The Police have a duty to inform any person who is to be interviewed under caution that they have the right to free and independent legal advice, in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The person can then opt to be advised and/or represented by a duty solicitor or a solicitor of their choice.
What is the duty solicitor?
A duty solicitor is a solicitor usually in private practice who qualified to advise and represent detainees at the police station who do not have their own solicitor. It is a common misconception that the duty solicitor is affiliated with the Police. All advice given is independent and confidential. Our criminal law solicitors at Hegartys are on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so there is always someone available to assist at the Police Station if required, whether we are the duty solicitor that day or not.
How much will it cost?
Legal advice and representation at the Police Station is completely free of charge under the Legal Aid ‘Advice and Assistance’ scheme. Unlike other types of Legal Aid, this is non-means tested, which means that everyone, regardless of their income and assets, will be entitled to free advice and representation.
Why should I have a solicitor?
There are many benefits of having a solicitor present to advise and represent you at the Police Station:
- They are there to protect your rights and have specialist training upon the correct procedures the Police should follow. This means that if the Police ask inappropriate questions, or have failed to do something that they should have, the solicitor can intervene.
- A solicitor is able to obtain and analyse ‘initial disclosure’ prior to the interview. Initial disclosure will consist of the nature and details of the allegation that has been made against you. The solicitor can then have a confidential pre-interview discussion with you so that together you can prepare for the interview.
- The Police interview is a crucial part of any case/investigation and the content of it may have significant implications upon you should the matter proceed to a trial. A solicitor is able to advise you in relation to the strength of the case against you and the options available to you as a result of this. This could include whether to answer questions in the interview or to remain silent and the implications of either course.
- It is not just the Police interview that a solicitor can assist with; they can assist you with ID procedures and biometric samples. A solicitor can also make representations to the Police about bail and any bail conditions due to being imposed.
I am being interviewed as a volunteer; do I still need a solicitor?
Any person who is to be interviewed under caution is entitled to free and independent legal advice, this includes those being interviewed voluntarily. A volunteer at the Police Station has different rights to that of a person who was arrested and brought to the Police Station, and a solicitor can advise upon these rights and ensure they are upheld. It is beneficial to have a solicitor for all interviews under caution for the above mentioned reasons.
We are here to help you
We understand that being interviewed by the Police can be extremely stressful and therefore we always advise that having a solicitor present to assist can alleviate some of that inevitable stress and concern.
Our solicitors here at Hegarty Solicitors have many years’ experience of representing clients at Police Stations across Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and beyond. If a suspect is charged following a Police investigation, our expert criminal defence team are able to continue to represent them at the Magistrates Court and/or Crown Court.
If you are arrested or have been invited into the Police Station for a voluntary interview, do not hesitate to call our crime department on 01733 295679, or simply ask for Hegarty Solicitors at the Police Station.