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Criminal law and voluntary interviews
12 Mar 2021

Have you been politely invited by the police for a voluntary interview and now you aren’t sure how to proceed? Good caution is warranted even if the police don’t have a warrant out on you! Your first priority is to contact a crime solicitor at ABV Solicitors. Why? Because although you could attend without legal representation or being voluntary you don’t have to attend at all, the next step would be arrest and formal questioning. The police are not in the business of friendly voluntary conversations; if they wish to talk to you they have a solid reason to do so.

Don’t be naive; anything said in a voluntary interview could find its way into the courtroom and will guide the police in the next steps of their investigation. How you prepare for your voluntary interview is up to you, but it is always best to be prepared and come with legal representation in hand.

After all, if you attend alone, you may not be under arrest at the start of the interview, but could be placed under arrest at any point if deemed necessary.

What about a voluntary interview under caution?

If you are asked to attend a voluntary interview under caution, it is part of a criminal investigation. You have to be told you’re under caution and the nature of the alleged crime, but nothing else in connection to the investigation. Voluntary interviews can take place anywhere that is private, such as your home, workplace or a police station. You will have the right to end the interview at any time and it will be recorded and logged.

How does a solicitor help?

The police may try to give the impression that the voluntary interview is informal. They will actively attempt to find out information from you that may incriminate you by talking with you alone. Our criminal solicitor at ABV Solicitors should be contacted before any such incident takes place, so such pitfalls can be avoided.

Does attending a voluntary interview help?

Almost always, yes, but a criminal solicitor at ABV Solicitors would have to see your case to comment on it. As a rule of thumb, if you are invited, please attend the interview. At the very least, it will delay your arrest and the taking of forensic data. If you fail to attend and end up being arrested at 3 am, it may be more inconvenient and disruptive to your family and loved ones, making it harder to prepare your initial statement and possibly resulting in a search of your residence.

What will happen afterwards?

It depends; there may be no grounds for further action, or the police investigation will continue and you may be asked to attend more interviews. If the decision is taken to prosecute, you will receive a summons in the mail to report to the relevant court. We would be happy to help with representation in court if it ever got to that stage, but hopefully with our help, it can be handled at the police station.

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