1. You don’t have to attend a Police Station as soon as Police contact you

Police can get a warrant and come and arrest you. Everyone knows that. However, where they don’t have sufficient grounds for a warrant, or don’t want to come unannounced, they will contact you and ask that you attend the Police station for a record of interview. Sometimes, they will tell you that you need to come to the station as a matter of urgency. Don’t fall for it. If they are calling you and not pulling out the handcuffs on your front doorstep, it’s not urgent. However, they may be pressuring you to come in sooner rather than later because they do not want you to get proper legal advice. Rather, they want to give you twenty minutes at the Police Station to call a lawyer who knows nothing about you or your matter in order to get advice before immediately interviewing you. Not ideal.

If you have been invited for an interview, you need to engage a competent and experienced lawyer immediately. That lawyer will call the Police member with carriage of the Investigation, whom we refer to as the ‘Informant’, and make an appointment for you to attend the record of interview, but with enough time to sit down with you and give you proper legal advice. This must either happen in person or via virtual meeting. Your lawyer needs to see how you react to questions and get a feel for how you will perform in the interview, because if you are charged and prosecuted this interview will be played to a jury one day.

So, if the Police are telling you that you need to come to the station tomorrow, hire the best criminal defence lawyer today!

2. You don’t always say “No Comment”

We know that, on tv, everyone facing a Police interview say’s “no comment”. A lot of the time, that is the advice that you will receive from your lawyer when you seek advice before an interview. You have a right to silence. The fact that you have exercised that right cannot be used against you. And, sometimes, when you are unsure or haven’t had a chance to sit down properly with your lawyer, this is the best position to take.

However, not every interview needs to be a “no comment” record of interview. Getting the best possible legal advice about the particular allegations made against you is essential. There are times when you will want to put across your side of the story. This is particularly so if you were defending yourself, the entire allegation is denied or where you have an alibi. Saying “no comment” when there is a real defence or where the allegations are expressly denied, whilst totally understandable, can actually make it more likely that you will be charged because Police are only left with one side of the story. It may be far better for you to put your side of the story on the table at the beginning of an investigation, rather than wait to see whether you will be charged and then have to give evidence in your trial, in front of a jury, and be cross-examined.

The decision about whether to make a comment in your record of interview will depend on a number of things:

  • What are the allegations?
  • Does your side of the story help you?
  • Are there any witnesses or objective evidence that might assist you?
  • What is your demeanour? Do you come across as genuine and believable?

When we prepare clients for records of interview, we prepare them properly and thoroughly. And quite often, a great record of interview makes the difference between whether a client is charged or not. So before you walk in and say no comment, speak with a criminal defence lawyer who knows what they are doing.

3. Beware the Listening Device

You are a fool if you discuss anything incriminating in your house or car within 90 days of having a search warrant executed on you. Here is the scenario: The Police execute a search warrant on your house. All of the occupants of your house are taken outside or gathered in one room, such as a bedroom. You might even be put in the back of a Police car. Ultimately, you are not charged. You may not even been interviewed. So why the search?

Regularly, Police will execute a search warrant so that they can plant a listening device in your house or car. Thereafter, they will listen very carefully to what you say. Later on down the track, these recordings could form a case against you or your loved one. So remember, sometimes the search warrant is just the beginning.

4. Secure Your Social Media

If you are charged with a criminal offence, there is a chance that it may come to the attention of the media. As soon as they start investigating a story, the media will search your social media pages to find photographs or videos of you for their story. This can be distressing and embarrassing. We have had clients who have lost their jobs because photos or videos have emerged which has identified them as accused people. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and, once those images are out there, that’s it. As soon as you are charged with a criminal offence, you should consider privatizing your social media and changing your name on your accounts so that you are harder to find. You should also remove photographs of yourself. If in doubt, just take all of your social media down until your matter is over. Even if the media report on your story, at least they won’t have the images of you immediately to hand.

5. Get an Email Address for your Lawyer only

 We recommend that all of our clients set up a new email address with legal in the title. For example, johnsmithlegal@gmail.com. This is important for two reasons:

  • It allows your lawyers to contact you in writing without the concern that the email might be “inadvertently” intercepted by law enforcement. Having legal in the email address leaves law enforcement in no doubt that you are using the email account for the purpose of corresponding with your lawyers.
  • It allows you to closely monitor correspondence from your lawyers, without losing their emails amongst the junk mail and personal emails that you may receive.

    6. Get on a Mental Health Plan Now

    Criminal proceedings are stressful. Having the proper support in place is important. Also, if your criminal proceedings resolve as a Plea, we may want to obtain a report from your Treating counsellor, Psychologist or Psychiatrist to produce in the proceedings. Such a report will be particularly relevant where a client concedes that they offended in some way, but were influenced by a psychological condition, drug or alcohol abuse. A report from a counsellor who has seen you for some time is far more compelling than a report from a Psychologist who has seen you once. So do yourself a favour and start the work early. It can only do you good.

     7. Don’t Talk About Your Case

     It’s that simple. Don’t talk to your friends. Don’t talk to your family. Just your lawyer. An investigation doesn’t end until you are found guilty or not guilty. New evidence can be produced at any time. So, don’t talk until you walk.

    If you are Under Arrest, Contact Our Criminal Lawyers

    Don’t hesitate to contact our office if you are under arrest and looking for a criminal defence lawyer. We have a team of expert lawyers with experience in a range of different areas of the law, including, organised crimecriminal appealsassaultmurder and manslaughterdrug offencesfraud, and customs offfences.