We are often contacted by clients who have been asked to attend at the police station for a voluntary police interview under caution in relation to a road traffic offence.
What is a voluntary police interview?
It is becoming increasingly frequent for the police to conduct interviews under caution on a voluntary basis. It simply means that instead of arresting a suspect and then interviewing them under arrest, the police may contact them and agree a date and time for them to attend at the police station for the purposes of an interview. This is a far preferable sequence of events as it allows a suspect to arrange a solicitor to attend at the police station with them and represent them.
I haven’t done anything wrong – do I need a solicitor?
Yes. We cannot empathise this enough. Many clients tell us they didn’t request a solicitor because they knew they hadn’t done anything wrong. But it is still crucial to obtain specialist advice and representation. Similarly other clients don’t request a solicitor and end up answering questions to the police when without this there may not have been sufficient evidence to charge them. They can often make the position far worse for themselves
Can I have a free duty solicitor?
Free representation at the police station for an interview under caution is available. The entitlement to free legal advice is embodied in the ‘Notice of Rights and Entitlements’ which is given to every suspect and issued under Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
This is irrespective of an individual’s means, it means that anybody – even very high earners can have a free solicitor at the police station.
It should be noted however that the fee paid to a solicitor on a legally aided basis is extremely low. It covers purely the attendance at the police station and does not cover any work undertaken before the interview or after the interview. For example, it may be necessary for your solicitor to contact witnesses, make attempts to secure the preservation of CCTV or simply take further instructions from you. There is no funding in respect of this area of work on a legally aided basis.
What is the benefit of instructing a solicitor on a privately paid basis?
If you are aware that the police want to speak to you in advance on a voluntary basis then this gives you a perfect opportunity to arrange to attend to see a solicitor and discuss the matter in more detail beforehand. This gives your solicitor an opportunity to liaise with the police officer dealing with the matter and obtain formal disclosure from them. This then gives you an opportunity to discuss the evidence in the matter with your solicitor beforehand as opposed to simply discussing it at the police station. It also affords an opportunity to get together any important evidence that you may wish to provide to the police and have this checked by your solicitor beforehand. For individuals who have never had any prior dealings with the police before, it can be extremely overwhelming to have to deal with the entire process. Attending and seeing a solicitor beforehand gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and have the entire process explained to you.
Do I need a specialist road traffic solicitor?
if the police wish to speak to you about a road traffic offence , for example, drink driving or dangerous driving then it is preferable to speak to a specialist motoring lawyer.
Speak to a Specialist Road Traffic Solicitor
If you require legal representation for a road traffic interview under caution please contact Ruth Peters by telephoning 0808 168 0017. You can also email Ruth at [email protected] or click here to contact us. Olliers Motor Law do not undertake cases on a legally aided basis.