Criminal Defence Solicitor, Helen Toyne, advises on what you should do if you find yourself in the situation where you’re questioned by the Police and why you need a Duty Solicitor, in our blog post.
Scary thought, but you might find yourself in a situation where you are asked to visit a Police station at a later date for a voluntary interview or are arrested by a Police officer and taken to a Police station for questioning. What should you do?
Often clients tell me that they didn’t want to have a Solicitor because they were worried that it may make them look guilty, or that they couldn’t afford a Solicitor to help them.
Clients have also told me that they did not know that they were entitled to have a Solicitor at a voluntary interview or did not think that they would need to have a Solicitor, despite the fact that they were still interviewed under caution and can be summonsed to attend court for the alleged offence which they were questioned about.
There is a common misconception that a Solicitor is only for guilty people, and that hiring one can be expensive. This has led to 40% of the UK population attending a Police station with no legal representation. However this is incorrect.
You may not be aware that every person is entitled to free legal representation when being interviewed by the Police, for whatever reason, whether you are guilty or innocent.
You’re also entitled to request your own Solicitor, or law firm (as long as they offer free legal help) and you do not have to accept the Duty Solicitor that the Police offer you.
Free Legal Representation
When you attend a Police station you will be asked if you would like to instruct your own Solicitor, or if you would like a Duty Solicitor to be appointed.
A Duty Solicitor is an independent Solicitor, from a local law firm. These law firms work on a rota basis, so the Duty Solicitor you are appointed will be from any of the law firms in the area.
However, you can request a preferred law firm, such as Howells, to represent and advise you. You simply just ask for us at the Police station. If the interview is prearranged, contact us at any time so we can arrange for a solicitor to attend with you.
Whether you choose the Duty Solicitor on the rota at that time, or you call us, either way you will get free legal representation.
When should I contact a Duty Solicitor?
You should contact a Solicitor as soon as you become aware that you are being accused of an offence. Whether you are innocent or guilty you need the support of a specialist Criminal Defence Solicitor, like myself, as soon as you are aware that you are suspected or accused of a crime.
You should contact Howells even before you speak to the police or go to a Police station (if possible), so we can tell you what to expect, and explain what your rights are.
Won’t it make me look guilty if I have a Duty Solicitor?
It will not make you look guilty should you have a Solicitor, it actually shows that you have taken the arrest seriously and are seeking the legal advice that you are entitled to.
Without legal advice, you may be charged with offences because you do not know the law, or you may find yourself accepting offences wrongly believing that it would not go to court. Not only is the court process a long and drawn out process that can seriously affect lives, but it could result in a criminal conviction.
You can request Howells Solicitors as your Solicitor if you are questioned or arrested by the Police, free of charge, and you will be given the same professional and honest advice as you would if you were paying us by the hour.
Howells Solicitors cover Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham, and you can contact us for advice or representation at any time on any day by calling us, or visiting our website at Howellsllp.com
Sheffield – 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley – 01226 805 190
Rotherham – 01709 364 000
If you are calling out of office hours (9am – 5pm), you can call arrest line on: 07774162757 if you need urgent advice about a police interview.