independent legal advice in the police station and you should use it. If you have a solicitor you know, they can attend with you or alternatively you can ask the police to contact the duty solicitor on your behalf. The solicitor is there to safeguard your legal rights and provide you with advice.
It sounds as if you have been asked to attend voluntarily to be interviewed under caution.
A person doing so will not be arrested and could choose to leave the interview at any point. If however you were to refuse to be interviewed the police may decide at that point that it is necessary to arrest you in order for the interview to proceed.
The police will only interview you if they have received a complaint or have a suspicion that you may have been involved in a criminal offence.
Any solicitor attending to represent you will be able to obtain information from the police, as to these suspicions, before your interview. The solicitor will then have a confidential consultation with you before providing appropriate legal advice as whether in is in your interests to answer questions or not.
The advice of a solicitor at the police station is free to anyone being interviewed under caution, regardless of their earnings, so you will not have to provide any evidence of your income.
A person attending voluntary has the same legal rights and protections as an arrested person and if that person is deemed to be vulnerable or if they are under the age of 18 an Appropriate Adult must also be in attendance to assist the person with any communication issues they have and to ensure they understand questions being asked.
My strong advice would be that you contact a solicitor who practices criminal law as soon as possible and provide them with the details of the attendance and the police officer’s contact details. At Ben Hoare Bell our criminal solicitors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week so please feel free to call us and we will be happy to assist you.
For assistance please call Ben Hoare Bell LLP on 0191 565 3112 or email [email protected] Visit www.benhoarebell.co.uk for further information.