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  TROUBLE WITH THE LAW?


   
 
11-6-2003
If you're taken to the police station.....If you're detained, what next? Here are some tips on how to handle!



MOTORING OFFENCES - SPEEDING
If you get booked, you`ll be cautioned. Only whatever you say after the caution is considered in court - so if you`ve got a good excuse, spit it out now. If you`ve been nabbed on video, ask to see the tape. You can also ask to see the calibration records for the equipment. The caution can go one of two ways. You`ll either be reported to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether to summons you, or you`ll get a fixed penalty notice in which case you`ve got 28 days to cough up or go to court. If you`re guilty, a fixed penalty is as good as it gets. You get minimum points and avoid £55 court costs. If the sign saying 30 has been vandalised, get a picture and use it as defence evidence.  
 
NOISE
Noise is an environmental health issue so the coppers are on dodgy ground asking you to keep quiet. Usually, they`ll act on a complaint from a Mrs Hitler and ask you to turn it down on the grounds that `you`re causing a breach of the peace`, which is one of those arsey legal terms that could mean anything.   
 
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU`RE NICKED...
If you watch The Bill, no doubt you`ve heard DC Stupid Accent say the new caution: You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. It`s a way of trying to get you to squawk. But you don`t have to. A good counter is: I have been advised not to answer any questions. I shouldn`t have to until charges have been made and properly explained. So I won`t say anything until I get a legal adviser. So you`re not really saying anything but it gets you away from the potential problems of saying nothing. Whatever you do, don`t sign anything or talk on tape until you`ve had legal advice. Don`t be intimidated - get a solicitor pronto. It`s the first thing a copper does when he`s nicked.   
 
WHAT IF THEY ASK YOU TO COME FOR `A FRIENDLY CHAT`...
There is no such thing as a `friendly chat` with the police. There may be times when an innocent explanation for what you have done will get the cops off your back, but don`t get into a detailed conversation until you`ve spoken to a solicitor.
 


WHEN A COPPER COMES UP TO YOU...
You don`t have to say anything other than identify yourself. Legal adviser Clive Nnamdi-Johnson says: There is no legal obligation on anybody to assist police investigations. But you could make it worse for yourself if you do nothing. My advice is to answer anything that isn`t too intrusive.   
 
YOU AND THE LAW
Whether you`re driving, cruising or just minding your own business, there`s one thing you can be sure of... the law ain`t far away. Yes, our friends in blue might not give a toss if your car`s stolen, but drive it too fast or go to a cruise and they`re all over you like a rash. Then they`ll probably talk to you like something they wipe off their shoe and start pushing you around whether or not you`ve done something wrong. So here`s some advice on dealing with the police. We haven`t used words like `forthwith` and `hereafter` but there are a lot of grey areas which can be exploited. After all, the law is an arse.   
 
CRUISING
The world`s full of do-gooders who think everyone should spend Sunday night watching Heartbeat. But if you want to cruise, where do you stand legally?   
 
GETTING ARRESTED
In crowds, police often get the wrong person - so get witnesses to your arrest. One way of doing it is by shouting your name, so everyone knows who`s getting shouldered. Get details of the arresting officer - he`s bound by law to give you his number. A common police trick is to badger you into accepting a caution so that you can get away quickly. Do not accept this under any circumstances if you have done nothing wrong.
 
GETTING SEARCHED...
If you`re stopped by non-uniformed police, ask to see their warrants. Ask why you have been stopped and at the end ask for a record of the search. They`re only supposed to search you if they`ve got `reasonable suspicion` that you`ve got: - controlled drugs - an offensive weapon or firearms - a sharp article There are other situations where you can be stopped and searched. For example, if you`re entering a football ground or if the police are expecting serious violence in a particular area. Again, it`s a very wide brief and one they use to justify hassling you at a cruise. Remember: They can only search your outer clothes in public. Only at the station can they get all intimate.    
 
IF YOU`RE DETAINED...
You always have the right: - to be treated humanely and with respect. So ask for that cuppa. - to see the written codes governing your rights and how you are treated. - to speak to the custody officer, who`s supposed to look after your welfare. - to know why you have been arrested You also have the right (although occasionally it can be delayed) to tell someone you`ve been arrested. Remember Do not panic. The police can only hold you for 24 hours without charge (36 hours for a serious offence). But they sometimes keep you isolated and waiting in the cell to `soften you up`. Insist on seeing a solicitor. You might have to wait, but it`s free. Don`t let the police put you off. It`s your right and it`s free. Tips... 1. Make no comment to all questions 2. Don`t write a statement 3. Don`t sign a statement written by the police 4. Don`t sign any police book until you have seen a solicitor   
 
IF YOU`RE TAKEN TO THE POLICE STATION...
The solicitor is your only friend. Don`t reply to any caution until you`re in the interview room with a solicitor present. If he is any good, he will advise you when to co-operate and when to keep schtum.   
 
MOTORING OFFENCES - DRINK DRIVING
If you`re pulled, you`ve got to take the breath test. If you don`t, you`ll be charged with `failing to provide a specimen of breath`.
 

Maxpower.co.uk


 
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