Criminal FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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What do I have to tell police if I am pulled over?

If you are stopped by a police officer, you are required to give your full name, date of birth and address. If you are a provisional licence holder you are required to produce your licence immediately. If you hold an open licence you are required to hand it over or produce it to a Police Station within 24 hours if you do not have it on you. You do not have to answer any other questions. If you do answer any questions, you should be aware that many police officers wear body mounted cameras or microphones which record what you say. Just as they say in the movies “anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law”. Other than giving your name and address, you have a right to silence. We recommend that you exercise that right until you obtain legal advice from a lawyer.

What if I have an excuse for what I was doing?

Police write tickets and lay charges. It is very rare to be able to talk yourself out of a ticket or charge, particularly now that there is pressure on police to increase the number of tickets that they issue. If you have a legitimate excuse for your actions, that explanation is best made through a lawyer who is trained to articulate a proper legal argument as to why a particular charge should be dropped. It is important to understand that an explanation for behaviour may not provide a legal defence for the behaviour. In reality, police have little discretion to make judgments as to whether your behaviour was reasonable in the circumstances. That is a job reserved for the courts.

Do I have to submit to a drug or breath test?

The short answer is yes. If you fail to give a specimen of breath or saliva, police have the power to arrest and detain you for the purpose of obtaining a specimen.

Can Police Search my Vehicle?

Police do not have the power to search vehicles at random. In order for police to be allowed to search a vehicle they have to have:
(a) A search warrant; or
(b) A reasonable suspicion that that an offence has or is being committed and that if a search warrant has to be obtained, there is a real possibility that evidence may be destroyed in the interim.
If your vehicle has been searched without a warrant or reasonable suspicion, any evidence obtained may not be able to be admitted in a court.

What do I do if I am arrested?

If you are arrested by police you should:
(a) Say nothing;
(b) Decline to participate in a police interview;
(c) Co-operate with any directions from police;
(d) Seek legal advice immediately; and
(e) Remember that almost everything you say to police will be recorded and used against you.