Do I have a right to a lawyer if I’m arrested?

3. Let the police complete their search

The police must tell you that you have a right to talk to a lawyer immediately. But they are allowed to complete their searches and usually the booking procedure before you talk to the lawyer.

What the police are allowed to do

Being detained

You are being if the police stop you and give you reasons to believe you are legally obligated to stop and stay with them or comply with their requests or demands. If the police say you are not free to go, you're being detained.

You will have to stay until the police allow you to leave. You should only be detained briefly. The police are only allowed to detain you if they have to suspect you've been involved in a crime.

If you're being detained, the police are allowed to pat you with their hands to search for weapons before they let you talk to your lawyer. 

Being arrested

If you're being , the police believe there are to you with a criminal . If you are arrested you will likely be placed in handcuffs. Being arrested is a more formal type of that usually results in criminal charges being laid.

If you've been arrested, before they let you talk to a lawyer the police are usually allowed to:

  • do a more thorough search of you than a pat down for weapons
  • complete their booking procedure

During their booking procedure, the police:

  • bring you into the station
  • enter your name and other information about you into their computer system
  • search you for weapons and
  • take your fingerprints and photograph if required

If you've asked to talk to a lawyer, the police are not supposed to question you until after you've talked to your lawyer.

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