Formal Police interview under caution. Do you know what to do?

December 11th, 2019

Last month we had the chance to attend Woodfines Solicitors Road Transport Conference. Events like this are always a great opportunity to learn something new as well as stay on top of ever -changing laws and regulations.

We were particularly interested in the talk given by Jane Anderson on being interviewed under caution.

We hope none of us or our employees would ever have to be stopped by the police and interviewed under caution whether at the police station or during a roadside interview following road collision or serious breach of law.

However, it is important to be prepared for those circumstances and also to let your staff know what to do should they find themselves in such a situation.

What is the interview under caution?

We have all seen caution being recited by the police, we’ve all seen it in films and on television. ”You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something that you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”

When a police officer suspects you of committing a criminal offence such as speeding, driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving they will interview you under caution.

Where does the interview happen?

Many road traffic interviews happen at the scene of an incident. They are usually recorded in writing but new rules mean that they can be recorded on the officer’s body-worn camera.

Interviews can also be in the back seat of a police car at the scene, at your home or at a police station. “The Police Station interview can be the most important part of any case. How you conduct yourself in the interview and whether you answer questions, provide an account or say ‘no comment’ can be a factor which prevents you being charged by the police; or enables you to win your case at Court” claims to

Do you know what to do? Make the right choice.

First of all, you have a right to get the interview postponed until your legal representative arrives. You are always entitled to have a legal representative with you for a police interview.

  1. You have the right to remain silent and you don’t have to answer any questions if you don’t want to. You might answer all the questions “no comment”. You might think it will look really bad if you don’t answer any questions however it might actually be the right thing to do. You have just been involved in a serious collision or you have been told you committed a crime as the scene– you might be shocked, angry and shaken.
  2. However, if you don’t answer any questions and are later charged with an offence and later you come up with some important evidence, for example alibi, the Court might not put too much weight to that evidence. The Court might wonder why you did not mention when you were originally questioned and may feel you recently came up with this evidence.
  3. If you are charged and the court will later ask the same questions as during the original interview under caution and you come up with different versions the court can hold it against you and might think you are lying.
  4. Anything you do say may be given as evidence – this means all the interviews are recorded and might be played during the court hearing as evidence.

Any driver that is being interviewed at the Police Station will be entitled to free legal advice but please note the legal advisor may not be a specialist in the road traffic. Always seek the right legal advice.

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