Warning: The following is general advice only.
It should not be substituted for legal advice. The following information
is drawn from resources including Legal Aid Commission, NSW Law
Society and Lawlink NSW.
Who can arrest me and why?
The police can arrest you if they have a warrant for your arrest;
you have committed or are about to commit an offence against the
Commonwealth Crimes Act; or you are suspected of smuggling or
the import or export of prohibited goods.
Can the police use force to arrest me?
The police can use as much force as necessary to arrest you. The
court will determine whether the force used was reasonable.
What happens if I resist arrest?
It is a criminal offence to resist arrest. You may be charged
with resisting arrest even if the police determine not to charge
you with any other offence.
Do I have to submit for a search?
Police can stop, search and detain you in certain circumstances.
They can pat you down, look in your pockets and bags and search
your car. In some circumstances they can strip search you.
The police officer must provide you with their
name and reason for the search.
The court will determine whether the police had
reasonable grounds for the search at a later date.
Can I be arrested for questioning?
Police can request you to accompany them to the police station
but you are not required to go unless you have been arrested for
an offence. It is not advisable to speak with the police until
you have spoken to your Solicitor.
What should I do when arrested?
Insist that you be allowed to contact a lawyer.
Do I have to answer questions if I am
Generally you have the right to silence. The exception is if the
arrest concerns a motor vehicle incident where you are required
to give your name and address and specifics of the incident. If
in doubt insist on speaking to a solicitor first.
Give the police your name, address and date of
birth, but do not answer any other questions or sign anything
other than a bail form without the advice of a Solicitor.
Do I have to submit to being fingerprinted
The police may take your fingerprints and photograph for the purpose
How long do I have to stay in custody?
Following an arrest the police may detain you for 4 hours. They
can then apply for an extension of a further 8 hours. After this
you must be either charged or released.
When can I get bail?
Usually after arrest and charging at a police station. In some
circumstances bail can be denied. If in doubt contact a Solicitor.
How can a Solicitor help me?
They can advise you of your rights; explain the alternatives;
make a bail application for you; and represent you in Court.
Before you go to Court
You should get legal advice as soon
as you can.
It can take time to get legal aid or see a private solicitor.
If you want to speak for yourself in court, it is still important
to get legal advice. The court will be making decision about your
future so getting legal help is a good idea.
Request an interpreter if you need one.
Ring the court where you case is to be heard and ask them to book
an interpreter in your language. This can take some time to arrange
so give them as much warning as possible.
Write down what happened.
This is very important. Prepare a statement in your own words
of everything that occurred relating to your charge. This should
include any conversations with police and witnesses. Make sure
you do this while the events are fresh in your mind.
Written references about your good character can help your case
Character references should be from people who
do not have criminal records or “bad reputations”.
These references can come from neighbours, family friends, workmates
or members of clubs or organisations you belong to.
The references should be neatly typed and include