Emergency Legal Assistance
What would you do if you were arrested or detained by a police officer?
Would you know what your rights were? If you found yourself in this position at 2.00am on a Sunday morning, would you know who to call?
Finally, there is an answer to these questions - and more!
If you have ever found yourself in any of the previous situations, you now have somewhere to turn. As a Pre-Paid Legal member, if you are detained or arrested your Legal Shield cover will help to protect and represent your rights.
If you are detained or arrested, after normal business hours, all you have to do is call the 24 hour emergency Legal Shield number, which is noted on the back of your membership card. You will be in contact with the Pre-Paid Legal Service Provider duty solicitor, to whom you will need to quote your name and membership number and then consult about your detainment or arrest.
It's that simple!
This service is available to you as a member of either a Pre-Paid Legal Singles or Family membership plan and provides you and your family members, protection and piece of mind.
We all know we have rights, and now, if you are ever faced with detainment or arrest, you know who to call to ensure your rights are protected and represented.
Remember - most police officers are courteous and conscientious and are more interested in protecting your rights than abusing them.
Your Rights and the Police
This information is not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon in place of proper legal advice.
What are my rights if I am questioned by the police ?
As a general rule, the police have the right to question you about any matter whether or not you agree or whether or not you have been arrested. Although the police have the right to ask you questions, you are not obliged to answer any questions or give any information except in the following circumstances:
> When asked, you must provide your name and address.
> If you are driving your vehicle you must:
- Stop your vehicle when signaled to do so.
- Give your name and address and if requested, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle.
- Produce your license when requested to do so by the police officer or within a reasonable time at a nominated police station.
- Submit to a breath alcohol test when requested to do so.
- If you are involved in an accident or your breath alcohol test is above 0.05 then you are required to submit to a blood alcoholtest at a police station when requested to do so.
- Report details of an accident to the police if injury is caused or where the property damage is greater than $1,000.
> If you are questioned by the police regarding information about the manufacture, sale or supply of prohibited drugs and plants;
then under the Misuse of Drugs Act, failure to cooperate may be an offense.
> A special constable on a train has the same powers as a police officer to arrest and detain, so when asked you must:
- Produce your ticket
- Provide your full name and address
What do I do if the police ask me questions?
> As a general rule, other than providing the police with your name and address, you should obtain legal advice before answeringany questions from the police.
> You should not sign a written record of interview or take part in a video-recorded interview, until you firstly obtain legal advice.
> There is no such thing as an off the record conversation with a police officer and anything you say, or any statements you make, can and willprobably be used as evidence against you.
> If the police suggest that unless you provide them with a statement they will proceed to arrest and charge you, you should still make no comment.
> If you are arrested and do not wish to say anything to police then you should convey this to the police clearly and consistently. This can be
done simply by stating your name and address and then stating the words "I do not wish to say anything until I seek legal advice".
> If asked further questions then say "No comment".
> If you do feel you should make a statement it is recommended that you first contact a solicitor.
Do I have to go to the police station if asked?
> No. Unless you are arrested or required to give a blood alcohol test, then you are not required to go to the police stationto provide a statement.
> Police do not have the power to detain a person to assist in enquiries or for any purpose unless that person has been arrested.
> If the police ask you to accompany them to the police station, tell them that unless you ard arrested, you wish to seek legal
advice before speaking with them any further and you will not attend the police station until you have sought that legal advice.
How can the police charge me?
> The police can charge you by either:
- Summons; or
- Place you under arrest.
> If the police reasonably believe you have committed a criminal offence then they can issue you with a Summons to appear in Court.The Summons must be personally served on you.
> If the police serve you with a Summons, do not answer any of their questions other than your name and address as outlined above and contact
your solicitor. Failure to appear at Court in accordance with the Summons will constitute an offence and further charges may be laid against you
and you will arrested for failure to comply with the Summons.
What do I do if I am arrested?
> The police can arrest you if they reasonably believe that you have committed a criminal offence. It is therefore lawful for the police to arrest youeven if you didn't actually commit the offence.
> An arrest can be made with or without a warrant, which is a written authority given to police, by the Court. Most arrests are made without a
> If you are arrested,the police should:
- Tell you that you are under arrest.
- Tell you why you arrested.
- Use whatever force is necessary to make the arrest.
> If you are arrested, you should:
- Ask the police what charges are being laid against you.
- Do no resist the arrest, stay calm and be cooperative. If you resist or become abusive, other charges may be laid against you.
- Ask to make a telephone call and phone your lawyer or family or friend.
- Other than providing your name and address, do not answer any questions until you firstly obtain legal advice.
> If you believe the police used unreasonable force in arresting you, have a doctor examine any injuries you sustained as a result of the arrest
and photographs taken of the injuries dated and signed by a witness and seek legal advice.
Can the police search my home or office?
> A police officer can enter your property (your home or office) without a warrant:
- To arrest a person on the premises who they reasonably suspect has committed a crime; or
- If they reasonably suspect that a breach of the peace or other offence is likely to take place.
> If police arrest someone on your property then they can search that person and their possessions without a warrant but they
cannot conduct a general search of the entire premises without a warrant or your consent.
> In any other situation the police officer will require a warrant or your consent to enter and search your property.
> If the police search your home or office with a warrant, stay there with them. Do not obstruct the search in any way as this may
lead to further charges. If possible, have a friend or any other person stay with you and the police during the search to act as an
independent witness if need be and call your legal Service Provider during normal business hours or your 24 hour Legal Shield
emergency number immediately.
Can I make a complaint about police conduct?
Any person can lodge a complaint about the conduct of a police officer to either the police or the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administrative Investigations ( the Ombudsman).
> As a first step a person should endeavour to resolve any issue for complaint with the police service.
> Any issue for complaint to the police service should be made directly to the Commissioner of Police, in writing and should set out in detail,
everything related to the cause of the issue for complaint. It should include names and contact details of any witnesses, dates as well as
medical or other reports, photographs etc. that may be relevant. A copy of the complaint and all relevant documentation should be retainedfor your own records.
> If you are dissatisfied with the response, including unreasonable delay, from the police service you are entitled to make a formal complaintto the Ombudsman about the conduct of the police officer(s) concerned.
> In order to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about the conduct of a police officer(s) a person must:
- have been directly affected by the conduct or actions of the police officer(s).
- know the officer(s) full name(s) and/or service number(s).
> Any complaint made to the Ombudsman must be in writing along with a copy of all documentation forwarded to and received from the policeservice, together with any further relevant information that may assist in the matter.
DISCLAIMER ~ The information contained in this material is for illustrative purposes only and is not a contract. It is intended to provide a general overview of the coverage. Please remember that only the plan contract can give actual terms, coverage, amounts, conditions and exclusions. Coverage and use of this service is restricted to all personal legal plans only and is not available under business plan membership. For more information regarding this service contact Pre-Paid Legal services directly.