Guide

Being arrested: your rights

Last updated: 25 January 2018

Legal advice at a police station

You have the right to speak to a solicitor at any time while in police custody. This could be over the phone or at the police station. If you turn this down you can change your mind later.

You also have the right to a solicitor being in the room while the police question you. The police must wait for the solicitor to arrive before they question you – unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Advice and attendance from a solicitor is free while you're in police custody.

A solicitor's job is to protect your rights and give you advice about the law. Speaking to a solicitor does not make it look like you have done something wrong.

You must be told about your right to free legal advice after you're arrested and before you're questioned at a police station. You can speak to a solicitor in private before you're questioned and have them in the room with you when the police ask you questions.

Tell the police you would like legal advice and they'll arrange for your own solicitor to be contacted or for you to receive advice from a duty solicitor – they're available 24 hours a day and are independent from the police.

You can ask for your own solicitor but your advice might not be free. If you have to pay, they'll explain how much it will cost and how you can pay for it.

Once you've asked for legal advice, the police can't question you until you've got it – unless there are exceptional circumstances. For example, to stop a future crime happening or someone getting hurt.

If you don't want to have a solicitor with you during your police interview, you don't need to. Sometimes you can't refuse to have a solicitor present, for example if you're under 18 or a vulnerable adult.

Being arrested: your rights
Legal advice at a police station