While no one wants to end up on the wrong side of the law, it is important to know your rights in case you find yourself being stopped for questioning by the police. Even though you may be stopped at any time by the police, you don’t necessarily have to understand all of their questions. It is important for you to know which questions you should answer if questioned by authorities.
Being Stopped by Police
Whether you are walking or driving your car, the police can stop you and ask questions at any time. While you do not necessarily have to answer the questions they ask, you do have to give your name and address to the police when they ask under certain circumstances, which include:
- If you have committed an offence.
- They “reasonably suspect” that you committed an offence.
- They think you can help in their investigation of an indictable offence or an act of domestic violence.
- If you are ordered to stop being a nuisance or stop making noise.
- If they stop you while you are in a vehicle.
- If they are trying to enforce a law.
- If it is reasonable under the circumstances.
When they ask for your name and address, the police must inform you that it is an offence for you to refuse to give them the information. You can be charged with an offence if you do not have a reasonable explanation for refusing to give your name and address, and if you give a false name, the charges against you can be more serious.
Being Stopped in a Vehicle
The police must have a legal reason to have you pull over when you are driving a vehicle. When they do pull you over, they can ask for your name, address, and to see your license, but if they ask any other questions, you can refuse to answer them. Some of the legal reasons to stop you include giving you a random alcohol breath test or a drug saliva test, or they may ask you to go to the police station for a blood test.
What Are Your Rights?
When you are stopped and questioned by the police, you have the right to ask them why they want certain information. You can ask for the names of the police officers asking you questions and they must give you their rank, as well as their station. If they are not uniformed officers, you can ask to see their identifications, which they must show you.
You should be aware that if you do answer any questions, anything you say can be used against you by the police. If you think you are going to be arrested, Defence Lawyers Melbourne to represent you and only answer the questions required by law until they show up. Being aware of your rights is important if you are ever stopped and questioned by the police. Knowing your rights can also help prevent you from accidentally incriminating yourself during an investigation.