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  • Namita Pawa

What are the possible outcomes of being arrested?

Updated: Mar 15

If you are subject to an investigation by the police and have either been arrested and detained on suspicion of committing a criminal offence, or invited in to attend a voluntary interview, you will be interviewed by the police. There are a number of things that can happen that include the following:

No Further Action

The police may decide, having considered the evidence, that there is insufficient evidence to proceed and will take no further action against you (‘NFA’).


Once the evidence has been gathered and the investigation completed, the police will either make the decision to charge the individual with an offence or refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision. If the decision reached is that there is a realistic prospect of conviction, the individual can be charged with an offence and then either be kept in custody to appear before the Court for their appearance or be released on bail and given a court date that they must attend.


A caution is a formal warning, which can be offered by the police in circumstances that you are a first-time offender and have admitted committing a relatively minor offence. Whilst a caution is not a conviction, it can be used as evidence of bad character if you are prosecuted on a later occasion for another offence.

Release Under Investigation

Once the first interview has taken place, the police may determine that they need further time to carry out their investigation before a charging decision can be made. As a result, they may decide to release the individual whilst that investigation carries on (RUI). If a decision is later made to charge or NFA, the individual will be notified by post, email or through their solicitor (if they had one).

Bail to Return

Much the same as the circumstances of RUI but where the police believe that in order to release the individual they need to subject them to bail conditions, they will be released on police bail while the investigation continues (BTR). A date to return to the police station will be given to the individual at which point it is hoped a decision will be made to either NFA or charge. The BTR can be extended to six months from the date of first arrest but if the police are not able to conclude their investigation and make a decision by then, they can apply for further time in certain circumstances.

Further Interview

If further evidence comes to light, the police may want to carry out a further interview. This will either be done on the BTR date or if the individual has been RUI, then they can be invited in for an interview on a voluntary basis. Thereafter, one of the above will apply until a decision is made.

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.


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