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Getting arrested or a friend or loved one getting arrested can be a very distressing, stressful and overwhelming experience for everyone involved.

In a pressure cooker situation like this, knowing what to do, making the right choices, saying the right things, and generally understanding your rights can make a huge difference to your current and future situation.  Unfortunately, it’s also the worst possible time to be making such critical decisions given the intensity of the situation and the likely state of heightened emotion.

It’s important to know your basic entitlements, and we have put together some of the most common questions we get asked regarding this unfortunate situation.

Under what circumstances is a Police Offer allowed to make an arrest?

In fact there are really only a few specific situations where you can be arrested, with the most obvious (and most common one) is that you are reasonably suspected of having committed a crime.  Alternatively you may have a warrant for your arrest from a prior alleged offence.  If a Police Officer deems you are a threat to your own welfare, or the welfare of others, they also have grounds for your arrest on the basis of protecting you and others from any harm.

It’s important to understand that if you have not been formally arrested, you are not obliged to speak with the police at all, or to go with them.

What information am I entitled to?

You must be told that :

  1. You are under arrest, and
  2. The reason for your arrest

What if I object to the arrest and the reasons?

Our very clear advice is to cooperate with the Police as best possible in light of the situation, and to try and maintain a calm and reasonable manner.  This will act in your favour, and under no circumstances should you try and resist arrest or make the situation difficult or dangerous for anyone involved.

What Can I Request?

You will be given the opportunity, and you have the legal right to call a friend or family member in private.  Importantly, you also have the right to speak with a Lawyer in private.

Contact Howden Saggers Lawyers as soon as the situation allows.  The earlier we can intervene and help you, the more favourable your short and long term outcome is likely to be.

You have the right to contact these people beforebeing questioned.

In special circumstances you may request the assistance of an interpreter to assist you.

Do I have to speak with the police and answer all their questions?

It’s important for the Police to caution you and to make sure you clearly understand your basic rights having been arrested.

You do have to provide your correct name and current address. Lying about either of these is a criminal offence in themselves.

Legally speaking, you don’t have to say anything – which is called ‘the right to silence’. 

You do not have to answer police questions, and you are allowed to decline them recording the interview. Not speaking does not imply your guilt, it simply means you cannot say the wrong thing.

Can the Police search me?

An office of the same sex may search you and they may require you to provide fingerprints. Anything taken from you during your search will be logged and you will be given paperwork verifying all items that were taken – a receipt of sorts.

Does my age make a difference?

The Police officers should be immediately advised if you are younger than 17 years old – you have the right to have a parent or guardian present throughout the entire process.


Getting arrested or being charged with a Criminal Offence can have life altering consequences. Don’t risk your future or your freedom.

Don’t leave your future to chance, getting advice and representation from an experienced Criminal Lawyer can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your matter and ultimately your future.

At Howden Saggers Lawyers, we are specialist Criminal Lawyers and appear in Court every day. We know the Magistrates, we understand the procedures. We have a great relationship with many Barristers at the Queensland Bar. We understand how the Courts work. We understand the pressures that you may feel in having to go to Court.

We are on your side.