One of the main roles of South Australia Police is to investigate crime and prosecute alleged offenders. The investigation process begins after a complaint has been made to Police by someone alleging that a crime has been committed against them.  It is an important part of the criminal justice process.  Police will determine whether an investigation should begin based upon the nature and circumstances of the alleged offence.

During this process you are a suspect; as you are the Accused or alleged wrongdoer.  The investigation of a crime can take weeks, months or even longer depending upon the amount and type of evidence required by Police to complete the investigation.  The purpose of the Police investigation is to gather evidence against you – physical, scientific DNA or Statements from Police Witnesses – to lead to a prosecution and conviction.

If Police wish to speak with you, SEEK LEGAL ADVICE IMMEDIATELY and EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO SILENCE.  Unless you are under arrest, you do not have to accompany Police to the Police Station to answer any questions.  You should give your name, address, date of birth and ASK POLICE TO ALLOW YOU TO CONTACT YOUR LAWYER.

Police Request for Personal Details:

Where there is reasonable cause to suspect a person has committed, that person must provide their name, date of birth, residential and business addresses, pursuant to Section 74A(5) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA); and other personal details if requested by Police, pursuant to Section 74A(1) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).  The suspect must also provide evidence to support their personal details if requested by Police, pursuant to Section 74A(2) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).  A suspect cannot refuse to provide the requested information, or to provide false or misleading information, pursuant to Section 74A(3) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).

Request for Information about the Identity of Drivers and Owners of Motor Vehicles

A police officer may ask questions about the identity of the driver and owner of a vehicle at a particular time or on a particular occasion, pursuant to Section 74AB(1) of the Summary Offences Act (SA).  It is an offence to refuse or to provide false or misleading information, pursuant to Section 74AB(2) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA].  In addition, pursuant to Section 74AB(3) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA):A Police Officer, MUST if requested by the suspect,

  1. identify him or herself,
  2. and produce their police identification, or
  3. state their surname, rank and identification number.

Request for Information Regarding Firearms

Police may ask questions, with respect to firearms or firearms related items, including ammunition, to identify the owner, and to identify other persons, who have had possession of the firearm, pursuant to Sections 55-57 of the Firearms Act 2015 (SA).  It is an offence, pursuant to Section 55(5) of the Firearms Act 2015 (SA), to refuse or fail to comply with providing such information.  The maximum penalty, for refusing to provide this information is a fine in the sum of $20,000.00 or 4 years imprisonment.

Is it a Valid Arrest?

You may only be arrested if there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed the offence alleged.  There is much case law, regarding valid arrest procedures.  Whether or not, a person has been arrested rests on the facts of each case.

Generally, an arrest occurs when Police make it clear, by words or by action that the person is under arrest and is deprived of their liberty – they are not free to leave. Police officer, should clearly inform the suspect of the reason for the arrest, being the alleged offence, in a manner that the arrested person is able to understand.

Police Caution:

Pursuant to Section 79A(3)(b) of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) warn the suspect that anything he or she states will be written down and may be used in evidence against them.

Arrest Rights: Section 79A Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA)

A suspect has the right to:

  1. make a telephone call, in the presence of Police to a friend or relative to inform them of their whereabouts: Section 79A(1)(a).
  2. have a Solicitor, friend or relative present during the interrogation or investigation while in custody: Section 79A(1)(b)(i). DO NOT ASK A FRIEND OR RELATIVE TO BE PRESENT.  THEY ARE NOT LEGALLY TRAINED AND WILL NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR RIGHTS ARE.
  3. to speak with an interpreter if English is not their first language: Section 79A(1)(b)(ii).
  4. refrain from answering questions, except those required by law – above stated: Section 79A(1)(b)(iii). This includes the right to NOT PROVIDE your PIN or PASSWORDS to MOBILE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES – computers, laptops, tablets and so on.

Forensic Procedures: Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007 (SA)

Pursuant to Section 14 of this Act Police can direct a suspect to undergo a forensic procedure.  There are rules regarding when this is a valid direction and what type of forensic procedure and the manner in which it can be obtained.  ASK POLICE TO INFORM YOU OF THE LAWFUL BASIS FOR THE DIRECTION TO UNDERGO A FORENSIC PROCEDURE.  Reasonable force can be used by Police to obtain the forensic evidence.

If there has been non-compliance with the law, this evidence can be challenged.

Applying for Police Bail:

A suspect has the right to apply for Bail.  Police must provide that person with a written statement explaining how to apply for release on bail and a form to apply for release on bail: Section 13(1) of the Bail Act 1985 (SA) [see Bail Act 1985 (SA).

Why Choose Matthews Lawyers?: We provide Quality and Affordable Legal Representation with you as part of the Defence Team

We are experienced in criminal law matters.  Therefore, we will be able to help you to:

  1. understand the charge(s), in plain English – No legalese.
  2. explain what Prosecution must prove.
  3. assist you to gather evidence favourable to you.
  4. identify Prosecution weaknesses in the case against you.
  5. advance your defence and to prevent you from an unjust outcome.

Disclaimer:  The information contained herein is of a general nature only and not a substitute for legal advice.  It should not be relied upon.  Seek legal advice in relation to your specific circumstances.