What you should know if you are arrested

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If you are arrested you have to provide your name and home address. Further, than this, you do not have to say anything until you have obtained the services of a lawyer. It is best to remain polite, state that you are not a criminal and are prepared to cooperate within the scope of your rights.  If you do decide to talk, tell the truth but do not admit guilt.  The next step in the process is to either allow you to pay police bail or to detain you until your first court appearance.  For some lesser offences, there might also be the possibility of paying an admission of guilt fine – this is not advisable as you will then end up with a criminal record.  If you are detained the state may only hold you for 48 hours (excluding weekends and public holidays) before you appear in court.

You can represent yourself at your first court appearance, during which the court will set bail, or extend the police bail, and inform you of your right to legal counsel and allow you to choose legal aid if you cannot afford your own lawyer.  Under certain circumstances, bail may be denied. The date for the next court appearance will also be set.  From here on it is advisable to obtain legal counsel.  Even if you are guilty of the offence, a lawyer can argue your case and present mitigating circumstances to avoid or reduce the possible sentence.

Valuable advice for when you are involved in any legal matters in life is “Let lawyers speak to lawyers”.

 

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