Being under investigation or arrested is never a pleasant experience and if you have not received legal advice it can be even more distressing.
If the police are investigating you they will often contact you and invite you into the police station so as they can hear ‘your side of the story.’ This approach is often designed to put you at ease in the hope you will co operate in full, often incriminating yourself in the process.
Everything you say to the police whether face to face or on the telephone can be used as evidence against you. For this reason it is very important that everything you say to them is communicated either through your lawyer or in the presence of your lawyer. Even if you feel you have done nothing wrong it is just as important for you to have a lawyer present. Having a lawyer liaise with the police and be present during your interview is not an indication that you are guilty.
If you are asked to attend an interview do not agree or make any comments to the police until you have first sought advice from a lawyer. This is important as it will give you the opportunity to arrange for the firm of solicitors that you want to represent you. All to often an individual will turn up at the police station unrepresented on the pretence of an informal chat only to find themselves in court the next morning having been charged and remanded in custody overnight having been represented by a duty solicitor they did not want.
Having a lawyer present protects you and having a lawyer of your own choice present means you get the best person for the job, especially when being investigated in respect of specialist offences such as fraud.
The police interview itself takes part in three stages. The first being pre interview disclosure the second being a private and confidential discussion with your lawyer and the third being the tape recorded interview. Before your interview you will be cautioned then you will be questioned.
The maximum period of time the police can keep you in custody for without charge is 24 hours which can be increased to 36 hours on the authorisation of a superintendent or even longer if authorised by the magistrates court.
At the end of your interview there are several possible outcomes. You may be told your case is to be NFA’d. This means that the police do not intend to take any further action against you and so the case is being dropped. In most cases this is the end of the matter however if more evidence is discovered you can still end up being charged.
The second scenario is that you can be bailed to re attend the police station at a later date. This can be weeks or months in advance. Usually you are bailed to return whilst the police make further enquiries or the crown prosecution service to decide whether the person should be charged. The final scenario is that after interview you could be charged. In these circumstances you would be read the charges which explain exactly what you are being charged with. You will be remanded in custody and taken to the magistrates court the next day or you may be bailed to attend the magistrates court usually at some point within the next 7 days.
In addition to having a specialist crime team we also have a dedicated fraud team who are used to dealing with the intricacies associated with large scale , complex fraud investigations. So if you are being investigated by the police, if you have been arrested or are being interviewed under caution do not hesitate to call Stephensons immediately.
Our advice line is available 24 hrs call us on 0175 321 6399 and we have specialist lawyers on call 24 hrs a day 7 days a week who are ready to attend the police station and represent you.
By Lucy Cohen, from the serious fraud and business crime team