Did you know that all legal advice at the police station is free of charge?
When an arrested person is at the police station they have ‘the right to consult privately with a solicitor and that free independent legal advice is available’ (PACE Code C3.1). This is a continuing right and can be exercised at any time. Unless certain, unusual circumstances apply, ‘all detainees must be informed that they may at any time consult and communicate privately with a solicitor, whether in person, in writing or by telephone, and that free independent legal advice is available’ (PACE Code C6.1). There has been a lot of reference to PACE in the ITV drama series Confession, and a lot of people have the misconception that advice at the police station is not free, well it most certainly is and it is your right.
Advice at the police station may come in different forms. You are entitled to telephone advice which may be given by the Criminal Defence Service (CDS), a duty solicitor, or a solicitor that you nominate yourself. You are also entitled to speak to a solicitor in person. This right is most commonly exercised when a detained person is to be interviewed under caution. In this circumstance you may choose to have the duty solicitor or nominate your own solicitor.
Whether you request telephone advice or advice in person, the duty solicitor or nominate your own solicitor, this advice will not cost you a penny as advice at the police station is covered under the Legal Aid Scheme. This is not means tested so no matter what your financial situation is, you will be eligible for free legal advice.
What happens when you request a solicitor in person to represent you in interview?
When you request a solicitor to represent you in interview, the police will get in touch with that solicitor. This can be the duty solicitor or you can name a firm of solicitors you wish to represent you.
You should then be offered an advice call from that solicitor. The solicitor will outline your rights in custody and explain the process from then on.
Your solicitor will arrive at the police station before you are due to be interviewed. The solicitor will have a discussion with the interviewing officer and obtain as much evidence as they can. You will then have an opportunity to speak to your solicitor in private. In this consultation your solicitor will advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence obtained by the police, outline your available options in interview and advise on the best possible course of action.
How can Hewitts help you?
At Hewitts we have solicitors and legal representatives who specialise in criminal law. We have a dedicated 24 hour police station department and can be available to give advice at the police station by telephone or in person no matter what time of day or night.
If you need advice you can call or drop in to any of our 4 offices or can call our 24 hour police station Freephone on 08003047740.