Dealing with Police

Do I Have To Speak To Police?

No, you have a right to silence. This means you do not have to answer any questions that police may have.

You should always exercise your right to silence! You should speak to a lawyer about your matter and then you can decide if you want to give a statement to police. That can then be done with the assistance of your lawyer.

Remember, there is no such thing as an “off the record” conversation with a police officer.

There are a couple of exceptions to this right. If asked you must tell police your name and address. It is an offence not to provide police with your name and address. It is also an offence to give an incorrect name and address or to give false information to the police.

Also, passengers and drivers of a motor vehicle must tell police the name(s) and addresses of whoever owns the vehicle. A driver must show their licence either by producing it on the spot or at a police station within 48 hours. If you are a “P” or “L” plate driver you must carry your licence with you at all times when driving.

What Should I Do When I Am Dealing With Police?

When dealing with police it is important to be polite and remain calm. Evidence of how you acted or what you said to police may be used in a related court case.

You should politely and calmly say to police that “my lawyer has advised me about my right to remain silent when questioned. Other than giving my name and address, I do not wish to answer any questions, unless a law says that I have to. I may be willing to provide a statement later, but only after I have spoken to my lawyer.”

Saying this will not stop police talking to you but it will stop them pushing you to answer questions. It is a “shield” against improper police practice and for your protection. Use it.

Does My Right To Silence Mean I Don’t Have To Submit To A Breath Test?

No, the law states you must participate in the breath test or you may be guilty of offence. Apart from your name and address you do not have to answer any of the police questions.

Do I Have To “Go Along” With Police?

Not unless you are arrested. If you voluntarily accompany police you have no rights. DO NOT go along with police unless you are arrested.