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Should I Use A Solicitor At My Motoring Offence Police Interview?

It can be daunting to be asked to attend a police station, particularly if you have never been in trouble before.  The decisions made at the police station stage often have a huge effect on the rest of your case.  Representation by a good solicitor makes a real difference by providing helpful legal advice, making sure the interview is fair and afterwards negotiating with the police on your behalf as to the outcome.  An experienced lawyer will also make sure you are aware of the police station interview process that will be followed in advance thereby putting you at ease. 

Will I be questioned at the police station?

Speeding allegations hardly ever result in you having to attend the police station.  If you are stopped by the police for speeding, and the speed is high, the police will normally inform you that the matter will go directly to court and will let you go on your way.  Also document offences such as driving without insurance, or driving without a licence, will normally not result in a police station attendance. By contrast, if you are accused of drink driving then you will always have to be breathalysed at the police station, however, normally you will only be interviewed by the police if you were involved in an accident.  Other motoring offences that may result in a police station interview are careless driving (although again this would normally only be if there had been an accident), dangerous driving, failing to stop / report after an accident, and any offence that resulted in a large amount of damage, injury or death.

Is a solicitor free at the police station?

You have the right to free legal advice at the police station, irrespective of how much money you earn, if you are questioned by the police.  The police have to tell you about your right to free legal advice after you have been arrested and before they start to question you.  Even if you initially refuse a solicitor you can change your mind at any point up to, and even during, the police station interview.

Is it better to pay for a motoring law specialist solicitor at the police station?

As mentioned, there is free legal advice available at the police station under the legal aid scheme.  However, because a driving offence is normally relatively minor, the likelihood is that the advice will only be over the phone as opposed to a solicitor attending in person.  Also, the legal advice that you are given, although it may be from a solicitor, will almost certainly not be from someone who is a specialist in motoring law.  What you do, or don’t say, in a police station interview is of crucial importance as to the outcome of your case.  Therefore, you may want to instruct a solicitor to attend the police station who specialises in representing people accused of motoring offences.  If you do decide to pay privately for a specialist solicitor you should make sure that you are able to agree a fixed fee as opposed to being charged for an hourly rate.  This is because there are frequently delays at the police station and if you are paying your lawyer by the hour their final bill can end up being surprisingly high.  By contrast with a fixed fee you have the peace of mind of knowing financially exactly where you stand from the outset.

How would a motoring law specialist solicitor help with my police interview?

He, or she, would first talk to the police in private, before the interview took place, and find out as much as possible about the evidence they have against you, what they wish to ask you about and any possible outcomes they may be considering.  Your solicitor will then relay this information to you and help formulate a plan as to how to deal with the interview.  In the interview you don’t have to say anything.  However, you should exercise this right to silence with caution because, if you mention something in your defence later at a trial which you didn’t mention when asked by the police in the interview, then the court may be less likely to believe you.  During the interview your solicitor will be present to make sure that the police questioning is fair.  You will also be able to have the interview temporarily suspended at anytime for further legal advice.  After the interview is over your solicitor will be able to make representations, on your behalf, to try to persuade the interviewing officer, and the Custody Sergeant, to be lenient in their decision making process.  This can result in the allegation against you being dropped, or you being offered a course instead of the matter going to court. 

If I have been offered a voluntary interview do I still need a solicitor?

Voluntary interviews are becoming increasingly popular.  A voluntary interview is where you haven’t been arrested, and you therefore don’t have to attend the interview and can leave the police station at any time.  However, you should take legal advice before you decide whether to attend such an interview or not.  Sometimes, if you refuse to attend such an interview the police can simply arrest you and therefore force you to be present.  Also sometimes a refusal can be interpreted as a lack of cooperation by the police, and can make them more suspicious of you because they may believe that you have something to hide.  Often the police will suggest that the interview could take place at your home rather than the police station.  They can make out that they just want to have an informal chat that doesn’t warrant you having legal representation.  However, you should remember that even though the interview is voluntary what you say, or don’t say, is still of vital importance and you should therefore seriously consider having a solicitor present. 

Can I delay my police interview till my solicitor has arrived?

If you have asked for a solicitor the police cannot start to question you until your lawyer is present.  Sometimes the police can put pressure on you by saying that if you insist on having a solicitor there could be a long wait and you may be kept much longer at the police station.  Occasionally, the police will exaggerate the length of any delay because they would rather that you weren’t represented.  It is much better that you wait for your solicitor to arrive than attempt to answer police questions without legal advice.

Can I delay giving a breath test at the police station till my solicitor arrives?

Although you can wait till your solicitor arrives before answering police questions, you cannot delay a police station breath test procedure for a drink driving allegation for this reason. The law says that the police can proceed with the breath test before you speak to a solicitor.   This is to avoid people using delaying tactics in the hope that the alcohol in their body will decrease before they are breathalysed.  The only exception is if your solicitor is present in person at the police station, or available on the telephone, at the same moment that you are at the police station for the breath test.  If you refuse to take the breath test until your solicitor arrives the police may charge you with “failing to provide a sample of breath” which is often viewed as a more serious offence than drink driving.

Why should I call Speeding Law Solicitors?

Unlike most solicitors who attend the police station we are motoring law specialist solicitors.  Also we do not just give advice over the phone but will attend the police station in person any time of the day or night.  We often manage to bring matters to a close at the police station stage and thereby avoid you having to go through the stress of a court appearance and possibly receiving a criminal record.  We offer reasonable fixed fees rather than an hourly rate so that you know financially exactly where you stand.  Call Philip Hatvany, our founding solicitor, now on FREEPHONE 0800 909 8110 for a FREE initial consultation.