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What Happens When You’re Arrested?

Being arrested is a highly stressful situation for both the individual and their friends and family. Here is some guidance on what to expect and what you should do to achieve the best outcome.

What happens first?

The usual process is that you will be taken to a police station. Here, you’ll be told your rights by a custody officer, who will confiscate your possessions once you have been searched. If you need an interpreter, this will be arranged.

Your rights include permission to:

  • Obtain free legal advice, this will be from a legal aid lawyer who is paid a small fixed fee regardless of the time required to properly advise and assist you. You do have the right to be silent, but this may have an effect on a trial at a later date.
  • Tell someone where you are
  • Get medical help if you are unwell
  • See the police ‘Codes of Practice’, which tells you the rules they must follow
  • Read a written version of your rights
  • Be given food regularly
  • Go to the toilet

Your photograph, a DNA sample and fingerprints may be taken while you’re at the police station, where you will be held in a cell and questioned. You can be held for up to 24 hours before you’re charged with a crime or released, or for up to 14 days if you’ve been arrested under the Terrorism Act. The police could also apply to hold you for up to 36 or 96 hours (with the permission of magistrates) if you’re suspected of a serious crime, such as murder.

Contact a lawyer immediately

You must get in touch with a high quality lawyer as soon as possible to obtain professional advice and support and maximise your chances of early release and minimise damage. Approach a law firm with a first-class reputation, such as Edward Hayes, whose lawyers and advisers have had to step in after poor advice from some legal aid solicitors has caused problems for people. If you can afford private representation you should consider doing so. We often receive calls for help from friends and family at these difficult times.

What happens next?

If there is insufficient evidence to charge you, the police will release you. They can either release you unconditionally or on police bail, which means you will have to return to the police station at a later date for a possible follow-up.

There may be conditions attached to police bail – for instance, you may have to reside at a particular address and/or not contact certain people. A lawyer can help you to secure bail.

Contact us

Edward Hayes has a team of highly trained lawyers and qualified advisers on hand 24 hours a day to help those held in police stations in all locations. Contact Edward Hayes on 01243 781431 for the Chichester office or 020 7353 0011 for London. Alternatively, please visit the Edward Hayes contact page for details of other offices around the country.

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