What is a voluntary interview?
The police use voluntary interviews as a means of questioning people without arresting them or formally booking them into custody. It is vital that if you are invited to attend a voluntary interview you are legally represented to ensure your legal position is protected from the outset. Voluntary interviews are not an informal ‘chat’ with the police, they are recorded and can be used as evidence against you should the matter go to court.
What could happen after a voluntary interview?
After a voluntary interview is conducted, the police will either continue making enquiries into the alleged offence or report you for summons in relation to the offence. This means that a decision will be made based upon the evidence in the case and the information you have provided in the interview. If the police do decide to charge you with any criminal offences, a Postal Requisition will be sent to your home address requiring you to attend the local Magistrates Court.
Do I need a Solicitor?
Often the police will tell you that a voluntary interview is “just a chat” and nothing formal. This is wrong. It is important to have representation at the police station, as your solicitor can obtain information from the police about the offence you are to be interviewed about. This is called disclosure. You will then be able to discuss this with your solicitor in a private consultation and give your account to your solicitor. You will then be advised whether to exercise your right to remain silent, whether to answer the questions or whether to provide the police with a prepared statement setting out your legal defence. Your solicitor will also be present throughout the interview to ensure that you are questioned fairly. Your solicitor will advise you as to the likely outcome of your case and make representations to the police about alternative disposals rather than going to Court. Other disposals include a Caution, Fixed Penalty or Restorative Justice. You have a right to free and independent legal advice and should not attend a voluntary interview without representation.
How much does it cost?
Walker Law can advise you and represent you at the police station completely free of charge. The fee is paid by the Legal Aid Agency. There is no means test and no paperwork for you to complete.
Please call Walker Law on 01344 300 193 to speak to a solicitor now and arrange your representation.