Shane Tait Criminal Lawyers

No one ever plans plans to be arrested, but it might help to think just once about what you will do and not do if you ever hear the phrase “You’re under arrest. Put your hands behind you.”

The simplest “to do” rule is to do what you are told. Simple, but somehow it often escapes someone who is either scared or intoxicated.

More important to guarding your rights and interests are ten things you SHOULD NOT do:

  1. Don’t try to convince the officer of your innocence. It’s useless. He or she only needs “reasonable grounds” to suspect you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. He does not decide your guilt and he actually doesn’t care if you are innocent or not. It is the job of the judge or jury to free you if he is wrong. If you feel that urge to convince him he’s made a mistake, remember the overwhelming probability that instead you will say at least one thing that will hurt your case, perhaps even fatally. It is smarter to save your defence for your lawyer.
  2. Don’t run. It’s highly unlikely you could out run the police.
  3. Don’t make a statement!!!  You have the right to remain silent.  The hardest cases to defend are those where the client got very talkative. Many people make admissions to offences that could never have been proven.  I have seen clients who have literally added years to prison sentences by speaking to the police before they spoke to their lawyer.  Judges and juries will discount or ignore what a suspect says that helps him, but give great weight to anything that seems to hurt him. In more than 20 years of criminal practice, I could count on one hand the number of times a suspect was released because of what he told the police after they arrested him.
  4. Don’t give permission to search anywhere. If they ask, it probably means they don’t believe they have the right to search and need your consent. The police have limited powers of search. This is also a good reason not to talk, even if it seems all is lost when they find something incriminating.  My office has had significant success challenging unlawful searches, charges can be dismissed if a search is unlawful.

5. If the police are searching your car or home, don’t look at the places you wish they wouldn’t search. Don’t react to the search at all, and especially not to questions like “Who does this belong to?”

6. Don’t resist arrest. Above all, do not push the police or try to push their hands away. That would be assaulting an officer and any slight injury to them will turn your minor offence into something more serious. Obviously, striking an officer can result in serious injury to you as well.

7. Don’t mouth off to the police. Police have a lot of discretion in what charges are brought.

8. Do not believe what the police tell you in order to get you to talk. There are many ‘deals’ you could be offered in order to make you talk.  A very common claim made my clients is that the policeman said he would let me out on bail if I made a statement.  If you make a statement full of admissions you are probably less likely to get bail, not more likely.  ALWAYS EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO A LAWYER.

9. Don’t let them in (unless they have a warrant or tell you they have a lawful reason to search) If at home, do not invite the police into your home as this gives them the power to search. If the police have a warrant, do not obstruct them. If an offence has recently been committed and the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you are involved, they can arrest you and search your home or the parts of the home you occupy if in shared accommodation.

10. Don’t delay.  If the police are looking for you or inviting you to come to the station for a ‘chat’ call me NOW.  Some quick intervention from a skilled lawyer could have a huge impact on your life.  We deal with police officers every day, you don’t.

That’s it: Ten simple rules that will leave as many of your rights intact as possible if you are arrested.

Contact my office so that I can help you stay out of jail. 09 308 9446, 09 263 0453