I've been charged with a serious crime - now what?

Posted on 18 June 2012

If you have been charged with a serious crime, there are several things that you should remember to help you through this process.  We have set out a basic list below.

  • Co-operate with the police – give them your name and address and don’t resist arrest – it will only make things worse for you in the long run.
  • Do NOT  make a statement or agree to give an interview UNTIL you have consulted with your lawyer.
  • If you are arrested, you can only be held for 4 hours (normal circumstances) or 8 hours (exceptional circumstances) until they either release you without charge, or charge you and decide if to release you with or without bail or remand you in custody.
  • If you are asked to go to the Police Station voluntarily, take basic ID with you only.  Do not take documents, mobile phones  or other personal items as they can be inspected and potentially retained by the police. It will also make the processing of their paperwork much quicker and easier as they wont have much to enter into the Property Docket which records the items that are taken from you if you are to be held in custody during the arrest process.
  • If you are remanded in custody, your matter will be brought before the court for its first return very quickly – usually the next day – it may be done by video link.  Be careful not to make a hasty application for bail unless it is properly prepared with all of the necessary information available.   You only get one shot at bail unless and until your circumstances change in a material manner.
  • Maintain your right to silence until you have had a chance to speak with your lawyer – even then you should be very cautious and careful with what you say to the Police and when – it will normally only be used to strengthen the Police’s allegations against you.
  • If you do say anything (not recommended in most circumstances) to the Police, make sure it is absolutely true and accurate – if you mislead the Police, not only could it strengthen their resolve to pursue you over the matter but it may lead to subsequent charges being laid against you.

If you need assistance with a criminal law matter, contact our team.