You may have found this article and are reading it because you have been requested to attend a voluntary police interview under caution. This can be very daunting if you have not been interviewed by the police before. Especially if you are innocent. This is very common, but what most people don’t know is that you have the right to free legal representation at the interview. Perhaps even more importantly, you can choose who represents you.
If you have been ask to attend an interview, you probably received a telephone call from a police officer looking to arrange a convenient time and date. The officer should have advised you that one of your many rights is to have an independent lawyer represent you free of charge. If that advice was not given to you, or that privilege was in any way undermined by the conversation you had with the police, then you have been misinformed.
The interview will take place at a police station, or occasionally another venue where police conduct interviews, such as council offices. You will be invited in a voluntary capacity, meaning that you are not going to be formally arrested, but you will be interviewed under caution. You can technically refuse to attend, and are free to leave at any time, even during the actual interview itself. However, it is likely that if you don’t attend, or if you decided that you wanted to leave during the questioning period, the interviewing officer would then subsequently arrest and detain you for the purpose of conducting an interview.
Most people don’t ask for a solicitor because they think it indicates guilt. If they do, most don’t have their own solicitor and ask for a solicitor to be arranged on their behalf. The police will arrange this for you and the solicitor will be the duty solicitor who is on call that day. You will have no idea who this will be or how experienced they are. It is effectively pot luck!
The date that is arranged with the police is usually soon after the telephone call and so you may feel pressured into simply asking the police officer to obtain a solicitor on your behalf. You may feel aggrieved that you did not have sufficient time to research your own preferred lawyer to attend with you, which can be very unsettling.
If you have been invited for a voluntary interview, you should always ask for a lawyer, preferably one you have researched and chosen yourself. The police are highly trained in interview techniques and can often encourage you to say what they want to hear, especially if you are overwhelmed it being your first interview. Having a lawyer with you will help you to avoid these traps. You shouldn’t worry that ‘there isn’t enough time’ to research and choose your own lawyer.
We also advise that you speak to your lawyer prior to your interview. By doing this you allow yourself to develop that sense of trust in the professional who will be attending with you. They can also advise you on what to expect during your interview. This should give you more confidence during an unquestionably difficult time.
If you have asked the police to arrange a lawyer for you and don’t know how to contact them, please feel free to get in touch. We can arrange some telephone advice in advance or perhaps even to meet one of our experienced solicitors to discuss what is going to happen and what the potential outcomes are.
We are all highly experienced in dealing with criminal investigations and interviews under caution. Not only can we offer you advice on the procedure and likely content of a formal interview, but we can help manage your expectations and anxieties throughout the whole investigative process.
Contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.