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Most of us are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the October Long Weekend. It’s been months since the residents of New South Wales enjoyed a Monday off work. Spring has arrived and silly season is fast approaching.
Between the NRL and AFL Grand Final celebrations, the Listen Out Music Festival, dance parties and general long weekend shenanigans, Police are gearing up for a busy weekend. Even the State’s Highway Patrol will be out in force given the return of Double Demerits and school holidays.
While most will enjoy the long weekend without incident some of us will return to work on Tuesday with a little more than a hangover – facing court, having lost a drivers licence or the subject of a potential police investigation.
A criminal charge or loss of licence can have devastating consequences. It’s not uncommon for people to lose their jobs, have to comply with stringent bail conditions about where they can or can’t go or who they can or can’t see, strain relationships with loved ones or face significant financial hardship as a result.
If you think it won’t happen to you, we at Armstrong Legal can assure you that all of those who seek out our help haven’t intended on being arrested, charged or issued with traffic infringements. Getting caught drink driving the morning after a big night, finding yourself in a drunken altercation at the pub or taking a risk with engaging in drug use at a music festival are mistakes often made. Our experience tells us they’re also mistakes that can and are made by good, everyday people.
To protect your own legal interests we recommend the following:
1.Always be respectful to Police.
Police are everyday people doing their jobs. Police have powers to give someone a warning, caution and determine what offences to charge people with. Police are much less likely to deal with a person favourably if that person is difficult or insulting. Even if you think police are out of line, be respectful for the duration of your dealings with them. There is usually nothing to be gained in the moment other than further charges.
2.Know your rights.
You are required to tell police your name and address to allow them to establish your identity. You do not have to answer any further questions. Police can only search you in certain circumstances, for example if they have a reasonable suspicion to believe that you are possession of a prohibited drug or weapon. If you don’t consent to the search you should tell them this. You can (and should) ask police for the reasons why they are questioning, searching or arresting you.
3.Always speak to a lawyer before signing something, making any admissions or engaging in a recorded interview.
As stated before, there is no obligation for a person to answer police questions about an incident or allegation. You should always get legal advice before doing so. Even if you believe you haven’t done anything wrong or that you can prove your innocence it’s in your legal interests to exercise your right to silence. Police must prove any case against you. Confirming you were at a certain location, were in possession of something or did a certain thing can prove part or all of the police’s case for them.
4.Get legal advice.
The most important rule of all is to seek help from a lawyer. This applies whether you’re merely being spoken to by police under suspicion of having committed an offence, have been detained, charged or arrested.
The Criminal Law team at Armstrong Legal are here to help. We’re skilled an experienced in all areas of criminal law and can be contacted on 1300 168 676 or through our website armstronglegal.com.au.
Image Credit – Helen Perris © 123RF.com
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100