When a report is made to the police about an offence that has taken place and the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are involved, you can either be arrested and interviewed or invited in for a voluntary interview (sometimes called a caution plus three).
During the interview, you have three main options.
You can choose to answers the questions put to you by the police. However, it's important to be cautious about what you say, as anything you say during the interview can be used as evidence against you.
Exercise your Right to Remain Silent
You have the right to remain silent during the interview or often people tend to answer ‘no comment’. This means you can choose not to answer any questions and is a way to protect yourself from potentially self-incriminating but additionally puts the onus back on the police to prove their case without being able to use any additional information obtained from you. If you choose this option and you are later charged, your silence can be taken into account by the court as evidence.
Provide a Written Statement
Instead of answering every question put to you, a written statement can be read out at the beginning of the interview that sets out your account and can contain as much or little information as you wish. It is often considered a favoured option by many because it removes the pressure of answering on the spot whilst still allowing you to answer the allegation and give your account.
Additionally, during the interview, you have the following rights:
Seek Legal Representation: You can choose to have a solicitor present during the interview and you can ask to pause the interview for further consultation at any stage and as many times as is necessary.
Request to End the Interview: If you become uncomfortable, unwell or feel that your rights are not being respected during the interview, you can request to end the interview. Consult with your solicitor before making this decision.
Before being interviewed it is essentially that you seek legal advice. That advice will be tailored to your individual circumstances, the allegation, the potential evidence in the case. Ultimately the decision as to whether you answer questions in interview lies with you but it is essential that you understand the potential consequences of each choice so that you can make an informed decision, on legal advice.
Legal disclaimer: Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein is accurate at the date of publication but please note that the law is ever changing and evolving. If you require advice in relation to any matter raised in this article please contact a member of the team.