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Police Powers: Stops and Searches

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If the police suspect me of a crime, will they arrest me?

It depends. If the crime is minor, you might be charged without being arrested if you tell the truth about who you are, and the police believe that:

  • you will not destroy evidence,
  • you will not repeat the offence, and
  • you will go to court as required.

And for some minor crimes, you might not even be charged. Instead, you might have to go to what's called a "judicial referral hearing" where a judge decides whether any action needs to be taken. For example, if your crime was failing to follow conditions of your release from detention, the judge can decide to change the conditions.

If the crime is serious, you will be arrested. To find out whether the police are arresting you, you can ask them politely, "Am I under arrest?" If you are, you can ask them why.

Later, the police might release you from the police station. They could ask you to agree to certain conditions before letting you go. Or you might be kept in police custody and then taken to court, usually within 24 hours of your arrest.

At the court, you will be given your first opportunity for a bail hearing. At this hearing, a judge or justice of the peace will decide if you should be detained until your trial is over. Or, they may order that you be released, and on what terms and conditions.