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Voluntary Attendance At Police Headquarters – FAQs | Parslows Criminal Defence Lawyers

If I am suspected of committing an offence and I have been asked to go to the police question voluntarily to answer questions, do I have to go?

The short answer is no, you don’t have to go, but if you don’t go, you may well be arrested. This is not a certainty and it depends on the facts of each case and whether the police are able to arrest you. (The police are entitled to arrest you if they have reasonable cause to suspect you of committing an offence, having committed an offence, or being about to commit an offence)

If you have been asked to attend voluntarily and if you are thinking about not going, you should consider your position carefully and if possible get legal advice.

Why would the police ask me to attend voluntarily as opposed to arresting me?

The answer to this tends to become apparent on a close examination of the facts of a particular case rather than general speculation.

If the police decide not to arrest you, it may be for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it may be more convenient for everybody involved, if you attend voluntarily, as they/you know what time you will be interviewed.

You may well have been involved in an offence where some sort of forensic tests must be completed before you can be interviewed further, or at all. For example, if you have been involved in a road traffic accident and have had blood tests taken, to establish whether or not you are over the legal limit of alcohol. If your dealings with the police in relation to that investigation have been satisfactory and you have given them no concern that you would not attend an interview, you may well be given the opportunity to attend voluntarily.

Is it better to be asked to attend voluntarily rather than being arrested?

Yes, it is. If you attend voluntarily you have more control of the situation than you do if you are arrested. You are able to arrange a mutually convenient appointment with the police. You have more time to arrange for the lawyer of your choice to represent you at police headquarters and you have time to discuss with your lawyer, before going to police headquarters, any concerns that you have about the interview.

If you have attended voluntarily at police headquarters and your case ends up going to Court, the fact that you have attended voluntarily may assist in alleviating any concerns that the Prosecution or Court may have about whether you would answer to bail or not.

If I attend voluntarily, can I leave in the middle of the interview?

Yes, you can leave at any time, however, this is subject always to the proviso that the police are able to arrest you if they have sufficient evidence to reasonably suspect you of having committed the offence. Unfortunately, the answer to that question can only be assessed on a case- by-case basis.

Can I have a lawyer with me if I attend voluntarily?

Yes, you can take your lawyer with you.

If you do not have your lawyer with you, you may be offered free legal advice by telephone through the legal aid scheme, but only if you ask for it. The police are not obliged to tell you that you have the right to free legal advice by telephone, in the same way, that they do if you have been arrested.

If I attend voluntarily can my interview still be used in evidence against me?

Yes, it can. You will be cautioned in the normal way at the start of the interview. You will be told that you are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say may be put into writing and given in evidence.

The caution in Jersey is different from the caution in the UK because Jersey still has the right to silence. In simple terms, that means that you are able to give “No comment” answers, without it being the subject of a negative inference at trial.

How Parslows can help

Parslows criminal defence team advise on all areas of criminal law.

For further information please do not hesitate to call 630530 or email us on criminaldefence@parslowsjersey.com

The information and opinion expressed in this briefing does not purport to be definitive or comprehensive and are not intended to provide professional advice. For specific advice, please contact Parslows, We are not responsible for, and do not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with, the content of this document or any reliance upon it

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